Interview with Accenture’s First U.S. Wellness Lead, Julie Wilkes
Recently I interviewed Julie Wilkes (pictured below) from Accenture about the company's health and wellness initiative known as the "Live Well Program." Julie has an amazing personal story as to the passion she developed for wellness, which you can see on her website. Over time, she has excelled into becoming Accenture’s first U.S. wellness lead.
BCLC: Describe the Live Well Program at Accenture and how it got started?
Julie Wilkes: Accenture’s Live Well program is a resource for employees to use anytime, anywhere. Through an internal portal, we offer people access to work/life balance resources, wellness offerings, financial programs and health/life benefits.
Employees are encouraged to visit the site often for information and resources that provide guidance with fitness, financial matters, nutrition, time and stress management, as well as a variety of other programs that encourage a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
The Live Well site is updated with new content, promotions and wellness incentives each month. In addition to the online tools, we also use employee blogs and Accenture leadership to bring the program to life. We have found that we are most successful when our efforts are communicated to employees by employees.
Today, Accenture has more than 60 wellness champions across the United States who work to provide a variety of work/life and wellness solutions for their project teams and local offices.
The Live Well program was launched in 2006 after an internal team comprised of representatives from Accenture human resources and talent management groups joined to create a unified approach to wellness. This effort was very important to me both personally and professionally as I had already spent several years creating my own grassroots wellness campaigns, programs and newsletters on my own time in addition to working in human resources.
Today, I’m thrilled to serve as Accenture’s first U.S. Wellness Lead where I’ve had the opportunity to propel my grassroots efforts into programs that inspire more than 32,000 employees across the United States to live healthier, more balanced lives.
BCLC: How do you measure success?
Wilkes: We measure success in a variety of ways. For example, we track program participation and evaluate feedback from our annual employee engagement survey in order to improve programs in the future.
We also measure health improvement by comparing risk scores of our population year over year as well as specific achievements like number of pounds lost or steps walked.
BCLC: What are some of the community wellness programs that Accenture has implemented?
Wilkes: Accenture employees are highly motivated and join our company with a passion for giving back to the community. Our Community Wellness programs are an opportunity for our employees to spread their sense of good health and happiness to those around them.
As part of that effort, each Accenture location across the United States is empowered to inspire others and create awareness for physical activity, good nutrition and stress management in the communities in which they live.
For example, more than 15 of our locations actively create teams for local 5K events and invite family and friends to join the Accenture team. The team trains together after work and on the weekends and distributes educational articles on training techniques, proper hydration and nutrition. In addition, each team captain sends notes of encouragement to the team on a weekly basis during the program.
Other locations have adopted elementary schools where they mentor students on healthy or even provide backpacks filled with healthy snacks, drinks and educational material.