TrueNorth Steel

TrueNorth Steel team members

TrueNorth Steel has kept employee health, safety and benefits as high priorities for their entire 79-year history. After formalizing a wellness program around yearly health goals in 2011, company leaders thought it was time to take things further.

In 2020, they partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota to rethink the program and build it around holistic wellness—physical health, mental well-being, financial stability, social connections and environmental engagement.

TrueNorth Steel’s human resources lead, Kellie Carlson, and benefits coordinator, Barb Bigger, took some time to talk about how the program has achieved success:

How did worksite wellness become a focus at TrueNorth Steel? 
Our initial wellness program guided employees to set goals based on things like BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol. They could achieve wellness points throughout the year and earn a monetary reward. 

In 2020, we opted to revamp the program as “Thrive.” The Thrive program took a more holistic approach to employee wellness by accounting for an employee's overall well-being versus focusing on physical health. We are happy with the new program and most employees actively participate.

Can you provide examples of how you’ve implemented a culture of well-being?
Employees get help cultivating personal and professional growth via our "Green & Growing" learning platform and exclusive "Game Changer" leadership development program.

To show leadership in action, TrueNorth Steel encourages employees to become engaged and involved in the local community in multiple ways. The company provides incentives to learn about and act on the importance of giving back through participation in community events, volunteer efforts and charitable causes, supported by the gift of company-sponsored time each month.

Beyond a comprehensive benefits package with medical, dental, vision and preventive coverage, TrueNorth employees can access diabetes management, ergonomic workspaces and even discounted pet insurance.

How does your organization concentrate on all aspects of employees’ health?
In addition to a robust benefits package, TrueNorth Steel provides preventive health screenings and vaccination clinics to help employees maintain and address their physical health and remain healthy and safe, especially in the work environment.

Through the Thrive program, we are truly able to offer our team tools to enhance every aspect of their well-being. And employees are encouraged to participate at their level of comfort.

What benefits have you seen across your organization that stem from focusing on wellness?
Since the inception of Thrive, TrueNorth Steel has seen a positive uptick in employee communication, collaboration and camaraderie. This positive activity is evidenced through feedback from company-wide employee surveys. There is also a correlation between the Thrive program and increased participation in company cultural events and learning opportunities.

What resources do you direct employees to and how do you educate employees on what resources are available?
We provide a thorough overview of wellness offerings upon new-hire onboarding. Still, all employees—new and tenured—have 24/7 access to wellness resources via the company's workforce management application.

In addition, we promote Thrive activities and offerings on a designated channel on the company's internal social media app, as well as within the company's other communication platforms.

What tips do you have for other employers looking to make worksite wellness part of their company culture? 
Don't limit your company's program to physical wellness. Create a holistic program that is all-inclusive, educational and fun.

TrueNorth Steel team members Giving Hearts Day
TrueNorth Steel team members Feed My Starving Children
TrueNorth Steel team members women in construction
TrueNorth Steel team members Giving Hearts Day
Kellie Carlson

Kellie Carlson

As vice president of human resources at TrueNorth Steel, Kellie Carlson has over 25 years of experience building employee engagement, retention and driving organizational success. She leverages her unique expertise to foster the company's Game Changer culture of commitment, teamwork and outcome focus to drive business growth.

Kellie holds a master's degree in organizational development and is passionate about empowering employees and teams to reach their full potential.

Barb Bigger

Barb Bigger serves as TrueNorth Steel’s benefits coordinator and champion of the company’s Thrive Wellness program. Barb is experienced in managing employee benefits programs, ensuring compliance with regulations and providing exceptional service and outreach to optimize employee satisfaction and create organizational efficiencies.