In a move to connect with staff, create a sense of community, and implement sustainable wellness initiatives, Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI) recently completed a six-month Wellness Pilot Program.
Launched in October 2022, this program leveraged lessons learned from a 2021 EASI focus group on return to campus, and engaged expertise from the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture (PSEC).
The pilot kicked off with an EASI Wellness Interest Survey to gather important insights from staff. It also involved the development of monthly toolkits that included wellness messaging slides for managers and wellness ambassadors to share with their teams, tips and resources based on the wellness theme of the month, a newsletter, suggested wellness activities, and a website.
“We wanted to make the return to the office more engaging and effective,” says Vikram Chadalawada, assistant director of student information systems with EASI, and program sponsor. “We also wanted to gather diverse perspectives and create an inclusive, impactful program that aligns on key wellness themes that would most benefit staff.”
Measuring sentiment and outcomes was crucial for the success of the pilot.
“By gathering survey feedback, we could analyze key areas of concern,” says Chadalawada. “We discovered that staff would like resources that focused on topics including work-life balance, mental health training and workshops on health topics. Not only could we ensure we delivered relevant resources, but we could also work in a flexible way, modifying our approach based on program adoption.”
With this feedback, the Wellness Program Team hosted focused sessions to provide EASI staff with useful resources. These included popcorn webinars on adjusting to the workplace, healthy habits, financial stress and respectful relationships.
“I wanted to thank all the ambassadors especially, Mariana, Dana, Aline and Richa who spent a lot of time and effort preparing the popcorn prior to each wellness webinar and working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure each event was successful,” says Chadalawada.
The pilot involved six Wellness Ambassadors, who provided input, implemented resources, and promoted the program to staff.
“It was important to me to be involved in this pilot to raise more awareness about health topics and wellness resources,” says Aline Pruvot, services engagement coordinator with EASI, and lead wellness ambassador. “Organizing wellness events has been fun! I truly enjoyed sharing information and resources with the EASI community, and it was a fantastic opportunity to get to know EASI staff better.”
It was also crucial to work collaboratively with PSEC staff. Richa Chodha, an integrated wellness consultant with PSEC, was instrumental in putting together the program – from helping with the terms of reference to providing guidance and monthly toolkits.
“I was involved in planning and creating structure around a wellness program while collaborating with EASI leaders on the best way to promote and implement wellness initiatives for their group of staff,” says Chodha. “Every team will have different well-being needs and therefore it’s imperative to listen to the feedback received from staff, to ensure the success of the program and take a human-centered approach. These programs help employees feel heard and valued while shifting the culture in a positive direction.”
The pilot ended in March 2023, and a celebration to recognize participants was held on April 25.
“These types of wellness programs are important,” says Cathy Eberts, director of enterprise applications and deputy CIO with EASI. “A tremendous amount of work has gone into this pilot and it has been a great example of the type of shared leadership we are hoping to foster within the department. I’m excited to see where this program takes us in the future.”
Next steps for the program include recruiting more Wellness Ambassadors and promoting the website, which has information on how to get involved, a calendar of events, resources and a discussion board. The program will officially launch in summer 2023.
“We’re excited that this pilot was so successful, and we were able to take workplace wellness to the next level,” says Chadalawada. “Not only can this pilot serve as a useful foundation for our department, but it can also provide an example for other areas of the university.”
Thank you to the Wellness Program Team for a successful pilot program!
- Cathy Eberts
- Erin Jackson
- Vikram Chadalawada
- Richa Chodha
- Aline Pruvot
Wellness Ambassadors – Pilot Group
- Jimmy Au
- Justin Charlick
- Dana Pogaceanu
- Aline Pruvot
Honorary Ambassadors – Pilot Group
- Mariana Vardaei
- Vicki Vokas