Greater St. Cloud Group of Employees Sees Big Gains in Well-Being

News Release

Greater St. Cloud Group of Employees See Big Gains in Well-Being

St. Cloud, MN, February 13, 2018 – At today’s Workplace Well-Being Summit, the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation – in collaboration with CentraCare Health, St. Cloud State University, health plans, and employers – announced significant gains in health and well-being indicators for a group of employers and employees participating in the Workplace Well-Being Initiative and the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being 5 Survey. 

The Workplace Well-Being Initiative launched in the region with an inaugural summit of employers in February of 2014.  In the subsequent four years leading up to a fifth summit on February 13th of 2018, the collaborators invested in a series of six activities designed to increase awareness of workplaces policies, practices, and systems that can improve employee health and well-being.  For organizational leaders and wellness committee members, the initiative provided annual summits, training, certifications, specialized resources, and a pledge of commitment.  For employees, the initiative provided webinars on health and well-being topics along with a well-being assessment that resulted in personalized recommendations for health improvement. 

In the fall of 2015, the online Well-Being 5 Survey was offered to interested employers and employees for the first time, creating a baseline on 53 questions and indicators within 5 broad elements of health and well-being.  The 5 elements include Purpose and Career Well-Being, Social Well-Being, Financial Well-Being, Community Well-Being, and Physical Well-Being.  There were 2,181 respondents to the survey from amongst 3,657 eligible employees representing a response rate of 59.6%. 

The initiative and its activities continued across 2016 and 2017, and a second cycle of the Well-Being 5 survey was offered in the Fall of 2017.  In this second cycle, there were 1,729 respondents to the survey from amongst 3,053 eligible participants representing a 56.6% response rate.

A subset of 646 employees from an estimated 20 employers participated in the survey in both the Fall of 2015 and the Fall of 2017 (the “Greater St. Cloud Group”).  The results for these Returning Respondents were analyzed to assess favorable and/or unfavorable changes across the 53 questions and indicators of well-being. 

A summary of key findings is outlined below. 

  • The percentage of returning respondents categorized as “Thriving” – as contrasted with “Struggling” or “Suffering” – increased substantially between 2015 and 2017 in all 5 elements of Well-Being:
  • The percentage Thriving in Purpose and Career Well-Being increased from 46.4% to 52.2% (+5.8 points),
  • The percentage Thriving in Social Well-Being increased from 47.8% to 52.2% (+4.4 points),
  • The percentage Thriving in Financial Well-Being increased from 47.4% to 53.4% (+6.0 points),
  • The percentage Thriving in Community Well-Being increased from 56.2% to 58.8% (+2.6 points),
  • The percentage Thriving in Physical Well-Being increased from 59.6% to 61.2% (+1.6 points).
  • Within these 5 aggregate element scores, there were major increases in more than 35 well-being indicators including “Healthy Leaders”, “Managing My Health”, “Goal Reaching”, “Exercise”, “Fruits and Vegetables”, “Eating Healthy”, “Positive Energy”, “Use My Strengths”, “Like What I Do”, “Learn Everyday”, “Time with Friends and Family”, “Enough Money”, “Standard of Living Satisfaction”, “Ideal Housing”, “Physical Health”, “Happy With Appearance”, “Recognition for Volunteering”, “Ideal Community”, “Smiling and Laughing”, “Enjoyment”, and more.
  • There were also major reductions in “Worry” and “Stress”, and a slight reduction in “Alcohol Consumption”.
  • On a small number of the well-being indicators, no material change was reported by the returning respondents, including questions on “Encouragement”, “Closest Relationship Strength”, “Smoking”, and “Obesity”.
  • Initial Well-Being Advantage in 2015 - On many of the well-being measures above, the Greater St. Cloud Group started with higher scores in 2015 than the State of Minnesota as a whole.
  • Greater Well-Being Advantage in 2017 – The Group’s significant improvements described above generally occurred during a period when well-being in Minnesota was relatively flat, and when well-being in the United States was flat-to-down in a series of the indicators.  As such, the Greater St. Cloud Group’s health and well-being advantage on many of these indicators – relative to the State – increased between 2015 and 2017.
  • Growing Productivity Advantage - Higher levels of well-being have been strongly associated with lower absenteeism, lower presenteeism, lower turnover, lower disease incidence, lower healthcare costs, higher productivity, and higher profitability in organizations.
  • Impressive Progress - Initiatives that materially and broadly improve the health and well-being of a group are rare, especially within a period of time as short as two years.

For more information, the complete report and other presentations from the Workplace Well-Being Summit can be found at

In reflecting on the initiative, Rick Bauerly, CEO of Granite Equity Partners and Chair of the GSDC Workplace Well-Being Corps shared that “ultimately, employee health and well-being are at the root of innovation, growth, and productivity in our businesses and organizations.  They are essential talent and economic development strategies.”  Dr. Ken Holmen, CEO of CentraCare Health continued, “We now know that a large majority of health happens outside the walls of our hospitals and clinics.  It happens every day in our workplaces and schools, in our homes and neighborhoods, and in our faith communities and cities.  The policies, the systems, and the overall environment that we design and live in has a significant effect on the quality and the quantity of our lives.”  Finally, Dr. Ashish Vaidya, Interim President of St. Cloud State University added: “The twenty-first century university prepares students for success in the workplace and in the community.  We are pleased to have our faculty and students involved in this community collaboration, to help us all increasingly see how the designs we shape and the decisions we make influence our individual, organizational, and community health and well-being.”

For more information about the collaborating organizations, see the following web sites:

Key Collaborators:

Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (“GSDC”) –

CentraCare Health –

St. Cloud State University –


Health Plan Collaborators:

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Minnesota –  

Health Partners –  

Medica –  

Preferred One –  


Well-Being Element Sponsors:

Anderson Center –

Central Minnesota Community Foundation –  

Rejuv Medical –  

VITAL WorkLife –  


Corporate Sponsors:

Coborn’s –  

Coldspring –  

Granite Equity Partners –


Posted on February 21, 2018 .