Written by Carol Jaeger, Faculty Member
If you stop by the Minnesota School of Business (MSB)-Richfield, you will be surrounded by success: graduate photos; stories of student applied learning projects contributing to communities; plaques with employee of the year recognition; and classrooms, a campus library and a resource center filled with engaged students and employees. Tour any floor, and you will see what I mean.
Located in the center of it all is Stacy Severson, campus director. You might think to look for Stacy in her beautiful, tucked away private office. You would be wrong. Instead, she places herself in an open area without borders, playing a significant role in the life of her campus. She literally has an open door policy, making herself available to anyone who stops by, creating a culture known to promote engagement and success.
Stacy has taken campus involvement a “step” further by introducing a walking club called STEP Into Success. The club’s mission is to lead our campus team to greater success (S) through teambuilding (T), increased engagement (E), and professional development (P) while promoting wellness.
It is no accident that Stacy created a club that fosters social connection along with exercise. In fact, as a marathon runner, she conceived of the idea during one of her training runs. The endorphins released while running not only create a euphoria but also ignite the brain. Most weeks walks are conducted outside; however, the day we stayed inside, Stacy stayed true to the mission, having members watch and practice power poses delivered via Amy Cuddy’s “Body Language Shapes Who You Are,” TedTalk. In fact, those poses were so well received that they have become a part of the MSB-Richfield culture, used for motivational purposes both inside and outside the classroom.
Incorporating a wellness component at the workplace has a direct correlation on improved employee morale, leading to increased productivity. According to a recent study from the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, “People who exercised during their workday were 23 percent more productive on those days than they were when they didn’t exercise” (as cited in Asp, n.d., para. 9).
Career Services Director Liz Ashantiva stated, “MSB-Richfield’s promotion of employee wellness supports the GEN ‘We Care’ philosophy.” Liz embraces the opportunity of being outside to enjoy the spring weather while exercising.
Admissions representative Karleen Simmons said, “That movement gets me going for the rest of the day.”
In addition, the social aspects of a club that fosters human interaction has benefits that cannot be obtained in any other way. In a time when technology prevails, the power of human face-to-face contact is irreplaceable. Now, a second season into operation, STEP Into Success has become a weekly outing that employees embrace, sharing best practices and connecting with colleagues; cell phones are used strictly for tracking miles. Students notice, too, and enjoy seeing the campus team in a setting outside the building. Modeling a work/life balance, MSB-Richfield prepares students with a soft skill they take to the workplace.
With employee engagement a hot topic in corporate America today, Stacy is on track with her STEP program.
Asp, K. (n.d.). The brain-boosting benefits of cardio exercises. Women’s Health. Retrieved from www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/cardio-workouts
Cuddy, A. (2012). How your body language shapes who you are. [Video File]. TedTalk. Retrieved from: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en
Related survey results and articles: