Working Well at the Merc

The Merc received a WorkWell Kansas mini-grant to develop a worksite wellness program. The Merc is among other local businesses to receive the grant.

“We’re about health,” says Leah Betzen, Human Resources Manager at The Merc in Lawrence, Kansas.

Leah Betzen developed the grant proposal after attending a training in Lawrence earlier this year. Betzen was inspired by speakers, Elizabeth Ablah, PhD, MPH and Judy Johnson, MS, RD/LD and their advice on how to make changes that are effective in improving employee health measures.

The Merc’s grant application describes how the funding will be used. “Our main priorities right now are to offer a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) to all of our employees and to put together an incentive program for employees to improve upon those results,” explained Betzen.

The Merc is unique in that employees already tend to be focused on good health. Because of this interest and the active work environment, Betzen anticipates that topics for health improvement among employees may differ from the county or state as a whole. She believes the health risk assessment results will be “an interesting way to see what we’re doing well and what we need to work on.”

Merc Employees

Merc Employees by Bonnie Erickson

Betzen is not alone in her efforts at the Merc. A number of employees were identified to be part of a wellness task force to help promote the health risk assessments. Betzen hopes that efforts to improve health will set an example for the community. “We try really hard to be the best employer in town. This venture is how we can do that. We want people to be healthy.”
The results and identified priorities of the health risk assessments, according to Betzen, “will open doors to more progressive wellness initiatives.”

For more information, visit WorkWell Lawrence and consider attending the second annual WorkWell Lawrence Symposium this Wednesday, September 19, 2012 from 8:30am-12:30pm at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Lawrence.


Clovis Sangrail 6 years ago

Does the Merc give its employees sick leave?

It is of little concern to me as a customer whether Merc employee's eat healthily or have a regular cardiovascular exercise program.

But I would really like to know if they are going to be sneezing on my pizza or snotting into the tomato red pepper bisque because their employer does not have a sick leave plan to encourage them to stay home when they are sick.

The service and retail sectors are notorious for not providing sick leave, making it very difficult for a sick employee to stay home and avoid inflicting their germs on the public.

If the Merc does indeed provide this, then that is newsworthy.

if not, then this article is little more than marketing.

berickson 6 years ago

Thanks for the question. I asked Leah Betzen, and she said yes, they do offer holiday, PTO (sick) and vacation time to employees.

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