The Whole Being


“Make something people want’ includes making a company that people want to work for.”
– Sahil Lavingia


How Businesses Prioritize Employee Well-Being

On the heels of the “Great Reshuffle,” during which a record number of workers left their jobs in the wake of the pandemic, it’s as crucial as ever for employers to promote workplaces that support all facets of employee well-being. Whether offering dynamic benefits programs or intentionally curating company culture, employers play a major role in sustaining team member satisfaction and beating burnout. Read on to learn how local companies are fostering professional environments that support team member well-being in body, mind, and spirit.


Grant Evitts

President, Tennessee American Water

American Water has an ongoing focus on employees’ physical, mental, and social well-being through programs built into our everyday work. First and foremost, safety is embedded in all that we do as a critical component of our work culture. Employees have many options such as a wellness program, discounted fitness center memberships, and access to a variety of supports for mental health, family focus, personal finance, and more. In addition, learning resources are available for career growth and professional development. Employee Business Resource Groups bring together employees with similar affiliations, their allies, and those interested in learning more. Through the American Water Charitable Foundation, employees can contribute matching dollars to an eligible nonprofit based on their volunteer hours or monetary donations. American Water’s global approach to well-being recognizes that our employees, customers, and communities benefit when everyone involved is healthy and safe.

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Joey Ballard

Executive VP, People & Safety, Covenant Logistics

At Covenant Logistics, we champion a work culture that prioritizes team members’ well-being, growth, and belonging. Our guiding principles of empathy, servanthood, and virtue foster an environment that values holistic wellness, understanding that a fulfilled workforce is the cornerstone of our success. We’re proud to lead by example, cultivating a workspace where employees feel supported, valued, and motivated to excel. The American Trucking Association (ATA) recently recognized our dedication to belonging when we were honored with the 2023 ATA Diversity Equity and Inclusion Change Leader Award. This award celebrates all our team members throughout the Covenant enterprise who go above and beyond to ensure everyone feels valued and that they belong.

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Ralph Romero

Chief People Officer, Southern Champion Tray

At Southern Champion Tray, our commitment to team member well-being is the foundation of our operational success. We offer our team members access to a variety of resources for holistic care and development, such as our on-site gym, which ensures our team members stay fit for the challenges of the manufacturing floor. In the spirit of mental wellness, our on-site counselor provides a confidential space for team members. For ongoing technical development, our formal mentoring program ensures a transfer of knowledge that sharpens the skills of both seasoned and emerging talents. In addition to offering flexible work schedules, we partner with local nonprofits to allow our team members to extend their impact to the community at large. At Southern Champion Tray, our management practices resonate with the rhythm of manufacturing excellence, creating an environment where our team members not only manufacture great products but also craft fulfilling and balanced lives.

Warehouse Row


Starla Benjamin & Terral Talley

Manager & Tech of Occupational Health and Wellness, City of Chattanooga

Creating a holistic work culture for the City of Chattanooga that supports employees’ overall well-being requires a multifaceted approach that values diversity and inclusion. We have found that promoting open communication, providing comprehensive wellness programs, encouraging a healthy work-life balance, and offering professional development opportunities and employee assistance programs are the best ways to provide all-
encompassing employee care. The well-being of our employees is very important as it contributes to their overall satisfaction, productivity, and long-term success within the organization. It is very important that every employee within the City of Chattanooga organization feels supported and empowered to prioritize their physical and mental health.

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Kyle Bryant

Managing Partner, Smith + Howard (formerly Market Street Partners)

There are benefits-based ways to promote a more holistically healthy workforce, including providing high-quality health insurance and generous paid time off. However, it’s also crucial to an individual’s overall well-being to feel truly valued. That’s why our leadership team consistently encourages all employees to share new policy and process ideas so we can continuously get better at our jobs and strengthen a culture that supports everyone. We’re also mindful to shine a spotlight on the great work being done across the Smith + Howard Chattanooga office while always celebrating wins, great and small. Key to this actually working, though, is actively listening when talking with our team so we’re fostering a sense of authenticity. You can’t just go through the motions. All of this has to be real, and when it’s done well, it benefits our team more profoundly.

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Jan Brown

VP, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, TVA

Well-being encompasses all aspects of being human – physical, financial, emotional, occupational, and social. That’s why TVA prioritizes the health of our people in all aspects of life, from fostering new connections to seeking a sense of safety and belonging. Belonging is a human need; in this role, I’ve had many conversations where I’ve walked away learning something new that helps me see a different perspective or where I’ve identified a shared experience that helped foster common ground with that person. Connection is the key to truly understanding the impact of our work, and TVA is committed to supporting our employees, both professionally and personally. We stay curious around the ways in which we can partner with employees and leaders to create welcoming, inclusive work environments where all employees are seen, heard, and valued.

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Burkhard Ulrich

SVP, Human Resources, Volkswagen Chattanooga

At Volkswagen Chattanooga, we pursue a work culture driven by a people-first mindset, recognizing that our employees are our greatest asset. We’re committed to offering our employees the best work experience possible by creating a culture of listening, which both drives satisfaction and promotes increased productivity and engagement to make our daily operations possible. We’ve implemented several initiatives based on employee feedback, including a partnership with Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union to open a bank branch inside the plant that offers complimentary financial literacy programs to credit union member employees. Maintaining this people-first mindset by listening helped us also become certified as Top Employer this year.

As we weave trust and inclusion into our work culture, we strive to empower our people to thrive professionally and personally. It’s not just about going to work every day. It’s about helping each team member develop skills that contribute to professional successes while also prioritizing their physical and mental well-being.

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Mike Fromm

Chief Human Resources Officer, Shaw Industries Inc.

At our core, we believe in putting people first and nurturing a work culture that embraces the holistic well-being of our associates. Our company ethos centers around the understanding that a positive associate experience translates into a positive customer experience. To foster this, we’ve curated a robust range of benefits – from comprehensive healthcare coverage and financial assistance initiatives to wellness programs promoting mental resilience and a wealth of education and training resources. It is through this thoughtful approach that we cultivate an environment where individuals thrive, ensuring a supportive workplace that enables us to deliver excellence to our customers.

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Jackie Stanfield

Employee Engagement and
Communications Specialist,
Miller Industries

At Miller Industries, we consider it part of our mission to provide employees with the best workplace possible, which includes supporting physical and mental health. By offering a compressed workweek to a majority of our workforce, we can give employees more time off to recharge both their minds and bodies. We provide on-site health screening opportunities, encouraging a more proactive approach to employee health. Additionally, we have roles dedicated to ensuring a safe and ergonomically sound work environment.

However, we know it does not stop there. People today have so many stressors both at work and home.  To help employees manage their mental health and navigate difficult times, we offer Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources at no cost to the employee. Finally, maintaining open lines of communication through townhall meetings, feedback surveys, and open-door access to leadership helps us continuously evaluate and improve what we offer to best serve our workforce.

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