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A Culture of Health Spreads Throughout Duncan-Williams Inc.

“My father passed away at 56 from heart disease. He worked hard his entire life in a very stress filled business, and ultimately his health suffered from it. So it has always been important to me to try and stay healthy,” Duncan Williams, President of Duncan-Williams, Inc. explains. Duncan’s personal connection with health and wellness has ultimately spurred the adoption of a worksite culture conducive to health at Duncan-Williams, Inc.

Duncan-Williams, Inc. is one of forty-nine companies participating in the Memphis Business Group on Health’s CEO Culture of Health Initiative. Their wellness initiatives began a year ago through involvement in the CDC’s National Healthy Worksite Program. Over the course of the past year Duncan-Williams, Inc. has evolved into an organization that offers a complete wellness program. Their wellness program, branded DWFIT, is led by an employee committee and has implemented a variety of programs, policies and environmental support systems. 

Employees of Duncan-Williams, Inc. have embraced the DWFIT program. The Wellable health tracking system, launched in July of 2014, is already reaching 30% of the employees. Their Monthly Speaker Series often attracts 20+ employees. The goal is to engage at least 60% of their employees in DWFIT.  They still have some work to do, but they have made substantial progress in just one year.  

But Duncan-Williams, Inc.’s culture of health is not all about participating in officially sanctioned DWFIT activities. David Scully, Chief Investment Officer, mentions, “Right now the bond floor has a weight loss challenge going on. This is not a DWFIT program.  This is something the employees put together themselves because they wanted to challenge each other to be healthier.” A company knows their culture is changing when employees initiate the change on their own and don’t rely on Management or the committee for every healthy opportunity. 

Grace Simmons, with the Private Client Group, had a pivotal conversation with the office building’s security guard. She states, “The other day, he stopped me and said that he had seen our signs about taking the stairs and that since then, he has been taking them on his nightly rounds.” This example reminds employers that their reach expands beyond employees, and that others, including visitors, clients, customers and other building employees can be impacted.

Duncan-Williams, Inc. has found that having a worksite culture of health provides more than just health benefits to the employees. Duncan states, “If your employees are healthier, they are more productive. They are happier, they can handle stress better, and they are willing to work a little bit harder, which are all things that make a business better.” The organization itself ultimately reaps the benefits of a healthy workforce. David Scully adds that, “from an ability to attract and retain talented individuals, having a company that cares about employees’ health and well-being is something that is important.” As people enter the workforce and evaluate where they want to work, companies with employee wellness programs will stand out among the rest.

Duncan leaves us with this: “Worksite wellness is something companies should do and need to do moving forward. In 3-4 years, I hope to see more and more employers being actively involved in the health of their employees and their community. This means that more companies would join Duncan-Williams, Inc. in implementing wellness programs, encouraging participation in community events, and providing incentives for healthy behaviors to their employees. That would be a happy Memphis story.”

Posted by Tara Hill at 1:58 PM

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