Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
Many Nebraska employers and employees are making a serious commitment to employee well-being. This year, 50 Nebraska employers are receiving the Governor's Wellness Award for their successful efforts in promoting wellness in the workplace.
Nebraska is one of only a handful of states nationwide that honors the wellness efforts of employers. My office partners with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and WorkWell to help recognize employers who value workplace wellness programs.
It has been six years since we started the Governor's Wellness Award program. In that time, we've seen more prevention and wellness efforts from one end of the state to the other and in all different types of workplaces: big companies, small companies, schools, hospitals, local health departments, city and county governments, financial institutions, and non-profit organizations, just to name a few.
We've seen countless employees embrace wellness and reap the rewards of better health. They are finding the gateway to wellness in variety of ways like free health screenings, healthy dinner clubs, flu vaccinations, ironman fitness challenges, nutrition education, weight loss competitions, discounted or free health club memberships, walking teams, webinars, and lunch and learns.
Thanks to wellness efforts at work, we're seeing lower rates of cigarette and tobacco use, less absenteeism due to health issues, less people experiencing high stress at work, increased cholesterol screenings and increased fruit consumption. That's great news.
We know worksite wellness works. Employees win because they are leading healthier lives. For employers, healthy employees make for a better, stronger and more productive organization. The benefits to a company from its investment in a wellness program are many: higher productivity, increased employee satisfaction and help controlling health care costs.
Nebraska is a leader in wellness. Our state has been ranked as one of the top 10 states in Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index since 2010.
The state's chief medical officer, Dr. Joseph Acierno, was invited to be part of a panel of experts at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials' annual meeting in mid-September. He talked about the role worksite wellness plays in public health, shared the successes of Nebraska's employers and their wellness programs and showcased the Governor's Wellness Award to a room of around 200 attendees from across the nation. People have expressed interest in what we do, how we do it and want to "walk in our shoes."
I'm pleased that six years and 203 awards later, I know worksite wellness efforts in Nebraska are going strong. I applaud our employers for taking the initiative to help us live the healthy life in Nebraska.
- Dave Heineman
Governor of Nebraska