Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

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.


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.

Getting Employee Buy-In on Health and Wellness

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

The infographic below looks a little bit like the Game of Life, and it is. It is the life of an employee health and wellness program. In evaluating your staff’s needs within an employee wellness program, and what resources you have to piggyback on versus what resources you will have to create, we want to make sure you don’t forget about the employees. In trying to optimize the program and manage costs it is key to remember that if employee engagement is low, the health and wellness program will fail.

We have one piece of advice before we send you on to the Game of Life below (care of Don’t skip the employee incentives. Employee incentives provide the critical support your employees are going to need along their path to wellness (and lower insurance premiums). Gift cards are a great fixed cost solution to guide employees to healthy products. Giving small denomination gift cards to health and wellness retailers like CVS/Pharmacy, Whole Foods Market and GNC are a great way to give employees a pat on the back while steering them in the direction the program is trying to take them. So in all of the planning and evaluating, we just want to make sure you don’t forget your employees.


Health & Wellness- One Way to Save Thousands

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Health & wellness programs are on the rise among employers who offer healthcare benefits to employees. This is correlated directly with a part of the Affordable Care Act calling for a 40% tax on expensive benefit plans beginning in 2018. That means employers have 4 years to lower costs an avoid the tax. The easiest way to accomplish this critical task is to increase the health of employees.

corporate wellness planIncreasing employee health also helps employees avoid possible penalties that come into play with the Affordable Care Act, which employers are compelled to offer alternatives to help employees avoid. Creating an after-work exercise group or a morning yoga class can be an easy way to help employees get in a workout and stay active that fits easily into their routine.

Small adjustments are the best way to avoid the penalties and taxes that the Affordable Care Act can provide. However, ensuring that they are avoided is the best way to wellness and cost reduction of healthcare benefits.

For more information on how to promote health & wellness in your office check out this feature from ABC News.

Summertime Employee Motivation

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

The weather is getting warmer and employees minds are starting to wander to that summer vacation to the beach or the lake. Springtime is the perfect time to devise a way to keep employees focused and motivated from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Variety is the name of the game with employee motivation, the key to success is finding a reward that everyone likes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Gift Cards: Gift cards offer a variety of options and allow an employee to choose their ultimate gift. Everything from AutoZone to The Limited is available and gives employees access to the ultimate variety of end rewards.
  • Travel Rewards: Motivating employees with the trip to the beach or the lake supports your employees’ work/life balance and keeps them motivated to work towards a long term goal.
  • Health and Wellness: Encouraging health and wellness is a win/win situation. For employees it provides an outlet either within or surrounding the work day to pause and get outside and enjoy the nice weather. Whether it is a walk at lunch or a post-work running club encouraging employees to enjoy the outside can benefit employers too. Healthy employees are more productive and lower healthcare costs.

The nice weather and kids being out of school can hinder productivity and allow minds to wander. Make a plan this spring to keep your employees on track and motivated towards common goals. For more information on how to keep employees motivated all summer head over to Employee Benefits News.

Workplace Wellness Can Save Serious Cash

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Poor employee health is never a good thing. However, did you know that if you don’t maintain workplace wellness it can cost your company between $1900 and $2250 in lost revenue per employee per year. Maintaining workplace wellness not only keeps employees healthy and keeps productivity at its peak but it can also keep employee morale up. Happy, healthy employees are productive, loyal employees so workplace wellness can go farther than you think. Check out the infographic below for more information on the benefits of workplace wellness.