Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

Ten More Tips for a Successful Wellness Program

Monday, July 14th, 2014

We can’t say it enough, a successful wellness program can benefit both employees and companies in drastic ways. With reduced healthcare costs for both employee and company, more productivity at work, and less absenteeism, workplace wellness has been shown time and time again to be a smart investment in a time of rising healthcare costs.

Here are 10 more tips for implementing a successful wellness program:

1. Understanding your workforce: Reviewing items such as prior health insurance claims, health assessments, and employee surveys can help you to understand what concerns your employees have with their health.

2. Create a plan: All programs should have some kind of plan in place, start by developing a plan with both short and long term goals, along with a budget and expected outcomes.

3. Include everyone: Make the plan available to all employees and their spouses/domestic partners.

4. Offer biometric screenings: Many employees do not know the current status of their health. Offering screenings during work time or during company health fairs allow more employees to participate in screenings.

5. Select wellness leaders: Set up a wellness committee with wellness leaders to help drive wellness programs. Choose highly respected employees.

6. Communication: Communicate your wellness program as much as possible with things like, company emails, flyers, and in-person meetings.  Employees can only participate if they know the details.

7. Offer incentives: Gift cards, reduced premiums, cash bonuses and discounts on various health and wellness based incentives (i.e. gym memberships) will significantly increase employee participation.

8. Provide employees with digital tools: Online, mobile, and tablet updates can help employees keep track of their health and healthcare costs.

9. Track results: Assess your wellness program on an annual basis. Assess both the costs benefits with your healthcare provider as well as evaluating employee participation.

10. Solicit Feedback: Remain flexible and listen to your employees. Your employees are your foundation for a solid wellness plan.

Following these tips can help maximize your employer sponsored wellness program.  Thanks to Southern Florida UnitedHealthcare President Nicholas Zaffiris for the tips.

Both the CVS/pharmacy and Whole Foods Market gift cards make perfect incentives for your employee wellness program. Learn more about our corporate gift cards here!

Recommitment to Employee Health and Wellness

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

The Consumer Goods Forum, representing 400 Consumer Goods and Retail organizations and over EUR 2.5 trillion in sales, recommitted themselves to employee and consumer health and wellness for the present and well into the future. This organization is particularly interesting because it represents many of the manufacturers who put food on our plates and retailers who we buy those goods from. With this particular trade organization’s committment to both employee health and wellness and end-consumer health and wellness, the influence could be monumental.

Working on and measuring savingsIn two short years, by 2016, the Forum has pledged to not only implement employee health and wellness programs for all member companies, but make policies on nutrition and product formulation public as well. This forum represents some of the largest players in all facets of the consumer goods sector. If their employees are on health and wellness programs that encourage exercise, healthy eating and risk assessments to help combat preventable health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, there is potential for global impact.

Members of the Consumer Goods Forum directly employ 10 million people in 70 different countries. As an extremely influential organization who affects not only their employees, but their seemingly limitless end-customer base, this recommitment to health and wellness could help create a culture of health and wellness worldwide.

Does your organization have a 2-year plan to get your employees either on, or recommitted to health and wellness?

What do you think about the feasibility of the Forum’s statement? Leave us a note in the comments.

Employee Wellness Incentives That Work

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Employee wellness is a hot topic for employers in an environment where healthcare costs are rising and there can be a lot of confusion around new Affordable Care Act rules taking effect. Here are a few ways to ensure that your employee wellness incentives provide the ROI that you seek in investing in employee wellness.

  1. Results-based incentives: Focus on biometrics. Without driving your compliance officer crazy, voluntary biometric readings are a great, concrete, measurable way to incentivize employee wellness. When an employee’s BMI drops, cholesterol decreases, blood pressure reaches a normal range, these are measurable milestones that are worth recognizing with employees.
  2. Incentives for completing an HRA: Getting employees on board is helping your organization reach participation goals and get employees engaged. Health risk assessments are an entry point to employee wellness initiatives and participation should be recognized. A small denomination gift card to a wellness based retailer like Reebok, CVS/Pharmacy, Whole Foods Market or Nutrisystem is a great way to support an employee as they begin their personal wellness initiatives.
  3. Discounts of Gym Memberships: 42% of employees to whom these employee wellness incentives are offered take advantage. To have almost half of your staff taking advantage of an employee wellness incentive is a strong case for an investment that will, over time reduce long term healthcare costs.

For more information on how to effectively engage your employees with employee wellness incentives check out this article from Marketing Innovators.

Employers Offering More Health and Wellness Benefits

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Employers are spending more on health and wellness benefits while decreasing the amount of spending on other types of benefits.  According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2014 Employee Benefits report, 28% of employers have increased the benefits they have offered to employees in the last year. Employers are finding it crucial to maintain or increase key benefits in areas where costs are rising – which has mainly been healthcare and wellness. And decrease benefits like undergraduate tuition, personal car use for business purposes reimbursements, and long-term care insurance.

Five-year trends have shown that healthcare costs have shifted away from the employer and more onto the employee. With that shift, more companies are offering health savings’ accounts (HSAs) and contributing to them as well. This year 45% of employers will be offering HSAs, up from 33% in 2010, and 32% of companies will be contributing to HSAs, which more than doubles company contribution up from 15% in 2010.

Employers are spending more on preventative healthcare efforts such as incentive programs for completing health and wellness programs, smoking cessation, and premium discounts for health-risk assessments. These preventative programs can take up to 5 years before the employer can see a difference, but every health and wellness program has shown a return on investment.

Read the full 2014 Society for Human Resource Management’s employee benefits report here! 

Boosting Wellness Program Participation

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Regular medical checkups and tests can help spot issues before they become expensive to treat complications. One Florida school district has launched a wellness rewards points program that has been showing phenomenal results. To obtain a $50 reduction in premium, employees just have to earn 300 points a year, and points are quite easy to obtain.

Points are earned through a variety of health related activities like,

  • 100 points for an online health risk assessment
  • 100 points for blood testing to measure cholesterol and glucose
  • 100 points for a physical, colonoscopy, mammogram, or completing an online coaching program for weight loss, nutrition or stress management

85% of employees in the district now get annual physicals, more than a 50% increase since the launch of the program. More than 16,000 employees now complete an online health assessment, where 6 years ago the number of employees participating was just 25!

The wellness program has had a positive effect on reducing overall healthcare costs for the district. In just two years, hospital admission rates dropped from almost 70 per 1000 to 61 per 1000 (covered employees) and overall monthly medical spending dropped 7% during this same time period. Diabetes is also a primary concern for the district. About 33% of participants have diabetes with additional complications and participants in the diabetes category saw a 39% decrease in medical spending and have saved the school district approximately $6.5 million dollars since the inception of the program in 2011. More consistent care and follow-up has been directly attributed to the rewards program.

While a financial incentive such as a premium reduction will not work for all companies due to legal ramifications, these types of points based wellness programs have been shown to be just as successful with a gift card as an incentive. Gift cards allow employees to choose the rewards that are best suited to their interests and will be most motivating to them. They also take the guesswork out of selecting the proper incentive to reward employees with and many gift cards offer co-branding with a company logo.

GiftCard Partners carries many “healthy” gift card brands that help to enhance your rewards program, including CVS/pharmacy, Whole Foods Market, and GNC!

Click here to learn more!

Employee Wellness Programs Reinvigorated

Friday, June 13th, 2014

In 2012 half of all companies with at least 50 employees had a corporate wellness program that incentivized employee wellness through either direct financial incentives or non-financial recognition. Companies larger than 50 employees were even more likely to have an employee wellness program in place, at 79%. These programs do simple things to prevent avoidable conditions like health risk assessment, weight management and nutrition education.

The investment is a low-risk high-reward endeavor, especially as components of the Affordable Care Act take affect that further encourage employers to implement programs directed at employee wellness. The average investment in wellness has doubled since 2009, skyrocketing from $260 per employee to $594. The 2014 figure is also significantly higher than the $521 average investment made per employee for wellness in 2013.

Employers increased investment and encouragement of employee wellness shows that it is working. Check out this infographic and more great information from Modern Healthcare on where the employee wellness industry is going and growing in 2014 and beyond.

employee wellness industry growth chart

Inside the World of Corporate Wellness

Monday, June 9th, 2014

inside corporate wellnessCorporate wellness programs have become popular in recent years. Simply put, corporate wellness is any health initiative or program within a company that focuses on promoting good health and employee comfort, rather than dealing with poor health and low morale at a later date.

It should come as no surprise that most of the companies on the top 100 companies to work for list, year after year, offer corporate wellness programs. Companies that offer corporate wellness programs are striving, and people enjoy working for them. Not only do companies that offer such programs have happier staff, but they end up doing better financially.  Research shows that for every $1 spent on corporate wellness, a company saves $4 in sick time, health costs and overall work productivity.

Top Corporate Wellness Programs 

Google is regularly on the top 100 companies to work for list. In fact, it has topped the list for several years. It makes sense then, that Google also has one of the most comprehensive wellness programs in the industry. The company offers on-site gyms, healthy eating options in the dining area, fully paid sabbaticals, volunteer opportunities, and health classes and screenings. SAS, a software developer, comes in at number two on the list. The company offers their employees on-site child care and fitness centers, a multitude of medical staff on-site, reimbursed gym memberships, healthy eating options and dietician services. With compressed workweeks, job sharing, 100% health coverage and paid sabbaticals, The Boston Consulting Group comes in at number three on the top companies to work for list. While these three companies are worlds apart in many ways, they share one common factor; solid wellness programs that ensure their staff is working to the best of their abilities.

Creating a Wellness Program 

It is understandable that not all companies are going to be able to offer the same perks as Google. Google is a behemoth in the business world, with untold amounts of money to spare. Smaller companies, clearly, will be unable to procure the “campus-style” structure of Google, nor will they be able to offer the round-the-clock day care services that SAS gives to their workers, but every company can instill a wellness program that is sure to raise productivity and boost morale. To begin a wellness program a company must work to better understand their internal culture. Once the internal culture is understood, a better understanding of what the employees need out of a wellness program will arise. Before you begin a wellness program ask these questions;

  • What do my employees really need out of a wellness plan?
  • What is the corporate culture in my office?
  • What incentive will work best for my employees to get healthy?
  • How can a wellness program best benefit the employees and employer collaboratively?

Once you’ve answered those questions you can begin working out a wellness plan that will work best for your company and your employees. For example, if you can not offer a gym on-site, because you simply don’t have the sprawling campuses that large corporations do, then consider offering gym reimbursement options. Employees who are reimbursed for this expense are more likely to utilize it. If you can’t offer on-call medical staff, consider offering regular screenings at different parts of the year. For example, after the summer offer a skin cancer screening. Prior to the winter months offer a cardiovascular health screening.

Using Gift Cards in Your Wellness Program 

Gift cards can also be used in wellness programs. Gift cards are an easy way for companies that do not have the space, nor resources to allocate to wellness programs to get more involved in the health and wellness of their employees. Gift cards can be used in lieu of a company dining experience. If employees are offered gift cards to healthy eating options they are more likely to use those options, than to stop by a fast food location on their lunch hour. Alternatively, gift cards can be used as incentives for employees to get healthy and be rewarded for it. Gift cards can also be given for pharmacies and other health outfitters that will help your employees get on a healthier track.

The Bottom Line

While not all companies have the space, time or monetary resources, to institute an all-inclusive wellness program, there are plenty of ways to get a wellness program started, even in a small company. In the end, wellness programs are shown to actually save companies money, boost morale and raise productivity. Every company, both large and small can stand to have revenue saved, morale boosted and productivity raised. In the end, it is a win-win situation.










Infographic: Employee Health Program ROI is Stunning

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Employee health programs help your organization save money. I’ll let the infographic below speak (mainly) for itself but the multi-faceted savings an employee health program can gain will surprise you…and your boss. Between reduced employee absenteeism, medical cost savings, and overall reduction is health costs, savings can be as much as $6 for every $1 a company invests. Employee health programs see results in wellness and biometrics as well. Reduction in preventable conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and high-risk activities like smoking is another way health programs are proving their investment to employers and employees alike.

Improve employee health and wellness by promoting wellness with small spot rewards for health behavior like exercise, or for reaching a biometric goal like lowering blood pressure. Small denomination gift cards to healthy retailers like Whole Foods Market, CVS/Pharmacy and Nutrisystem are great ways to help promote healthy behavior and lifestyles in your workplace.

1365106447662

Wellness Programs Shown to Increase Company Profitability

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Working on and measuring savingsConsidering setting up a wellness program for your employees?  New evidence shows that an investment in a wellness program returns two to five times the cost, directly to the bottom line.  For every dollar invested companies are saving between $2 and $5 on healthcare benefits and sick leave payouts.  Wellness programs also improve overall employee engagement.

Healthy employees are more productive in the workplace and cost the employer less.  While absenteeism is the most noticeable, the bigger threat to employers is “presenteeism”.  Presenteeism consists of those employees that continue to come to work every day when they are not healthy, whether mentally or physically.

Though these employees are at work, they aren’t really there.  Heavy workloads and also feeling compelled to be at work when they do not feel well in order to satisfy clients, co-workers, and superiors results in presenteeism.

Employee engagement also ties into presenteeism, as the presentee employee is found at the low end of the engagement scale.

A comprehensive program is needed when setting up a wellness program. Ideally a wellness program is designed by the employees themselves by surveying factors such as work-life balance, respect from superiors, and clear leadership and expectations. Many wellness issues are interconnected to employee engagement, such as bad bosses and a toxic work environment.

It’s vital for employers to consider connections between their current wellness programs and employee engagement programs and how they are both strategic ventures for their organization.

Want to do your own Life at Work checkup?  Click here to take a survey to see your score and risks!

Wearable Tech Is Changing the Face of Employee Health and Wellness

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Can smartphone apps and pedometers take the place of good old fashioned heart rate monitors and gym memberships? If we give ourselves and our employees a way to measure their exercise and fitness outside of traditional gyms and workout classes can they still stay healthy? Wearable tech is changing the way employers and employees approach health and wellness.

A new study from the Vitality Group reveals that when wearable tech is incorporated into a broader employee health and wellness program there is a measurable change in behavior. Health risks such as high BMI and high cholesterol are mitigated when wearable tech and health and wellness programs are combined. Here are a few other useful stats from the Vitality Group’s study:

  • More women use pedometers and smart phone apps, while heart rate monitors are more popular among men.
  • Previously inactive employees reduced health risk factors by 13%, while previously fit employees reduced their risk factors by 22%.
  • Employee health and wellness incentive programs around measurable goals like a certain number of steps made it more likely for employees to reach goals.

For more information on the Vitality Group’s study or to learn more about wearable technology’s impact on employees health and wellness check out their website.