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Initiative Quarterly

We Earned It: Well Workplace Gold!

July 8, 2020


Three-year Wellness Council of America designation meets high standard for workplace wellbeing

The Initiative Foundation is among five organizations nationwide to earn Well Workplace Gold recognition from the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA).

With a 30-year history and more than 5,000 corporate members, WELCOA helps businesses and nonprofits improve employee well-being and provides a toolbox to help create healthier organizational cultures.

“We’re grateful for this award and its recognition that the Initiative Foundation is a great place to work and to make a difference. The award reflects on all of us—from our staff to our board, all of whom shape the culture of our organization,” said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation president. “We believe that contributing to healthy, thriving communities in Central Minnesota begins with a healthy staff, so we’ve been very intentional about making wellbeing an integrated part of our daily work.”

WELCOA in 2020 awarded 16 organizations as well workplaces: two at the Platinum level, five at the Gold level, seven at the Silver level and two at the Bronze level. The largest organization recognized—Gold winner Kohler Co. of Kohler, Wis.—employs 6,000 people. The Initiative Foundation, with 25 employees, was the only Minnesota-based organization and the smallest organization awarded.

About the Gold Well Workplace Designation

The WELCOA Well Workplace award is based on seven benchmarks of wellbeing and requires an array of approaches and practices that organizations use to evolve healthier cultures, environments, policies, practices, benefits, programs and resources in support of employee wellbeing. Wellbeing efforts at the Initiative Foundation are led by a team of eight WELCOA-certified staff members, with support from all levels of the organization. Wellbeing initiatives have been incorporated into the Foundation’s strategic plan and will be an ongoing team-building asset supported by staff and board engagement. The Foundation also has benefited from participation in regional wellbeing activities led by allies like the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation and Granite Equity Partners.

Gold Well Workplaces are organizations that have built comprehensive worksite wellbeing strategies grounded in WELCOA’s 7 Benchmarks. They have demonstrated that they have a clear and unique case for wellbeing in the organization and have created appropriate wellbeing initiatives and strategies to achieve that vision.

“Receiving WELCOA’s Well Workplace Gold award reflects the commitment of our leadership and board to support the whole employee,” said executive administrator MaryAnn Lindell, who leads the Initiative Foundation’s wellbeing team. “The Foundation’s focus on wellbeing, and the culture it has fostered, has led to strong employee engagement and job satisfaction.”

For more information about WELCOA and the Well Workplace awards, visit welcoa.org/wwa.

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