#8 Port of Portland – Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America

#8 Port of Portland – Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America

Port of Portland

Providing Support During a Year of Challenges

November 8, 2021

Ranking: #8

Headquarters: Portland, Oregon

Full-Time Employee Count: 700

About: Port of Portland is made up of three airports, four marine terminals, and five business parks. The combination of these creates economic prosperity and a better quality of life for the citizens of Portland. 

Courtney Rust, Wellness Program Manager, submitted her responses on the success of their wellness program over the past year.

Q: What specific element of your program is moving the needle for your well-being program and positively affecting your employees' health?

A: Over the last year and a half, we have heavily focused on mental and emotional well-being among our employee population. 

We formed a peer support group trained in mental health first aid, suicide awareness, substance use, depression, anxiety, and emotional support. This group has been working on decreasing the stigma of mental health in the workplace by encouraging conversations and leveraging resources available to employees. Additionally, we've partnered with our EAP and other vendors to hold conversations around mental health and wellness. 

Additionally, we have a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Group to support our workforce. This group started conversations around personal well-being, check-ins around cultural topics, and drove company awareness and support. At least once a week, we have Port-wide opportunities to engage with each other on important topics ranging from racial trauma, self-care and resilience, emotional well-being, gratitude, and cultural-specific training.

"I am incredibly pleased with how actively Port employees engage in wellness activities. From all parts of our business – airports, marine terminals, police and fire stations, maintenance buildings, and our headquarters – employees take ownership of their own and their teams’ health and well-being. I love seeing the spirited competition for daily steps, the cooking classes filled with laughter, the camaraderie of exercise class, and the deep conversations about mental health throughout the team. We consider wellness to be part of who we are and how we work at the Port of Portland."

– Curtis Robinhold, Executive Director

Q: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, how did your organization work to create a "Pandemic Plan" and what factors did you take into consideration when making these decisions? What effects of this plan are still in motion today and/or in the foreseeable future?

A: Our pandemic plan has been all about meeting employees where they are at, taking a realistic look at job duties, and being flexible when it comes to supporting our people. The past year has forced everyone to analyze how they approach work-life balance within the workplace. When making executive decisions, the conversation always incorporates how we can provide family support, childcare options, education assistance, and resources for depression, fatigue, and substance abuse issues.Our policy-making has focused much more on flexibility and taking the burden off of employees to enable them to continue to work, take care of finances, their families, and find balance. We've provided financial subsidies to enable employees to work in safe environments, whether at home or in the workplace. As many companies have, we incorporated several virtual components to ensure we support employees outside of the office.

Q: What makes your well-being program stand out? Relatedly, what statistic best captures the success of your program's effectiveness in the past 12 months?

A: Our wellness program brings joy to our participants. It continuously ranks #1 on our employee satisfaction surveys. Over 85% of employees are very satisfied with our benefits and wellness offerings and prove to be a strong indicator of employee retention, hiring, and culture. This past year we've held drive-through wellness kit pick-ups, drive up flu shot clinics, and provided subsidies for at-home office supplies. Our organization is constantly moving the needle in developing an inclusive employee culture focused on authenticity.

Additionally, we work closely with our insurance carriers and broker to review data on chronic conditions annually and develop responses by targeting members to close gaps in care. This includes outreach from a health coach, personal home mailings, calls, and reminders from our organization using our wellness platform and social postings. We offer programs tailored towards decreasing barriers, including bringing these providers onsite to perform physical therapy, telemedicine, health coaching, nutrition counseling, or mental health support.

“What excites me most about the Port’s Wellness Program is that it stays relevant and continues to evolve and grow in ways employees value and benefit from. When the pandemic hit and employees started remote work, we began offering remote wellness classes without missing a beat. Many wellness programs seem to be more static, with the same focus and complement of offerings year after year. We realize that needs and desires change, and the Port’s ability to be nimble in how we deliver wellness is not only essential, but it  keeps employees engaged and contributes to their overall health and well-being."

– Antoinette Gasbarre, Director of HR Operations

To view the rest of our top 10 winners, check out our Healthiest 100 blog posts here! 

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