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BLUE ZONES: Working for Well-Being

December 9, 2017

Since 2009, the unemployment rate in Dodge County has fallen steadily.

Today, “Help Wanted” signs line downtown and industrial areas in communities across the county. A 2015 report from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development reported that businesses will compete not only with each other for workers with similar skills, but also with employees of other disciplines.

This highlights the versatility and cross-discipline emphasis in today’s workforce with 91 percent of millennials expecting to stay in a job for less than three years, according to the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers.

Mindful of this, work sites throughout Dodge County are partnering with Blue Zones Project to not only attract, but also maintain high-quality, talented applicants and do their part to improve the well-being of their employees.

Blue Zones Project, a community-wide well-being initiative, focuses on impacting the people, places and policy so that healthy choices are easier for everyone. Worksites in Dodge County are making healthier choices easier by promoting the Blue Zones Project Power 9 principles which include moving naturally, having the right outlook, eating wisely and connecting with others.

To date, 26 worksites in Dodge County have registered with Blue Zones Project and three have become a Blue Zones Project Approved worksite. Each of these employers have demonstrated leadership in improving the lives of their employees as well as the bottom line of the business.

The first worksite to achieve this designation was Dodge County’s project sponsor, Beaver Dam Community Hospital. As one of the county’s largest employers and with a firsthand knowledge of the importance of well-being for individual health, BDCH incentivized healthy choices through its employee wellness team. Participating in challenges such as the holiday “Maintain, Don’t Gain Challenge” adds some healthy competition to the workplace.

Horicon Bank, with branches located in three of the four Blue Zones Project demonstration communities in Dodge County, was also enthusiastic about improving employee well-being. Employees had the opportunity to participate in Purpose Workshops during work hours, helping them to identify their gifts and individual purpose so that they can live and work with greater meaning and direction.

Inter-Quest, a strong community leader since its start in 1997, encourages employees to move naturally and connect with one another by participating in Walking Moais, utilizing sit-to-stand desks, and enjoying monthly plant-slant employee lunches.

Recently, the Dodge County Board of Supervisors voted in support of leading through example, allowing for participation in Blue Zones Project by Dodge County as a worksite benefiting all county employees.

Kurt Klomberg, Dodge County District Attorney and Co-Chair of the Blue Zones Project Dodge County Worksite Committee, said, “I am very proud of our county’s constant commitment to being a leader in innovations to improve our service to the citizens. Seeking a Blue Zones Project worksite designation for the county is just another demonstration of that commitment.”

Both Dodge County and Clearview Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility have registered as Blue Zones Project worksites and have started taking steps to improve employee well-being.

“Dodge County looks forward to participating in the Blue Zones Project work site initiative,” Dodge County Administrator James Mielke said. “The worksite designation will enhance and build upon the successful employee-led wellness program.”

To find out if a worksite is partnering with Blue Zones Project, visit dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com, call 920-212-8511 or e-mail bluezonesprojectdodgecounty@sharecare.com.