Company wins gold for Wellness Award, as part of Canada's Safest Employers
For one employee of Niagara Casinos, the company’s wellness initiative brought about a major life change.
“[She] actually was able to go off of her diabetes medication because she was able to get it under control,” says Lindsay Daw, disability services manager at the gaming and entertainment company that runs two casinos in downtown Niagara Falls, Ont.
This past year, Niagara Casinos implemented a new digital wellness effort using the Praktice Health app, which became “the best challenge we’ve ever done,” she says. The 30-day event enabled the 4,224-employee workforce to keep a close eye on everything they do, from eating to exercise to mindfulness.
“Each day for those 30 days, you tracked your nutrition, your hydration, exercise or activity; [it was] linked to your phone or your Fitbit to track your steps,” says Adam Palmer, safety prevention supervisor at Niagara Casinos. “And then also, there was a moment of mindfulness where there was a guided meditation three times a day that you would complete.”
The participating employees totalled more than 49.2 million steps, they ate 8,650 healthy meals and drank 9,600 litres of water. Collectively, they inhaled 14,000 mindful breaths and 3,750 physical activity actions were recorded over the 30 days.
For about 300 workers who took up the challenge, it was well received.
“We have one employee who was 71 years old and she did every single activity and she was a real champion for the challenge,” says Palmer.
All the information went into a social feed that all participants could see.
“It wasn’t a huge change; it was kind of these daily micro-habits that you’re kind of focusing on and changing,” he says. “For someone to have more water intake or manage their meals, it really helped.”
Niagara Casinos also put a big emphasis on financial wellness with a pop-up event entitled Small Amount Equals Big Savings.
“We had a little coffee stand pop-up and we gave out coffee and cookies. The idea was to show how cutting back on small amounts — like buying a coffee or cookie every day — can make a big impact on people’s savings over time,” says Daw. “We were giving out information on what that daily coffee could save you for your retirement over 10 years, 25 years.”
The company also highlighted the importance of handwashing prior to cold and flu season with another innovative pop-up initiative.
“You basically washed your hands with Glo Germ and you put your hands underneath the blue light, and it’ll show if you’ve cleaned your hands well enough,” says Daw. “It creates quite a buzz.”
The company is far from finished with its wellness efforts and Niagara Casinos plans on introducing new initiatives to address the challenges for workers at the 24-7, 365-days-per-year operation. The wellness committee is currently working on creating a resource guide for new employees on shift work.
“We recognize that fatigue and sleep is an important part of health and wellness,” says Palmer.
“It’s looking at providing tips for sleep hygiene and routine; even things like how to manage social relationships and family relationships when working with shift work and different hours.”
Niagara Casinos will always be investing in employee wellness because wellness is one of its key business objective.
“Our associate well-being is part of our strategic objectives: We want to make sure that our associates are in a good mindset financially, physically, mentally; they’re a contributor to our success and we directly link it to our culture and our business performance,” Daw says. “We know that a healthy employee will perform better.”