“People First” is Hilltop Community Resources, Inc’s mission and everyday motto. With a mission geared toward making a difference in the lives of the people they serve, they have also made a name for themselves serving their employees by creating a positive wellness culture.

Often held-up as the gold standard for employers as it relates to employee health and wellness, this self-insured, non-profit employs over 500 people and has won numerous awards including the governor’s inaugural Workplace Wellness Award and both Colorado and National Psychological  Workplace Wellness Awards presented by the American Psychological Association.

Initially, and like the inception of many workplace wellness programs, Hilltop created their program over ten years ago to combat escalating healthcare costs. Their first challenge was launched at a time when weight loss challenges like “The Biggest Loser” were all the rage, and so “Beat the Boss” went live as employees were encouraged to eat better and exercise more in order to beat the boss.

Now, motivated more by creating a healthy culture,  employee wellness engagement at Hilltop remains strong. In 2020, almost 70 percent of employees participated in health challenges through their program with over $80,000 in discounts, rewards, and raffles prizes awarded to staff members.

Today, their wellness program takes a holistic approach to health and features tools and programs beyond the typical physical challenges. Hilltop now provides intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and even financial support with classes led by their Chief Financial Officer Carter Bear and aptly named “Smarter with Carter.”

But that doesn’t mean, they don’t have fun—a core value of the organization— while they take employee wellbeing seriously. The “Stahl Street Journal” is cutely nicknamed after their CEO Mike Stahl and posted on bathroom stalls in good humor announcing health and wellness challenges to staff.

In addition to using Monument Health’s Employee Wellness Platform to coordinate fun challenges and motivating incentives, the organization has broken down silos and brought together team members from different divisions to prioritize support for each other’s efforts. Early on, they created the “Swellness Committee,” which included a combined group of managers who focused on some aspect of employee wellness. This group included safety officers, human resource liaisons, worker’s compensation and benefits managers, and the employee health nurse. A newly-formed version of this committee, the People Wellbeing Team, models many of its current wellness efforts with this idea in mind: Breaking down silos is critical if you want to effectively support employee engagement and wellbeing.

Rebecca Weitzel, Hilltop’s Senior Director of People Operations—a division of the nonprofit which includes Human Resources and a dedicated staff member for employee wellbeing and engagement—knows under no uncertain terms the secret to their long-term success has been support for this work at the very top of the organization.

Weitzel explains the secret to Hilltop’s long-term success and high employee engagement: “A wellness program is a great tool to encourage employee engagement, but your program won’t be successful if you don’t have support at the top. A company’s leadership from the CEO on down must believe in its importance and promote and champion its efforts. It can’t be successful if that support isn’t visible. We’ve been very lucky to have had that support since our wellness program’s inception.”

To learn more about Hilltop’s wellness program, email Rebecca Weitzel at [email protected]. Rebecca has been successfully leading Hilltop’s efforts since 2010. To learn more about Monument Health’s newly acquired Employee Wellness Platform, Good Life Wellness Solutions, email us at [email protected] or visit our website at monumenthealth.net/goodlifewellnesssolutions.