How Port of Seattle Inspires Engagement in Their Wellness Program

The Port of Seattle has created a successful well-being program that responds to growth while accounting for what is meaningful and relevant to their culture and employees. We are excited to share their story with you through this short video and blog. Enjoy!

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A Bustling Economy

The Port of Seattle was created in 1911 to develop much needed access the waterfront – key to the city’s economy at the time. Today, the Port of Seattle has grown to include the region’s major airport, maritime port, Fisherman’s Terminal, Cruise Terminal and other facilities. The Port directly employees around 2,000 people and impacts 40% of Washington State’s economy.

Seattle is now the fastest growing city, according to U.S. Census Bureau (2016). This unprecedented growth means the Port of Seattle has to keep up with increased demand, while recognizing the importance of an engaged workforce.

”The port could not do anything without our human resource. We are a collection of properties, leases, and customers. To make everything work – do great things, you have to be engaged.” - Dave Solke, Interim Executive Director

Focus on Employee Engagement

Port of Seattle focuses on engaging employees in many ways, including their Spirit and Wellness Program. Their program applies intrinsic motivation principles, allowing employees from every location to contribute to the program by recommending activities that they care about. Because interests and passions within the workforce vary, so do the requests. Examples include:

• Group events, i.e.: A local weekend hike
• Community events, i.e.: Seattle Pride Parade
• Environmental efforts, i.e.: clean up the river work party
• Professional Development, i.e.: Resilience program
• Internal events, i.e.: Maintainability tour at the Airport
• Volunteering, i.e.: Baseball Without Borders

These activities get people out of the office and helps their overall well-being, not just their physical being. “We pride ourselves in offering our employees a holistic approach to health,” says Manette Moses, Director of Health & Safety.

Strong Individuals Create Strong Organizations

Giving back to the community Earl Parker grew up in is core to his volunteer work. “To know I have the support of the organization I work for is a big deal,” says Earl, Facilities and Maintenance Manager for Cruise and Maritime operations at the Port. Earl spends time as a coach and mentor through Baseball without Borders, a non-profit providing underserved youth critical skills necessary for life, through participation in baseball.

Earl’s face lights up when he talks about it, “Baseball is a place you can fail 7/10 times and still be considered great. It teaches kids to build character and the resilience needed to come back and have another opportunity to win.”

The Port of Seattle supports Earl’s volunteer work through time off, wellness points, and including Baseball without Borders as a part of their employee giving campaign. It’s the personalized approach that inspires Earl.

Honestly, when I am volunteering and I’m doing what I’m doing in my community, it gives me energy to come to work. It gives me energy to carry on in life, period.” Earl Parker Facilities & Maintenance Manager

The Results?

The Spirit and Wellness Program has taken a holistic approach to health, designing a program that incorporates what is meaningful and relevant to their culture and their employees. This creates a culture where people want, not just need, to come to work each day.

Dave Soike, Interim Executive Director says, “If they are engaged as an employee, they’re working harder and more effectively here for the organization.”

And the employees love it. The Spirit and Wellness Program has increased engagement from 28% to nearly 90%. The result is a program that bonds employees, creates community and allows their voices to be heard.

Do you want to know more about how our customers design successful well-being programs?

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