NC State Earns Gold-Level Recognition for Employee Well-Being Initiatives

NC State University has received gold-level recognition from the American Heart Association for its employee health and well-being initiatives.

NC State earned the recognition by scoring 184 out of 230 points on the American Heart Association’s Well-being Works Better Scorecard. The score was based on responses to 96 questions in nine categories. NC State did particularly well in the Community Partnerships and Advocacy, Organizational Policies and Environment, and Leadership Support categories. The university was only 33 points shy of being in the top recognition category, platinum.

The scorecard recognizes organizations for their commitment to building a culture of health and well-being. In 2023, 492 organizations completed the scorecard. Of those organizations, 8% received platinum-level recognition, 42% received gold, 33% received silver, 12% received bronze and 5% received the completer designation.

“I think this recognition puts NC State on the map as a university that emphasizes health and wellness,” said Lauren Smith, director of nutrition and wellness for NC State Dining.

NC State has long been committed to creating a culture of wellness not only for its employees but also for its students by creating initiatives that encourage them to prioritize their health and well-being. 

In 2016, NC State launched Wolfpack Wellness, a multifaceted wellness program for employees and students. 

The university established the Wellness Advisory Committee in 2018 to create and maintain a culture that supports and promotes students’ and employees’ overall wellness. 

One of the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront was the need for employers to focus more on the well-being of their employees. NC State met that challenge in 2023, hiring Kelly Vance to serve as wellness, child care and perks coordinator.

Vance, who is based in University Human Resources, spends quite a bit of time promoting employee-focused programs like the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program and the Wellness Champions program. The Wellness Champions program was recently named the Faculty/Staff Well-being Program of the Year by the Butler University Institute for Well-being.

Vance also organizes employee workshops and challenges based on the university’s six elements of wellness.

“I think Kelly is doing a phenomenal job,” said Margaret Erickson, associate vice chancellor for Total Rewards in UHR. “I think she has brought a renewed focus to employee health and well-being at NC State. She has provided a wide variety of services and programs to employees, and the results of her doing so have been extraordinary. Employees are much more engaged in wellness.”

Vance led the effort to complete the scorecard with help from Smith and others. 

“I thought it would be great for the university to be recognized for its efforts regarding wellness and our colleges and divisions for all they do regarding wellness,” Vance said.

One way NC State Dining contributes to the university’s wellness efforts is by being transparent about the ingredients and allergens in the food it serves at its dining halls. Some dining halls provide that information on menu boards or cards, and others provide it online.

“I have gotten a lot of positive feedback on our labeling system,” Smith said.

The American Heart Association encourages organizations to use their scorecard results to evaluate the comprehensiveness of their health and well-being programs. 

“We will continue to advocate for wellness and educate employees about the wellness resources NC State offers so others will feel empowered to create wellness programs in their units or departments,” Vance said.

This post was originally published in University Human Resources News.