Ent Credit Union is an institution that prioritizes both financial health and mental health.
The company, which achieved national Gold Level recognition by the American Heart Association Workplace Health Achievement Index, is involved with various mental health initiatives for employees, members and the community.
Justin Hayworth, senior benefits and wellness administrator at Ent Credit Union, specializes in corporate health and manages the day-to-day operations of these programs. According to Hayworth, the health programs at Ent are accessible, comprehensive and “nothing short of phenomenal.”
“There are multiple pillars to people’s health,” says Hayworth, who adds Ent works to address each of these pillars. All employees and their dependents have free access to the employee assistance program, regardless of whether they’re enrolled in a medical plan. Employees are paid to participate in the wellness program (70 percent of employees participated during the first quarter of this year). If workers are uncomfortable seeing their health providers in person, they have access to care via telemedicine. Employees also have access to regular wellness webinars. Additionally, Ent offers higher education support, mental health days and paid time off.
“If we’re looking at mental health from a financial standpoint, we also have a disaster relief program set in place,” says Hayworth. “If individuals are having a rough go of it and need a little help on the financial side of things, we have a program where they can apply to get monetary assistance.”
Ent is also committed to the health of the community they serve. Last year, the company donated over $1.2 million to Children’s Hospital Colorado to support its mental health services’ statewide care network. The volunteer program at Ent encourages staff to give back to the community as well. All employees receive eight hours of paid volunteer time off quarterly (four hours for part-time employees). If workers don’t use their hours, they roll into the next quarter; if employees use all their hours, they are entered into a drawing. The winner receives $500 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice and an additional eight hours to volunteer.
What makes Ent’s health and well-being programs so successful, Hayworth says, is that they see their employees as people, not numbers: “When you start treating people fairly and you give them access to all of these things, you eliminate cost barriers and time barriers. It really does allow them to just focus on getting their job done because they don’t have the outside stressors of ... ‘Can I afford to go see a mental health provider?’ ‘Can I afford to go volunteer?’ ‘Can I afford to go work out?’ If you eliminate all those barriers, it really does allow the employee to focus on work.”
In June, Ent will be unveiling its newest health initiative: a fitness and well-being center. The company recognizes that physical activity is an important component of mental health, and next year, employees’ dependents will have access to the center as well.
Ent Credit Union is an Employer of Choice in Colorado. “People want to be here,” says Hayworth. “People don’t dread waking up first thing on a Monday morning and coming to work here. It really is a great place to be. If you have to spend 40-plus hours of your week away from your family doing things you love, Ent is a great place to do that. Because you really feel like you’re contributing, and you really do feel like you have that home-family [aspect] here.”
By focusing on easy access and incentives, Ent has created a comprehensive health and wellness system that fosters a sense of community. As a result, the whole city benefits.