Posts Tagged ‘health and wellness’

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.

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! 

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.

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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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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 TotalWellnessHealth.com). 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.

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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.