2015 Comprehensive Safety Award Finalist
The Harford County (MD) Sheriff’s Office developed a creative incentive program promoting physical fitness and overall wellness. Health and Wellness Coordinator Joseph Mina, understanding that not all of the Sheriff’s Office employees are athletic, created a two-track system through which participants can earn time off and monetary incentives. This two-track system provides support and incentive to those who are motivated to exercise as well as those who are less inclined to regularly exercise.
All of the participants are issued a “pebble” that they wear on their shoe. This pebble records the number of steps and active hours of the participant and is used to help keep them on goal. The data is maintained in a “Fit Kik” software system that updates every time the employee enters their facility at the beginning of their shift. A scanner updates their data.
Each of the two tracks has different requirements, but both have a minimum standard that must be met to achieve the incentives. The first track is a traditional fitness and exercise track where participants take a bi-annual physical fitness test and work to maintain the highest percentile for their age group within the Cooper’s Institute Fitness Standards. A participant in track one can earn up to 30 hours of leave every six months if they maintain or improve their physical fitness.
The second track also encourages exercise but allows participants to earn points towards an incentive by partaking in various health screenings and maintaining a minimum number of steps and active minutes in their daily routine. The “pebble” that tracks steps and activity can advise the coordinator who is not meeting their required number of steps, allowing the participant to be encouraged and coached.
Options for track two participants include an array of important screenings and classes, and participants earn a point value for each confirmed examination, class or seminar. Topics range from breast cancer screenings to nutrition classes, cardiovascular checkups, cancer screenings, and smoking cessation.
The “pebbles” have created some competition amongst employees for most steps taken and active minutes. This program began in 2013 with nearly 30% of the Harford County (MD) Sheriff’s Office employees participating. The use of the” pebbles” to motivate participants and the strong incentive of paid time off is one of the most innovative fitness programs of those evaluated.