Worksite Wellness summit highlights need for workplaces where courage thrives


When it comes to the well-being of employees, businesses have a lot more to consider than they likely do.

That’s a critical component of the BCBSND Worksite Wellness Summit, held Monday, Oct. 21, with over 200 people throughout the region in attendance.

“The purpose of the Worksite Wellness Summit is to bring new ideas and the latest trends to ‘wellness champions’ in workplaces across North Dakota,” said Pete Seljevold, program administrator for BCBSND’s Worksite Wellness Initiative. “This year’s event fulfilled that mission.”

A few of the topics presented by speakers at the Summit:

Psychological safety. Patty de Vries, an associate director of faculty and staff wellness at Stanford University, discussed the idea that employees need to feel comfortable to be themselves in the workplace, speaking up when there are issues and not being in fear of making mistakes. A workplace with psychological safety allows employees to work better as a team. She challenged attendees to look for three good things over two weeks to help program us to see the positive.

Financial wellness. There’s a very close relationship between an individual’s financial wellbeing and their emotional and physical well-being, Seljevold said. Sarah Nikle, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in West Fargo, stressed the importance of educating employees on how their benefits work, tackling their debt and planning for their retirement, as 43 percent of people do not have the confidence to make financial decisions.

Culture of courage. Jill Nelson, associate dean for professional development and leadership in the NDSU College of Human Services and Education, discussed how employees should be willing to be vulnerable while also willing to be bold, having the courage to make positive changes in the workplace. Nelson also introduced the concept of BRAVING - boundaries, reliability, accountability, vault (only share what you should), integrity, non-judgement and generosity – to the audience.

Persistence and hard work. Enacting any kind of positive change takes more than just an idea. It takes hard work and overcoming obstacles. That was the message from singer Kat Perkins, finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” and founder of the nonprofit Rising Star Foundation.

“Attendees left with some tools to improve their own health and well-being, as well as the health and well-being of the places where they work,” Seljevold said.

Additional wellness and worksite wellness program resources for employers are provided on the BCBSND website: