Posts Tagged ‘employee health’

Employee Health Keeps Costs Low

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Employee Health & WellnessIt’s the time of year for diets, gym membership renewals and for some, delusions of grandeur about a healthier year. The key is to turn that burst of enthusiasm into long-term healthy habits that help employees fall into routines that are here to stay for the long haul.

Healthy employees miss less work, and are more productive, focused and hungrier to move up and improve. So how can we bring good habits to employees that foster healthier, and ultimately stronger, contributors? The answer is simple. Bring the health and wellness initiative into the workplace.

From zumba classes at lunch and yoga happy hours, to health-conscious gift card reward options like CVS/pharmacy and Whole Foods Market for reaching weight loss goals or maintaining those habits, employee health and wellness is a win-win for the entire company.

While employees get healthier, healthcare costs get reduced for both employees and employers. One example of this is at USI insurance. If employees and spouses agreed to annual biometrics screenings, healthcare costs could drop as much as 30%. While some employees can find these screenings invasive, 89% of USI employees enrolled in the program, finding the discount to be worth the tradeoff of the screenings. The impact that the discount has on employees and their family budgets is significant, and they can attribute that financial relief to their employer.

If that’s not enough motivation to keep those new year’s resolutions, then I don’t know what is. For more information on the impact employee health has on your business and it’s staff, check out this article in the Orange County Register.

Creating Specific Employee Health Goals

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

f4429a1a0a658cb0f0b6a1849e15ae8a_SEmployee health programs are still rising at a rapid rate. According to a recent Towers Watson survey 48% of employers are testing employees biometrics as part of an employee health program, compared to only 14% of employers doing the same 4 years ago. Using specific biometric goals like losing a certain amount of weight or lower cholesterol by a certain percentage is a tangible way to lower costs for both employees and employers.

Offering incentives for voluntary participation in programs like this are a great way to help employees reach goals and make long term healthy choices that help your organization and their well-being. Providing even small rewards like gift cards to healthy retailers like CVS/Pharmacy, GNC and Whole Foods Market provide the support and boost employees need to stay the healthy course and meet their goals.

On the flip side, employers’ other option to boost participation in employee health programs is to apply disincentives, or financial penalties on employee premiums for healthcare. While this is permitted, research has shown that providing positive incentives (carrots) rather than penalties (sticks) are more effective in nurturing employees to health rather than threatening change.

Growing Workplace Wellness with Digital Health Tools

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Digital Health Tools Are a Growing Part of Workplace Wellness Programs article, iHealth Beat

Workplace wellness continues to thrive.  Currently more than 90% of employers with at least 200 workers have some type of workplace wellness program in place.  Employers see unhealthy habits, i.e. smoking, poor nutrition, and alcohol consumption, as major contributors to higher health care costs for employers;  21% of the total national health care spending is due to obesity alone.  For employers there is also a cost due to lost productivity, overweight and obese workers miss an estimated 450 million additional days of work each year compared to healthy workers – an estimated $153 billion dollars just in lost productivity!

So let’s go viral. Digital wellness tools allow employers to more efficiently track and support their employees’ progress towards their health and wellness goals.  As more behaviors become monitored, it’s possible to gain a better sense of an employees health fingerprint and influence people’s behavior in real-time.  Wearable devices can track physical activity, calorie intake, and sleep and mobile apps and software that can remind employees to get up and take exercise breaks are piquing employers interests.  Employees typically appreciate these programs, 93% of consumers participating in healthy eating say they or their family were helped, 85% said fitness activity were useful and 83% benefited from stress management programs.

While digital solutions are useful and allow for many features that were not possible in the past, do not rely too heavily on just digital solutions alone.  Digital can be more efficient, but not necessarily better, it really depends on what exactly a company is trying to achieve.  Digital health solutions will continue to grow, and there will be many more innovations seen over the next 5 or so years, which will benefit both the health care system and workplace wellness programs.

Learn more tips for your employee wellness programs at iHealthBeat!

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.

Healthy Employees are Productive Employees

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Employees are in the best shape to work when they are in the best physical shape. Employees with high-risk health conditions like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes average 77% more absences than employees without high-risk health conditions. Healthy employees present more continuity in their job and thus more productivity. Check out this infographic on the impact healthy employees can have on organizational productivity. For more information on the correlation between healthy employees and productivity head over to Employee Benefits news.


Employer Wellness Program: Disease Management vs. Lifestyle Programs

Monday, January 27th, 2014

As wellness programs in the workplace continue to be a popular choice for employers looking to decrease medical costs and increase employee productivity, so do the many moving parts within the program itself. Now that the question of whether or not to have a wellness program has been answered with an overwhelming YES, the focus turns to what exactly the program entails.

Are you trying to encourage employees to eat healthier, get active, or manage stress levels? These entities would fall under lifestyle programs and are being shown to be a more long-term way to save a company money.

For a more “quick cost cuts” option companies are turning to programs that center around disease management. This would involve programs like disease education and encouraging or reminding employers to take medications.

So which should you focus on? Well it’s important that your wellness program is tailored to fit your workforce, offering options to fit individual needs and wants. That, along with the right incentives like gift cards, vacation days or a little in-office competition, is the only surefire way to foster a successful employer wellness program.

This article from The New York Times, Study Raises Questions for Employer Wellness Programs, goes into detail on how savings vary by the types of programs you offer.

The Relationship Between Health Culture & Employee Performance

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

√ Not careful at work.

√  Not working as often.

√  Not concentrating.

√ Less work is completed.

That list is the reality for many companies who have not connected a corporate culture of health with employee performance. A recent study by Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), demonstrates a tie between an organization’s leadership commitment to employee health, a healthy workplace culture and better job performance. The study reveals a statistically significant relationship between health culture and several job performance metrics. “When employers understand that organizational factors influence not only the health of their workers, but also their performance and contribution to the company, they can take steps to improve the lives of their workers and their bottom lines at the same time,” states IBI President Thomas Parry, PhD.

Read on to discover more about employee health, company culture and employee performance from IBI.

Cutting Costs with Employee Wellness Programs

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Employee health should be a top priority for any organization and that’s where a health and wellness program comes into play.

Let’s take diabetes for example. HealthDay News reported that nearly 26 million adults and children in the U.S. have diabetes and another 79 million have prediabetes. And what’s this costing? The rising cost of diabetes in the U.S. has jumped from $174 billion in 2007 to $245 billion in 2012 and 62% of that cost is provided by government insurance groups like Medicare and Medicaid. In many cases taking responsible steps, like keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control, can prevent diabetes problems in the first place.

So how do health and wellness programs come into play? Good question, glad you asked. Prevention is key to controlling this issue. A company’s health and wellness program may ask employees to participate in regular health screenings, hold regular “wellness presentations” to inform employees on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, or it may reward employees for meeting health goals like reaching weight loss targets or lowering blood pressure or cholesterol.

Offering “healthy incentives” in your health and wellness programs brings the whole process full circle. Interested in learning how to include healthy incentives in your corporate health and wellness program?

Learn more, ask questions or check out more great gift card incentive options from GiftCard Partners.

Check out National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse for more ways on how to prevent diabetes problems or keep diabetes under control.

Corporate Health & Wellness Watch

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Perhaps you have heard about the benefits and healthcare insurance savings for companies participating in health and wellness programs. And, perhaps you understand the benefits of incentives (like gift cards) for desired healthful behavior in order to keep company premiums in check. However, if you are not up to date on the above realities; you may not be in line to include health insurance penalties for those participating in UNhealthy behaviors.

What is the next trend for corporate health and wellness programs? It could be falling in the employer’s court and cost the employee more out-of-pocket.

Health and Wellness Employer Gift Card Successes

Monday, October 10th, 2011

You spoke and we listened. We’re gathering and publishing results of our 2011 Gift Card Usage Survey and we’ll be including success stories in each eNews.

Health and Wellness Incentives

Wellness incentives have become good business. They reduce health care costs for employers and increase employee productivity.  To enhance participation, rewards are given to employees for filling out HRA’s (Health Risk Assessments). HRA’s are used to assess the lifestyle risk behaviors of individuals as part of the annual Periodic Health Assessment, work-site wellness program, or other community health activities.  Health and Wellness Programs are measurable; rewards can be given via a points system or for participating in healthy activities like joining a gym, or for achieving healthful milestones like losing weight, decreasing blood pressure or taking daily walks during breaks.

Here are a few ways that our survey respondents are using gift cards to engage, motivate and reward:

  • From a hospital in PA: “Our organization provides gift cards to employees for successfully completing our Wellness initiatives.  By offering the gift cards we have increased our participation from 15% to 39%in the first year.  We also provide gift cards to employees as a token of appreciation for a successful year each year in December.
  • A Blue Cross provider in PA: “By looking to take better care of the employees’ health, they are given credits toward gift card purchases as a reward, like going to see their PCP with regularity, exercising, nutrition counseling, etc.”
  • Medicaid providers and some US states are providing incentives to consumers for keeping up with recommended and annual doctor visits. It has been proven that regular adult and child well visits (on the doctor recommended schedule) helps doctors catch illnesses early, resulting in fewer ER & hospital stays, thereby saving the US government money.
  • A New York blood center gives “Gift cards on a measurable basis to keep our most loyal donors and supporters engaged to positively impact our frequency and retention metrics.