Culture of wellness

Key for attracting, retaining talent

Written by Amy Palser

Creating a healthy workplace isn’t just about fewer employee sick days, although that’s definitely a benefit of worksite wellness programs. Organizers of the upcoming Working Well Conference, an initiative of the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita, say that in this day and age, a culture of health is crucial for both attracting and retaining workers.

“People go to a worksite for a job. They stay for the culture,” said Becky Tuttle, director of community development at the Greater Wichita YMCA and chair of the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita. “Creating a culture of health at your worksite is a valuable tool in attracting and retaining talent.”

Just how to go about creating a culture of health, or improving the one your company already has, are subjects at this year’s conference. The event is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 28 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. This year’s theme is “Energize Your Purpose.”

Now in its 14th year, the event draws people from across the state — folks like human resource, medical and wellness professionals, as well as members of company wellness committees. It’s open to every industry, whether public, private or nonprofit, including education, service, industrial and manufacturing.

“It’s such a good resource,” said Shelley Rich, director of health equity at the greater Wichita YMCA, who helps facilitate the conference. “It’s a fast-paced conference with shorter presentations, plenty of movement and opportunities to learn in many ways. It’s a great place to network with people working with the same ideas, challenges and opportunities.”

One of this year’s keynote presenters is Sunny Grosso of San Francisco, a founding member of the Delivering Happiness consulting team, co-founded by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. Grosso’s presentation, “Purpose in Action,” resonates with her mission to inspire others to live big by being true to themselves and following their purpose.

Also presenting is Tamara Konrade of Hutchinson, a certified health and wellness coach speaking about “Inspired Leadership for Energy and Engagement.” Konrade is an inspirational speaker and consultant who guides individuals, teams and organizations to increase their energy and engagement in their personal and professional lives.

Grosso will also speak during a Deeper Dive from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 29. The Deeper Dive is open to the general public for $50, and conference-goers for $35.

Tuttle said worksite wellness programs have evolved beyond simply encouraging healthy food and physical activity. “It’s about total wellbeing at work — how to build an authentic culture of happiness,” she said. “We want to make sure people are thinking beyond healthy activity and eating. We’re trying to think of that whole concept of wellness, including mental health.”

Stress is one of the factors that will be covered, as well as other mental health and physical health issues. “Stress, whether it be financial, worksite or multigenerational family stress, can really have an impact on people, and their productivity at work can be affected.”

More worksites than ever are implementing health and wellness strategies to reduce injuries, health care costs and long-term disability. Worksite wellness programs have been shown to reduce absenteeism, increase employee productivity, reduce the use of health care benefits and increase morale and loyalty.

The Working Well Conference is sponsored by: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Health ICT, Wichita State Online, UnitedHealthcare and Delta Dental.

“I hope everyone will join us for a fantastic day of networking and learning so that we create a strong, healthy Wichita workforce,” Tuttle said.

Registration for both the Working Well Conference and Deeper Dive is open now through the day of the conference at The $100 registration cost increases after Aug. 14. Tickets to the Deeper Dive are $35 for conference attendees and $50 for everyone else. For more information email Shelley Rich at or call 316.776.8177.

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