While discussions about economic development usually focus on small business growth, tax structures, unemployment rates and other indicators, these factors only represent a small piece of the puzzle. A thriving economy can only be achieved when a community prioritizes the health and well-being of its citizens. In fact, through daily interactions with employees and customers, businesses and worksites play a critical role in promoting healthy lifestyles and contributing to the overall health of a community.
No one understands this better than Michael DiResto and his talented team at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC). As Executive Vice President, Michael knew that to encourage Baton Rouge area businesses and worksites to implement healthy policies, his organization had to lead by example. When he learned about Well-Ahead Louisiana and the WellSpot program, Michael knew it was the perfect opportunity to re-examine BRAC’s office policies and recommit to ensuring a happy and healthy workplace.
“The Well-Ahead Louisiana team was a pleasure to work with,” said Michael. “Elena Keegan made sure we had all the information we needed to meet all benchmarks. In fact, through her guidance we learned that we were already on the right track. For years, we prioritized being listed as one of the Baton Rouge Business Report’s Best Places to Work. We found that many of those same benchmarks translated perfectly in our effort to become a WellSpot.”
BRAC began their WellSpot journey in 2018 and completed the process a year later, eventually completing every benchmark to earn designation as a Level 1 WellSpot. As to which benchmark he is most proud of, Michael points to his team’s work on becoming a Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace.
“We had just completed building our brand new, state-of-the art building in downtown Baton Rouge and realized that the all-glass design of our building made creating a private lactation room really challenging. With the help and guidance of Well-Ahead Louisiana and Woman’s Hospital, we brought in a contractor to select the best location, frost the glass, install a new door and make our lactation room a comfortable environment for our breastfeeding mothers.”
Michael hopes that BRAC’s positive experience with becoming a WellSpot inspires some of their members to begin examining their own policies and consider starting their own WellSpot journeys.
“It’s just the right thing to do, first and foremost,” said Michael on becoming a WellSpot. “Aside from improving the health of employees, businesses will also find an increase in productivity, fewer absences due to illness, reductions in health insurance premiums and an overall happier workforce. Make no mistake about it: health and well-being are critical components to a successful economy and business growth.”
If you’re ready to improve the health of your employees, reach out to Well-Ahead Louisiana and we’ll help you get started! Learn more about the evidence-based benchmarks and how we’re working to move Louisiana’s health forward!