Cooking classes are a vital part of Kirkpatrick’s wellness program, which also includes other events to encourage people to be healthy.
Cooking classes are a vital part of Kirkpatrick’s wellness program, which also includes other events to encourage people to be healthy.

Deb Mahan, vice president of Kirkpatrick Bank, believes in order for employees to be the best at what they do, they need to take the best care of themselves possible — all with great support from their employers.

That’s why Mahan and Kirkpatrick’s market president Trenton Stafford sought an innovative pilot program to give staff a personalized support structure to reach and maintain their health and wellness goals. They’ve partnered with the HealthCircle Primary Care Clinic at the Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences at UCCS.

To get the workplace wellness program off the ground, a team from the Lane Center met with every Kirkpatrick employee. Employees created their own goals for their overall health — including their psychological and emotional wellness.

“The idea was to make it as individualized and personal to our employees as possible,” Mahan said.

The program began in January, with staff building goals, developing food plans and workout schedules with help from a health coach, fitness trainer and nutritionist from UCCS.

Employees have also been attending cooking workshops and cardio classes together, building camaraderie and positive energy, Mahan said.

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“So far it’s been a huge success,” she said. “The participation has been just about 100 percent, with only one person in the entire bank who opted not to participate.”

The program’s tag phrase is “For the health of it,” and Kirkpatrick’s staff is halfway through the program, currently working with coaches on how to maintain the habits they’ve learned once the program is finished.

UCCS students are also involved, tracking follow-up surveys. The students will provide their data when the program ends in December.

“There have been a wide range of partnerships we’ve created to meet all of the wellness needs of our employees,” Mahan said. “It’s been very positive. There is a great sense of community and a collegial spirit of cooperation and getting things done.”

Mahan said she would love to see UCCS recreate the program for other businesses.

“Other businesses could pay a particular fee and get the same kind of program for a year,” she said. “I think the Lane Center and UCCS HealthCircle are being highly underutilized in terms of how they could impact this community, because it’s been an amazing resource.”

After implementing the creative and collaborative initiative, Mahan said she’s noticed employees taking more walks, eating healthier and drinking more water.

“Productivity throughout the whole bank in the last two quarters is definitely up,” she said. “It’s amazing how this kind of program can really affect people’s productivity.”

Mahan said larger companies could potentially offer a similar program departmentally —  spearheaded by one key person who makes sure the services are available to everyone.

“A company might think a program like this would cost them too much time and money but the truth is, the more you invest in your workplace, the more time, commitment and energy you get out of employees.”

Kirkpatrick Bank started in 1970 and was purchased by the Kirkpatrick family in 1988, with locations in Colorado Springs and Edmond, Okla.

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Amber Baillie
A Colorado native, Amber Baillie graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. For over three years, she wrote for the Air Force Academy's official base newspaper and has written articles for Your Boulder and the Cheyenne and Woodmen Editions. For the Business Journal, she covers cyber, aerospace and defense, and nonprofit news.