Second Helpings Leads the Way: Prioritizing Employee Wellness through the BEI Workforce Pilot 

In business, profit margins often take precedence, and as a result, the concept of prioritizing employee wellness might seem like an afterthought. However, Second Helpings, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty through food rescue, hunger relief, and job training, is challenging this notion by spearheading a holistic approach to workforce wellness. Through their participation in the Business Equity for Indy (BEI) Workforce Pilot, Second Helpings is enhancing the health and well-being of its employees by putting employee wellness at the forefront of business operations.  



About the Workforce Pilot 


The BEI Workforce Pilot is an intensive, two-year cohort designed to deliver high-value consultation for companies to adopt evidence-based strategies and engage with industry experts to reduce disparities, drive equity, and support companies’ talent strategies.  


In the fall of 2022, 19 businesses sought to identify where they could invest in greater equity and to work alongside subject matter and technical experts to drive and measure outcomes. Though the current cohort has concluded, companies interested in future opportunities are invited to sign up to learn more on the BEI website. 


Each participating company in the Workforce Pilot was encouraged to select a key area of focus that would drive equity and inclusion in their organization. Recognizing that their employees are their most valuable asset, Second Helpings leveraged their experience in BEI’s Workforce Pilot to develop the right-sized tools and resources that would enable their staff to live healthier and more fulfilling lives.  


A Corporate Commitment 


Talent attraction and retention have never been more important for companies in Central Indiana, and Second Helpings quickly identified employee wellness as a tool to support talent strategies.  


“Wellness, DEI, and workplace culture are all tied together and contribute to an employee’s overall experience in their job,” said Claire Bozzano, Second Helpings’ Human Resources Manager. “Wellness fits right into our strategic plan, too. We want to measure employee retention rates and staff experience, so using this project to prioritize wellness helped us establish a benchmark we can refer to in future years.” 

The decision to participate in the Workforce Pilot reflects Second Helpings’ commitment to equity and inclusion. As a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the community, Second Helpings recognizes the importance of leading by example. By actively engaging in initiatives aimed at promoting equity in the workplace, Second Helpings sets a precedent for other nonprofits and businesses alike, demonstrating that prioritizing employee wellness is not only the right thing to do but also essential for long-term success. 


“Our ABIDE [Access, Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity] work is critical to our mission at Second Helpings,” said CEO Linda Broadfoot. “Participating in this program helped our team focus our efforts even more clearly on how connected DEI and wellness efforts are, both to our employees as individuals, and to our effectiveness as an organization.” 


Driving Measurable Impact  


Through the Workforce Pilot, Second Helpings was able to identify various opportunities to measure the impact of its wellness program through tangible results. One of the best ways to measure ongoing progress toward employee wellness is through the adoption of an annual employee satisfaction survey, which serves as a benchmark for tracking progress and identifying areas for growth. Additionally, the organization is tracking the frequency of injuries and missed workdays with the hope that trends illustrate a safer and more productive work environment because employees can address their physical and mental health concerns in real-time. Furthermore, by investing in the well-being of its employees, Second Helpings is hoping to report higher levels of employee retention, ultimately contributing to greater organizational stability and success. 


“By improving education about the resources we offer, committing to the Good Wages Initiative, and exploring other avenues of wellness, we hope to provide employees with more opportunities for personal and professional development,” Bozzano said. “While we’re still in the first year of the project, this year we saw increased employee participation in our 403b retirement plan, and decreased participation in our employee loan program.” 


Second Helpings’ commitment to prioritizing employee wellness through the BEI Workforce Pilot exemplifies the intersection of compassion and business acumen while illustrating the critical role Indy companies play in driving greater equity, inclusion, and belonging. As other businesses take note of Second Helpings’ innovative approach, it becomes evident that fostering a culture of wellness is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic advantage in today’s competitive landscape. 



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