Invest in Employee Well-Being
Employee wellness is an essential business investment.
BY DEBBY BOYD
As a human resources manager, I have administered benefits at John Roberts for a number of years. In that time, large claims have come across my desk for serious, even fatal, health issues that sadly could have been avoided altogether with simple measures like eating
nutritious meals and seeing a doctor for an annual physical. What's worse, you cannot force someone to change even the unhealthiest of habits.
But while you can't change a person's habits, you can give them the tools and resources to do so.
Starting with a health fair in 1999, our company has done exactly that. We began by offering yearly health risk assessments, complete with confidential, one-on-one results reviews with a medical practitioner. We have since added multiple fitness challenges and wellness
seminars with expert speakers throughout the year. Employees who take part in these events enjoy a $100 per month discount off their premiums, an incentive that has led 95 percent of our employee population to participate.
Metrics prove that our approach to well-being is working. Among the 193 employees who participated in our wellness campaign between 2007 and 2009, 83 out of 121 people who needed to improve their blood pressure in 2007 did so by 2009. In the same time frame, 70 out of 103
people who needed to improve their cholesterol also succeeded.
The health screenings also have caught a handful of cancers in the early stages -- and those individuals have been treated and once again are in good health. Since beginning the wellness campaign, John Roberts estimates it saves more than $100,000 annually, and annual premium
increases also have remained in the single digits.
Work-site wellness not only lowers John Roberts' claims costs, but it also improves our employees' productivity, attendance, confidence, general mood and morale. If you don't have well employees, your customers are not going to get the products and services that they are
Simply put, you cannot put a price on happy, healthy employees. What's healthy for the body is also healthy for the mind, and that helps the bottom line.
Debby Boyd is human resources manager at John Roberts in Minneapolis