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A Healthy Workplace is a Happy Workplace

KJT Group takes its company culture seriously.

According to Andrea Stoltz, VP of Research and the current chair of the company’s Wellness by Design committee, KJT is very intentional in its approach to ensuring a good employee experience for their growing staff of 60. “That very much includes employee wellness,” she said.

Read on for some of Andrea’s insights on KJT’s wellness program, and why the company was recognized this year by the Rochester Business Journal (RBJ) with a 2021 Workplace Wellness Award/Employer of the Year accolade.  

How would you describe KJT’s overall approach to employee wellness? 

KJT is committed to creating an environment in which employees can achieve a balance between work and their Physical, Emotional and Mental Well-Being. Those are the three pillars that guide our Wellness by Design committee, which is dedicated to promoting all these facets of a healthy, balanced life within the context of our Core Values: Balance, Mutual Respect, Empowerment, Empathy, Integrity, Mindfulness, and Ever Better. On top of that, it’s really important that we implement the program in a way that’s fun and inclusive.

How do you motivate employees to participate in healthy practices and activities?

It starts with senior leadership being present at many events, modeling the values and championing workplace wellness as a critical piece of our company culture.

We also think a variety of options is important because we realize that individual wellness is not a one-size-fits all proposition. Our goal is to engage as many people as possible in Physical, Emotional and Mental Well-Being by targeting a diversity of interests, while encouraging a safe space for everyone to try something out of their comfort zone as well.

Not all are going to be interested in an in-depth exploration of meditation, Eastern philosophy and science through our Introduction to Mindfulness classes, but many did join us for Happy Hour Yoga where enjoying a beverage of choice was part of the easy-going online yoga session.

Some of our different program offerings include:

Staff Challenges: Hydration Challenge; Activity Challenge; Sleep Challenge

Physical Activities: Wellness Walks; Rock Climbing; Yoga; Tai Chi; Activity Tracker Reimbursement

Mindfulness Activities: Meditation Mondays

Other: Volunteering & Community Support; Health Literacy Quiz; Flu Clinic; Kombucha Education; Crocheting; Puzzle Building

How do you pull all those diverse offerings into one holistic wellness program?

The Wellness by Design team develops themes and correlating activities for each month. To give you a couple of examples: our March 2021 theme was Feeding the Mind, which related to KJT’s Core Values of Mindfulness and Ever Better, while honoring Save Your Vision Month, National Nutrition Month, Read Across America Day and World Book Day.  Our events included a reading challenge, a book club, a virtual cooking class – and a staff-authored book review in our Wellness Pulse newsletter.

July’s theme is Simply Balanced, tied to our Core Value of Balance and honoring National Simplicity Day with a nod to the Olympics (think balance beam!). On our employee Intranet, we are encouraging staff to anonymously share ways in which they have successfully simplified their own lives. We’ll also be organizing an Office Olympics and a viewing party for an Olympic soccer game.

Who coordinates and promotes your wellness program?

Our Wellness by Design committee is responsible for the coordination, promotion and execution of activities. Members include Andrea Stoltz, VP of Research/committee chair; Rebecca Hahn, Senior Research Director; and Debbie Partridge, Accounting Manager.

This all-volunteer team represents various departments, tenures, levels, and sites. While not a part of anyone’s job description, the committee members take this role very seriously and are dedicated to taking the time to meet regularly for short- and long-term planning and execution of activities.

Personal question: What makes you passionate about workplace wellness, Andrea?

I love when people are able to try new things (an activity like curling or rock climbing, meditation, a new book or new recipe) in a safe and fun space, learning together and supporting each other. Being able to take a mental break from work, with full support and participation from senior management, benefits all participants and helps us actualize Balance in a way that is central to our company culture.

It’s great to see that 70% of employees feel the Wellness by Design committee programs have a positive impact on making them feel like part of the KJT team, while almost 60% said programs allowed them to meet KJT employees they hadn’t before (according to the company’s annual survey results).

This year, we’ve also been honored with three prestigious workplace awards in recognition of KJT’s company culture, including designation as a Great Place to Work-Certified® company – as well as being recognized as an Employer of the Year by the Rochester Business Journal for our workplace wellness program. In addition, KJT was named one of Rochester’s 2021 Top Workplaces by the Democrat & Chronicle (D&C).

We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished to date, especially in consideration of the creative adjustments that were necessary during 18 months of remote working due to COVID. Our participation numbers point to an ongoing appetite for these types of activities and the positive connections they engender with co-workers.  Moving forward, we plan to continue providing meaningful, educational, and fun programming that aligns with our mission and Core Values – Ever Better!

Be sure to check out rbj.net, featuring a tribute to its 2021 Workplace Wellness recipients – including KJT!