#7 Boulder County

November 28, 2022 – Boulder County serves nearly 300,000 diverse residents. From visionary open space and sustainability policies to progressive public service programs, they help foster a vibrant, healthy, and active community.

#7 Boulder County

Boulder County

Nov. 28, 2022

Ranking: #7

Headquarters: Boulder, Colorado

Full-Time Employee Count: 2,278

About: Boulder County serves nearly 300,000 diverse residents. From visionary open space and sustainability policies to progressive public service programs, we help foster a vibrant, healthy, and active community. Each of our respective departments and employees are tasked with fulfilling our vision statement: "As trusted stewards of Boulder County's future, we provide the best in public service.

Q: What is the most unique benefit offering currently in place? If you were to talk about your program with someone who does not work there, what would you share about your program that would make them want to join your team?

A: Boulder County’s robust wellness program offers employees the opportunity to earn incentives while focusing on the healthy lifestyle behaviors that matter most to them. Through the wellness platform, employees can participate in wellness challenges, track self-selected healthy habits in all areas/pillars of well-being, engage in Health Coaching, and access a full Benefits Hub. This Benefits Hub allows employees to access a number of free programs and benefits including RecoveryOne Physical Therapy, Enrich and Lincoln Wellness PATH Financial Wellness tools, FoodSmart Nutrition and Meal Planning with Zipongo, Whil Mindfulness and Meditation programs and trainings, and Aaptiv on-demand in-app fitness and wellness classes. A wide variety of online wellness education is also offered, and employees can earn wellness points for participating in the wellness program to earn substantial gift card incentives throughout the year. In addition to being available for spouses/partners, our program also allows employees to invite up to 10 individuals to join the Virgin Pulse app so that our employees can engage with their friends and family on their well-being journey.

Q: How are you addressing the mental health crisis in the United States as COVID-19 continues to pose a threat?

A: We place employee mental health & wellbeing as a top priority, and our robust EAP provides all employees & their household members with 8+ free counseling sessions per issue, per year. Unfortunately, our community has experienced a multitude of tragedies in addition to COVID— the King Soopers Shooting in March & the Marshall Fire on Dec. 30 that destroyed over 1,000 homes and over 200 businesses. Our Public Health employees have been on the front lines of the pandemic- assisting both our employees and the community since day one. Our Sheriff’s Office managed the response to the shooting and the fire. Our EAP provided debrief sessions and resources to our employees as they navigated personal loss, increased workloads, and secondary trauma due to these tragedies. Our Housing and Community Services departments worked tirelessly to set up one of the largest Disaster Assistance Centers with financial aid, meals, counseling, insurance adjustors, debris removal, clothing, pet food, housing help, transportation vouchers, emotional support dogs, translation services, and more. Employees that were reassigned or volunteered to work on fire response/recovery or at the DAC were provided for (nutritionally, mentally, and physically) while they were working around the clock to help our residents. We held multiple group EAP sessions after the shooting and the fire and small group sessions for employees that were evacuated or lost their homes. We offered counseling sessions to help employees deal with COVID stress, burnout, fatigue, secondary trauma, threats from the public, and BIPOC stress. We lost 2 employees to COVID and we’ve provided group counseling for their coworkers and memorials for the employees. Programming addressing mental well-being includes the employer-paid Whil mindfulness/meditation app and virtual Mindful Monday’s Meditation and Yoga series, a Mindfulness Challenge, on-demand mindfulness and yoga classes & a variety of stress management tools and education built into our wellness platform.

Q: What statistic best captures the success of your program’s effectiveness in the past 12 months?

A: Our wellness program has had several statistics in 2021 that reflect our success. For a program that is over 20 years old, we still show very strong engagement, specifically:

-66% average monthly engagement in the wellness platform – up 25% from end of previous program year

-70% of wellness program members increased or maintained healthy steps average (>7,000 steps per day)

-Whil Mindfulness online training – 2021 saw double the number of mindfulness and meditation sessions completed, and triple the number of mindfulness courses completed, with 566 registered users (up from 443 – a 22% increase)

However, the most significant statistic is our EAP utilization. We’ve spent the past three years heavily promoting the EAP program and trying to normalize conversations around mental health. From 2020 to 2021, we saw a 65% increase in the number of employees that have accessed our EAP program with SupportLinc. This includes website and app visits to access webinars, articles, videos, text coaching, and counseling. All in all, 93% of our employees visited either the SupportLinc app or desktop site in 2021. This translated into savings of $568,000 in claims offsets, improved productivity, and reduction in turnover for an ROI of 9.81 to 1.

Q: Provide a testimony from one of your employees.

A: I wanted to say thank you to HR and the County. The onsite biometric screening that I completed on Friday morning caught a significant problem with my potassium levels that probably saved my life. Because of the detection I was able to start potassium supplementation right away to raise my blood values out of a very dangerous zone. I also received an early morning call from a concerned nurse at Virgin Pulse who was a tremendous help to me. Having this program through the County is truly a blessing! -Anonymous

I am so proud that Boulder County has been focusing on normalizing conversations about mental health in an effort to decrease stigma. For the past several years, our leadership has embraced having open conversations about mental health and recommending our EAP program. Seeing that 93% of our employees accessed the EAP app or website in 2021 is a testament to the importance of these offerings. Our community has been devastated by a mass shooting, the largest wildfire in Colorado history, and a global pandemic. Our EAP counseling and incident debriefs have been a powerful tool in supporting our employees during these challenging times. Boulder County refers to its employees as its most valuable asset and this isn't just a tag line. The county recognizes that employee well-being is critical to the success of the organization and ultimately benefits society. Our EAP offerings support employees with their work life balance and help us continue to provide the best in public service.
-Emily Cooper, Benefits Manager