Fort Kent ~ It is not by accident that Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) has elevated the quality of services it provides. Invest in the workforce and everyone reaps the benefits. By investing in its most valued asset, its employees, NMMC has harnessed employee engagement to provide award winning quality services.
One of the ways in which NMMC acknowledges the value of employees is to invest in health and wellness opportunities. A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report revealed that at worksites with physical activity programs, employers have: reduced healthcare costs by 20 to 55 percent, reduced short-term sick leave by six to 32 percent and increased productivity by two to 52 percent. The report points to the fact that most adults spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, making it a prime venue for promoting healthful habits. Also, a study done by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health, published in the Harvard Business Review, December 2010, shows that organizations with highly effective wellness programs report significantly lower voluntary attrition than do those whose programs have low effectiveness.
Two years ago, Robin Damboise, Human Resources Director, facilitated the reorganization of the Employee Activities Committee (EAC), which in years past had been very active. An employee led group, the EAC’s main purpose is to organize and promote fun activities which capitalize on the natural resources available in the St. John Valley, Aroostook County and across the state of Maine; as well as opportunities for employees to experience the camaraderie of their peers in a different setting.
Numerous types of activities are offered by the Committee to spark the interest of a wide variety of employees. In the past two years, the EAC has coordinated such events as: hikes, shopping trips, snowshoeing and skiing, four-wheeling and later this summer, zip-lining will be offered. Last month, twenty seven people joined in the annual Mount Katahdin hike. Seventeen participants succeeded in reaching the top and three of them did so on their maiden journey to the mountain. One of the three novice climbers, Shannon Theriault, said, “It was not at all what I expected but it was absolutely amazing! I had so much fun bonding with others on the mountain. I will definitely do it again.” A majority of the event expenses are covered by fundraising done by the employees themselves and each event is led by a volunteer employee. Due to the difficult nature of the Katahdin hike, four team leaders with hiking experience stepped up to lead four groups up the mountain. The two day trip included tenting, campfires, picnics and the trip ended with a celebratory dinner at the park restaurant. One of the team leaders, Adam Landry said, “The most memorable part of the trip was hanging out all together at the campground.” Despite a bit of rain and the degree of difficulty for some of the trails, there were no injuries.
Damboise, who continues to oversee the EAC said, “We make this available because we know that our employees really enjoy the socializing and it is a way for them to get to know the people they work with, and their family members, on a personal level.” She also said some employees mentioned to her that they did not believe they would actually complete the hike but were very proud to report their personal success. Several participants have indicated that they are already planning to sign up for next year’s hike.
To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!