People expect major employee health and wellness benefits from high profile businesses. What comes as a surprise, however, is when smaller organizations do their part to enhance employee health and wellness. San Antonio advertising agency, esd and associates, the city’s leading digital creative agency, has made waves recently with an employee health and wellness plan that sets a gold standard.

And on May 22, 2012, the 25-employee ad agency received the recognition of the City of San Antonio’s San Antonio Business Group on Health’s (SABGH) 2012 Healthy Workplace Recognition Program, receiving Gold Level status for a small worksite (1-200 employees).

For years now, San Antonio has been heralded as a metropolis of poor health. Inspired by Mayor Julian Castro and other local leaders, local organizations have begun to prioritize the city’s health. SABGH’s 2012 Healthy Workplace Recognition Program a way to build, encourage and reward a culture of employer-supported health in San Antonio.

“Health has always been an important value at esd and associates,” explained Erik Simpson, two-time Iron Man Finisher and creative director of esd and associates. “Being an active member of the Mayor’s Fitness Council and working alongside organizations like the Bexar County Health Collaborative and San Antonio Sports has helped us to gain a real prospective on how problems like obesity impact our community.”

“We were already doing so many health and wellness programs at esd, it seemed logical to just share our concepts with other businesses in the community.”

For the past two years, esd and associates has developed an internal culture of fitness, health and wellness.

“We encourage our employees to do outside fitness activities like marathons, sports clinics and health seminars and then we do what we can to make participation easier by picking up the tab for the activity,” said Christine Kleha, primary owner and CEO of esd and associates.

“A healthy workplace benefits both the individual and the organization. People are happier, have fewer sick days and keep the business’ insurance costs low. We’ve had many employees who’ve lost weight, reduced their blood pressure and developed more active lifestyles thanks to our BMI incentive program and onsite workout boot camp.”

SABGH rewards healthy, qualifying worksites with four available levels of recognition: honorable mention, bronze level, silver level and gold level status. “We are happy for the honor and stunned and grateful to learn that we qualified for the highest employer site status available,” gushed Kleha.

esd and associates plans to develop additional health programs to encourage health at work. Among them are a massage/relaxation area and healthy snack program.

Read more about the 2012 Healthy Workplace Recognition Program on here.