Roxane Hearn motivates Homeland’s staff to be their best!
Homeland Center CNA Symira McNeely was motivated to improve her health and appearance, but on the way to losing 45 pounds, her apparent lack of progress could get discouraging. That’s when Homeland Health and Wellness Director Roxane Hearn would draw from her arsenal of motivational tools.
“Roxane told me that it’s not always about what the scale says,” McNeely recalls now. “The scale may not be moving, but you might be healthier. She wants you to be happy. Happy and healthy.”
At Homeland Center, employee wellness is a linchpin in assuring that the staff caring for residents are vigorous, capable, and contented. Its unique approach calls on Hearn, a highly qualified coach with a Ph.D. in health psychology, to deliver programs and services that inspire Homeland staff to not only reshape their bodies but also manage the daily demands of staying healthy.
“Change is not easy,” says Hearn. “Working as a health coach, I take the employees through that process and support them and coach them. I guide them along the way when they relapse and keep them on track when they’re maintaining.”
With employees busy work days, Hearn can turn a few hallway moments into a personalized health consultation. Plus, none of her wellness initiatives are cookie-cutter. She loves Homeland because “they trust me and give me top-down support. I’ll pitch ideas. They give their ideas, and we come up with something that fits the employees.”
Hearn’s customized initiatives include:
• Weight loss and wellness: Weight loss contests and cash awards for taking wellness actions provide encouragement year-round.
• Healthy eating: Healthy soup cook-offs and “employee farmers market,” when staffers bring fruit and veggie snacks for all to share, encourage recipe-sharing and better eating.
• Individualized wellness consultations and regular screenings: Hearn helps employees make doctor’s appointments, advocates for changes when medications are ineffective, and reviews lab reports one-on-one. She shares the results of her screenings with physicians’ offices and monitors staffers to make sure their medications are effective. It’s all meant to assure that important health tasks, like making a doctor’s appointment or changing ineffective medications, don’t get lost in the daily rush of work and home responsibilities.
• Fitness: Hearn conducts personal training consultations, meets employees in gyms, leads workout walks in parks, and runs fitness boot camps. McNeely learned from Hearn about the discount, all-access fitness-center memberships offered through Homeland’s health insurance, and now she’s a gym devotee, doing Tai Bo, Zumba, and just about anything else at gyms throughout the area.
• Leveraging technology: Texting is Hearn’s “priceless tool of engagement,” allowing her to share photos of healthy food and send messages of encouragement – no matter how crazy the recipient’s schedule. She also conducts health coaching by phone and email with employees who work offsite, and she uses social media engagement to build relationships and understand staffers’ goals.
McNeely loves working at Homeland, where workplace “is like a family.” She knows that her healthier lifestyle has improved her job performance.
“Residents definitely noticed when I was going through the changes,” she says. “My energy level is through the sky. They say, ‘You’re not tired yet?’”
McNeely once never drank water, but now she leads the way in encouraging coworkers to drink their water. That’s what Hearn is striving for -- to empower Homeland staff to take charge of wellness among themselves. It’s all in pursuit of sustaining excellent care provided by healthy, happy staff.
“The residents love the employees,” Hearn says. “They like to see them cheery and happy. It’s hard to be that all the time, but in this particular line of business, you have to be. We are working in their home. If I can teach employees to cope with stress and how to park it at the door, it means a safer environment and happier residents.”