Healthy organization begins with healthy employees at Fidelity

Big-picture thinking is the driving force behind Fidelity Investments Canada’s dedication to health and wellness — which is one of the reasons the 876-employee company won the Venngo Healthy Workplaces Award.

“We believe there’s nothing more important to our company’s longevity than our employees’ longevity,” says Diana Godfrey, vice-president of human resources services at Fidelity in Toronto.

Good health is also a sound business investment, she says.

“A healthy workplace and, in turn, healthy employees allow us to be more productive and enjoy a relatively low level of turnover and absenteeism,” says Godfrey. “It also contributes to a high level of engagement.”

Management plays an active role in promoting a culture of wellness in leading by example with their involvement in health-related programs and causes.

“Senior leaders participate in health and wellness activities and promote healthy living and events at every turn,” says Godfrey.

The company’s employee assistance program (EAP) features a long list of supports and services employees can — and do — access regularly. Experts are available to help employees deal with all sorts of challenges including relationship problems, stress management, abuse, grief, financial challenges, weight management and harassment. Family support is available in the form of daycare centres and after-school programs, parenting classes, and support for adoptive, expecting and new parents.

“The high usage of our EAP suggests our employees value the program,” says Godfrey. “While this increased use means a higher cost, when it comes to the well-being of our employees and their families, those are dollars well spent.”

The EAP partner also provides a monthly newsletter called Balancing Act.

“Whether employees are looking for advice on managing personal relationships or eating healthy, this newsletter helps them handle stressand live a well-rounded life,” says Godfrey.

“Balance ties into a healthy lifestyle and managing stress has much to do with that,” she says. “Whatever the source, we do our best to help employees manage every type of stress.”

Focus on fitness
Forward-thinking organizations have taken steps to encourage employees to move more so Fidelity set up two walkstation rooms employees can use to keep moving when they’re on conference calls, plus the company provides adjustable workstations that allow employees to stand while working.

The organization has also set up indoor and outdoor walking meeting routes.

“Like anything, some employees embrace these ideas more than others,” says Godfrey. “We continue to encourage all kinds of physical activity, but this was a simple solution.”

The walking routes inspired a recent Walk the Walk event, where the company invited employees to take a summer stroll with some of the company’s executives.

“What better way to connect with leaders and staff in a casual but meaningful way?” she says.

Encouraging more movement throughout the day is at the core of the company’s “I (heart) D.E.B.” program, as well. Named after a former employee and fitness advocate who passed away, the program challenges employees to take 10,000 steps each day, and recently motivated 85 per cent of participants to exceed that target.

A spin-off initiative, called “Turn Up the HEAT” (Healthy eating, Exercise, Awareness, Taking good care of yourself), challenges employees to focus on one of the four pillars each quarter.

“Also, we’re currently sponsoring 26 teams of seven employees in the 2016 Global Corporate Challenge,” says Godfrey. “This 100-day virtual journey invites 370,000 people from around the world, taking healthy steps to improve their physical and psychological health.”

As well, an employee discount program, in tandem with a health and fitness reimbursement program, means employees’ gym memberships are nearly 100 per cent covered.

Fidelity also takes part in a long list of charitable walks and runs (including the Rexall OneWalk to Conquer Cancer), encouraging employees to run, bike or walk for the causes they care about.

In support of better nutrition for employees, the company cafeteria provides healthy lunch options on a daily basis, and vending machines on every floor offer good-for-you snack options. Counseling with nutritionists is available through the EAP and on-site lunch-and-learn sessions about healthy eating occur regularly. And this year, the company introduced a fruit basket initiative, providing employees with fresh produce for snacking, all week long.

Rounding out its wellness offerings, Fidelity provides employees with a smoking cessation program, runs an on-site flu-shot clinic and hosts an annual health and wellness fair, offering employees advice on a wide range of subjects, from nutrition, to Reiki and holistic healing.

It’s a long list, so communicating the offerings is a priority.

“We use every available resource to advertise our health and wellness initiatives,” says Godfrey, citing intranet posts, posters, newsletters and corporate emails. “We also hold regular contests to encourage employee participation in these initiatives.”

The goal, she says, is to address employees’ real-life challenges, find wellness solutions that work best, and to keep it accessible and enjoyable.

“We make every commitment to provide employees with a challenging, fun workplace that embraces healthy living.”

Melissa Campeau is a freelance writer based in Toronto.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 19 issue of Canadian HR Reporter, a sister publication of COS.