By Tiffany King
Many studies have shown that job satisfaction has a significant impact on job performance and commitment to an organization. When employees feel valued by their employers and are connected to an internal, supportive community, productivity increases. The College of Coastal Georgia has taken steps to make employees feel appreciated by implementing well-being programs, with the support of the University System of Georgia (USG). In an effort to create a system-wide environment of well-being, the USG has encouraged each of its institutions to provide programs for employees that promote physical activity, financial literary, stress management, healthy eating, and health management. The College's Human Resources Department has implemented new programs and initiatives to benefit employees holistically, while fostering a more caring culture across campus.
The well-being program at the College includes the "A New You" initiative that focuses on specific health and well activities each month. For example, in celebration of National Nutrition Month in March, employees were treated to samples of healthy snacks. Employees also attended a Lunch and Learn, focusing on the benefits of seafood. Corporate Chef Brett Smith and Director of Marketing Mike Tigano from King & Prince Seafood, the latter of whom is an adjunct professor of marketing at the College, talked about incorporating more seafood into one's diet and addressed common misconceptions about seafood. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions as they enjoyed smoked salmon canapés, lobster salad, and seared lobster and seafood cakes.
(Left to right) Corporate Chef Brett Smith and Director of Marketing Mike Tigano from King & Prince Seafood, who is an adjunct professor of marketing at the College, discuss the benefits of incorporating more seafood into one's diet.
Phyllis Broadwell, assistant vice president of Human Resources and Auxiliary Services, serves an employee smoked salmon canapes.
The College also received a grant from the USG to host a Weight Watchers (now known as WW) program on campus for employees. Many participants of the program have been successful in not only losing weight, but in adopting healthier lifestyle choices and habits. Other well-being initiatives include Money Monday, which are monthly financial education workshops; information sessions on stress management, communication, emotional intelligence, and positivity; and a time-off program that allows employees to do well-being activities during the workday.
Testing Coordinator Zerelda Jackson is excited about being able to participate in well-being programs.
"I currently participate in the Weight Watchers program, the weekly exercise programs, along with the various health challenges. All of the programs have been absolutely awesome," Jackson said. "These programs have afforded me the opportunity to create a community outside of my regular work area and provides a platform where my health has been improving. My eating habits have improved, but most of all I have lost weight. I haven't reached my goal, but I'm ever so thankful that I am transforming into a new and improved me."
Jackson said she looks forwards to exercising with her workout buddies and thanked her friends for their support on her wellness journey.
Phyllis Broadwell, assistant vice president of Human Resources and Auxiliary Services, said providing well-being programs, with the support and resources of the USG, is a priority at the College. Future plans include partnering with the Nursing Department and several community businesses for well-being events.
The College has also re-launched one of its own initiatives—Training University. Training University is a digital platform that utilizes Skillsoft, a global leader in corporate learning. Skillsoft has trained more professionals than any other company in the world, with 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies using the program for employee training. Coastal Georgia employees have access to high-quality, professional development resources, which include e-learning courses, online books, videos, and job aids. Training courses cover diverse topics such as setting goals, unconscious bias in the workplace, leading a multigenerational workforce, emotional intelligence, and creating and maintaining a positive work environment.
The College remains focused on engaging its employees so they can then positively engage their clients—students, community members, faculty, or other staff. Suggestions for future programs or courses are very welcomed.
"We annually send out a survey to our employees to captures ideas and see what areas they are most interested in so we can design our program around their needs. We also have a Well-being Committee that provides feedback and ideas, but employees are welcome to make suggestions regarding their needs directly to Human Resources, and we try to implement programs accordingly," Broadwell said. "We have some of the best employees and we want to do everything we can to retain them. The well-being of our employees and their families is of upmost importance to us and we are providing programs to support that."