cultures. Although there are some cross-over health issues that each site has in common, there are also some that are unique to each site.
When thinking about program design, your wellness strategy has to be flexible enough to meet the needs of specific populations.
"We worked closely with their Wellness team to design a program around specific areas where we had high-cost claims."
The key to success with wellness-related programs is that they have to be meaningful and relevant to the employees in order for them
to be motivated to participate. That's why we offer incentives throughout the year, and we are constantly promoting the program through emails,
posters, and word of mouth.
And, as a team, we are always coming up with new ways to engage our employees. For example, we brought a chef and nutritionist
to our Waltham facility last summer to hold a "healthy grilling" demonstration that focused on portion control, how to create
a healthy barbecue sauce, grilling chicken and fish as an alternative to cheeseburgers,
and reducing salt by using herbs to create more flavor. The session was a hit, with standing room only.
Jim Frates: Investments need to have a return. That return can take many forms, but it should be measurable.
Unhealthy employees are less productive and more likely to be absent, and they are also more expensive in the long run when there's a major illness.
That said, we know that the average tenure of our employees will be five to eight years, so we also need some short-term benefit.
Wellness programs that help employees stay healthy, exercise, eat better, and live a balanced life can create
a more motivated and productive workforce. And I believe there's a benefit in having your employees see that the company
values their wellbeing. Management can create an expectation that wellness will be part of
the culture by offering healthy choices in the cafeteria and at company events, and by making visible investments in programs that support employee health.