Keys to Success for Employee Well-Being

Employee Well-being in Action: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Episode 2: Supporting a Resilient Workforce

At Labcorp, we build and foster relationships with partners in the healthcare industry. Labcorp Employer Services (LES) goes a step further to both enable better employee health and enhance employee experiences within those partnerships.

In the second episode of our podcast series, What Are Your Answers for a Healthy and Resilient Workforce, Dr. Richard Safeer, MD, chief medical director of employee health and well-being at Johns Hopkins Medicine, got to chat with our very own Shavise Hargro, on-site wellness program manager, about her work with Johns Hopkins employees.



In episode one of this podcast series, we learned how Safeer got started with employee well-being initiatives at Johns Hopkins with an initial, simple solution: creating a program that encourages healthier choices for all employees. Safeer felt that a leading health institution like Johns Hopkins should serve as a model of health promotion.

That belief aligns with our mission at Labcorp: improving health and improving lives. And this kind of mission always begins with simple ideas.

Healthy at Hopkins: The Thriving Employee Well-Being Program

In episode two, we sit in on a conversation between Safeer and Shavise Hargro, wellness program manager for the Healthy at Hopkins program.

“This dynamic role is great,” Hargro says, “because it gives me the ability to connect with employees.” Hargro began her career at Johns Hopkins as an exercise physiologist in the School of Public Health before eventually working with Labcorp and the Healthy at Hopkins program.

“It’s definitely like it’s come full circle,” Hargro says.

Johns Hopkins is a vast system, comprising many healthcare industry entities. LES and Johns Hopkins have worked together to grow the Healthy at Hopkins program so it can remain robust enough to handle a complex enterprise of employees with vastly different health backgrounds.

Safeer joined Johns Hopkins in 2012, when he set out to elevate the existing Healthy at Hopkins program to support every employee’s personal well-being and health. His team worked to create that “social milieu,” as Safeer puts it, to embed healthy living alternatives into the modern work day.

Listen to episode one to hear how Safeer hit the ground running by tackling “big soda.”

Keeping It Moving: Healthy at Hopkins Over the Years

Part of what has kept Healthy at Hopkins thriving is a culture of well-being that includes activities like well-being events, fit breaks, seminars, webinars and other wellness sub-programs (like the Keep Your Pressure Down program and resources).

“[Being] dynamic is an important part of our success,” Safeer says. Indeed, the ability to maintain several moving parts of a large healthcare system is practically a prerequisite for success—partnering with Labcorp enables Healthy at Hopkins to take full advantage of our LES mission, which entails:

  • Promoting employee safety and productivity
  • Enabling better employee health
  • Enhancing employee experiences

This end-to-end solution is designed to improve employee well-being among all of our employer clients, starting with comprehensive biometric testing options.

Healthier Alternatives Begin With Self-Care

“I do get in some physical activity—walking outside, going to the gym—but I do believe in the power of rest.” – Shavise Hargro

“One of our themes this past year was ‘stronger with self-care,’ [which was] very much about aligning our messaging and resources around people taking care of themselves,” Safeer says. “Because without that self-care, we can’t serve each other [or] our patients.”

A lot of what the program tackles is stress, both Hargro and Safeer illuminate. Because the work day is filled with many potential stressors, the program is designed to mitigate this with immediate solutions, such as the Wellness Cart and the Steps Challenge. Both the cart (which provides healthy, shared snacks and treats) and the challenge (which encourages employees to reach their daily steps) help open the doorway to seeing the daily impact of the program. On this episode, Hargro even details a personal story about a fellow employee she met while operating the Wellness Cart who really thrived in their new daily routines because of the program.

And what’s more: Five years ago, the steps challenge only had about 1,000 participants. Today, it boasts over 8,000, which is over 20% of the Johns Hopkins workforce.

Johns Hopkins, Labcorp and the Future of Employee Well-Being

At the end of the day, programs like this truly flourish with what Hargro and Safeer call “peer support.” Peer support involves individuals Hargro and Safeer refer to as "cheerleaders," who support their colleagues seeking to switch up their daily routine for making better health choices.

“I do see a lot of [cheerleaders] definitely supporting each other whether it’s using the portal or just getting active,” says Hargro.

At Johns Hopkins and Labcorp, healthier journeys begin with each other. From there, it’s about using resources and real-time data to ensure a robust well-being program for the entire workforce.

Listen to the complete podcast and join us next time when we speak with Kim Beck, leader of the Labcorp Health and Well-Being Program.