Posts Tagged ‘health and wellness incentives’

Wearable Devices in Your Corporate Wellness Program

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Wearable devices are becoming a growing trend in the fitness community and now for employers looking to track their corporate wellness programs. Wearable technology provides a unique opportunity for both employees and corporate wellness program administrators to track participants’ progress in real time. Here are a few ways incorporating these “wearables” into your corporate wellness programs can boost its effectiveness.

  1. Create Team Challenges- Use the real-time data to create fun team challenges. Can the marketing team take more steps in a week than the IT team? Program administrators can track progress and bolster competitiveness within the office. The competitiveness can become loftier wellness goals for all teams involved in the challenge.
  2. Make “Wearables” Part of Company Culture- Providing a wearable fitness tracking device to participants of your corporate wellness initiative has the capacity to boost participation and get employees engaged with the program on a day-to-day and even hour-by-hour basis.
  3. Use Incentives for Participants- Providing nominal incentives, like small denomination gift cards to healthy retailers like Whole Foods Market, GNC and CVS/pharmacy can give employees a boost in a healthy direction. Promoting wellness by example is a productive way to boost participation and level of commitment.

For more ways to promote your corporate wellness program through wearable technology (and vice versa) head over to Entrepreneur.com.

Healthy Employee Culture Drives Participation

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

f4429a1a0a658cb0f0b6a1849e15ae8a_SInitial engagement in employee health and wellness programs doesn’t always drive long term participation like healthy employee cultures. While new employee health and wellness programs often drive short term engagement through the first few months, or maybe even the first few years, creating healthy employee champions and a culture of wellness is what creates long term employee participation.

Providing non-cash rewards as a component to a healthy employee culture is a great way to drive long term participation. One example of this was offering a discount in the employee portion of the health insurance premium which almost doubled employee participation in Herman Miller Co’s employee wellness program; jumping from 40% to 79% year over year for the first 3 years, but seeing a plateau in participation levels in subsequent years. Offering small denomination gift cards to retailers like GNC, Nutrisystem and CVS/Pharmacy are another way to promote a healthy employee culture by assisting employees in forming a healthy lifestyle.

Instead of using typical carrot tactics to get employees to change habits, providing an environment for creating a healthy employee culture will provide longer term results that will have a greater impact on your workforce and healthcare costs.

3 Points in Favor of Employee Wellness Programs

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Employee Wellness ProgramEmployee wellness programs work well for a lot of reasons. While they may not be the most scientifically measurable, metrics-based programs, there’s still a lot left to learn about employee wellness programs? These programs are relatively new in the space of human resources and employee benefits and while we don’t claim to know everything, here’s some great points you may find useful:

  1. Healthy employees take fewer sick days. According to the CDC, a healthy weight man misses 3 days of work a year due to illness, where an obese man misses 5. Does 2 days annually make or break a career? Probably not, but if I were a business owner and I knew that employees at a healthy weight were more consistently attendant at work, I would work to help them achieve their weight goals.
  2. People like wellness programs. Access to exercise, convenient health screenings and support or work-out groups bring people together and are seen as an employee perk. Providing access to and support for the tools employees need to get healthy and maintain an healthy lifestyle are a great way to boost morale. Give the people what they want, because the comparative cost can be high.
  3. Measurable benefits do exist. One meta-analysis of a 42 program set of employee wellness programs revealed that at the onset of the wellness programs the organizations experienced a 25% reduction in absenteeism and health costs as well as a 32% drop in worker’s comp and disability claims. These results help to prove the point, employee wellness programs are here to stay and can make a positive impact on your workforce.

If you still need convincing about why employee wellness programs work (or some more skepticism about what we still don’t know) check out this article from Fast Company.

Building Employee Health into Your Culture

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Do You Have Healthy Rewards at Your Company?Employee health and cost of healthcare are relevant to all businesses, regardless of size. Whether you have 2 employees or 200, keeping healthcare costs in check as more provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect is crucial. Making employe health a part of your organization is a great way to ensure these costs remain manageable.

For some employers even the location of the office is a matter of employee health. For a software company in Cedar Rapids, choosing an office on the third floor of a building helps employees get away from their desks during the day; climbing two flights of stairs to get to the cafe to eat. Building fitness into the day is a way for employers to promote behavior that will help control organization costs. This approach can be more sensitive to employees who are unwilling to have either indirect or direct conversations with their employer about their health. For some employees it will be a topic they are unwilling to broach, and employers have to be sensitive to that population of their staff as well.

Other employers take a more direct approach. A biometric screening found that 56% of the young workforce at a Tax Services firm in Dallas were considered overweight. As a result they took steps to change the lifestyles of their employees, offering cooking lessons, health club memberships and health fairs in the office to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Adding spot rewards, like small denomination gift cards to healthy retailers like CVS/pharmacy, Whole Foods Market or GNC, for reaching a goal like losing weight, or completing a 5k is a great way to support more independent employee efforts.

Use Employee Wellness Programs to Combat Absences

Friday, July 25th, 2014

According to a recent Aon Hewitt survey, most employers do not measure the cost of employee absence in their business. Employee absence and the costs associated can add up to almost 8% of their total payroll in benefits payouts, lost productivity and temporary employee salary. Since most employers see these as a “cost of doing business,” those employers are missing the opportunity to combat the issue head-on.

Employee wellness programs, such as a quarterly weight loss challenge, biometric screenings or a lunchtime walking club can be an easy way to promote wellness in the workplace and avoid employee sick days. Keeping employees focused on their health is, in a way, keeping employees focused on the health of the business and the culture of your organization. Minimizing work stoppage and maintaining continuity are important in maintaining productivity.

When introducing an employee wellness program to a potentially skeptical staff, be sure to communicate the goals and parameters of the program clearly. Adding small rewards like gift cards to healthy retailers like Nutrisystem, GNC and CVS/pharmacy can go a long way in boosting employee participation and bringing co-workers together to focus on employee wellness across the organization. Absences can hurt your business, minimize them by focusing on employee wellness.

Health and Wellness Benefits On the Rise

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

As certain benefit costs shift from employer to employee, there are key benefits that will have a high impact on satisfaction improvements. Health and wellness benefits are expected from employees and they assume that employers are going to cover a significant portion of the costs, regardless of the rising cost of healthcare. Well employers are taking note, 45% are offering HSA’s in 2014, compared to 33% in 2010.

Other benefits like tuition support or a personal car subsidy benefit have been on the decline since 2010, down 13% and 17% respectively. These are benefits less expected by employees and therefore have a lower impact on employee benefit satisfaction. Health and wellness benefits have endured for employees as an expected benefit.

Investing in preventative healthcare checks like blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI measurements for employees can allow employers to maintain health and wellness benefits without exceeding budgets. Implementing employee health and wellness benefit reward programs can also motivate employees towards health and wellness goals by using small spot rewards to encourage employees who have reached health and wellness milestones.

For more information on how to maintain the level of health and wellness benefits your employees expect, check out the latest SHRM Employee benefits report, and this article from Associations Now.

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.

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

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.

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