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Implementing Workplace Wellness Programs that get Results. September 12 , 2013 Presented by Bev Losey, CLU. Today’s Topics. Why Workplace Wellness – The Issues “How-to” in Workplace Wellness Examples of Workplace Wellness Committee Work Who are the Players

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Implementing Workplace Wellness

Programs that get Results

September 12, 2013

Presented by

Bev Losey, CLU


Today’s Topics

  • Why Workplace Wellness – The Issues
  • “How-to” in Workplace Wellness
  • Examples of Workplace Wellness Committee Work
  • Who are the Players
  • Workplace Wellness integration

Workplace Wellness is “an organized, employer – sponsored program that is designed to support employees (and sometimes, their families) as they adopt and sustain behaviors that reduce health risks, improve quality of life, enhance personal effectiveness, and benefit the organization’s bottom line.”

Harvard Business Review


What factors influence a decision to implement a workplace wellness program?

Source: Zywave2012 Wellness Benefits Survey.


Health Care and Its Costs

  • PwC projects average health care cost increase of 7.5% in 2013: more than three times US inflation and economic growth
  • Obesity costs $1429 per year according to National Health Institute (structural impact)
  • Smoking was next highest cost driver; Responsible for 1 in 5 deaths annually; $193B costs in lost productivity and $96B in healthcare costs per Wellnet/Limeade
  • Stress at work – affects likelihood of heart attack according to University College London
  • Gail Christopher, Ph.d. , September 10, 2012 annual National Benefits Expo – unhealthy weight gain = adipose tissue = higher risk of 37 different chronic conditions
  • Recent Kellogg Foundation study reported:
    • 1) Area of brain tissue that controls stress shrinks with high blood sugar
    • 2) High blood pressure can lead to actual loss of brain tissue
    • Sitting at a desk all day = 1 1/2 packs of cigarettes per Kellogg Foundation
    • Obesity cost calculator from CDC;

Health Care and Its Costs

  • Absenteeism:
  • • Unhealthy workers’ absenteeism cost employers more than $153 billion in lost productivity every year.*
  • • Every day an employee calls in sick, it cost the average employer $341 per missed day.
  • • 38% of all absences are related to health issues.**

* Source: Callup-Healthways Well-Being Index 2011.

** Source: Ann Hewitt – Senior VP of national absence management consulting practice leader, 2013.


Workplace Wellness ROI

  • Sept 15 Case Study – AMSEC; since May 2009, Weight Watchers at Work
  • – 68 lost 2000 pounds and reported more energy, more stamina and reduced meds
  • Recent Texas A&M study reports ROI as high as 6:1
  • American Journal of Health Promotion (AJHP) reports
    • 27% reduction in sick leave absenteeism
    • 26% reduction in health costs
    • 32% decrease in workers compensation and disability claims
    • Chief Medical Officer for Thomson Reuters –says Companies who focus in health have better stock prices, out performed the DOW Jones over five years
    • Compare a Flu shot cost against average ER visit of $1500 (September, per CDC)
    • Chrysler’s “We Got Your Back” program – 100 participants shown muscle relaxation techniques etc., 55% pain free vs. 100 Beta’s only 5% pain free with Physical Therapy
    • Mercer national survey found 2% less cost increases, on average with health emphasis
    • AJHP – reports on results with 20,000 participants 2.45:1 over 3 years
    • Metlife/Hyatt Legal report 43% of employees who did not hire an attorney for help said physical and emotional health negatively affected

Workplace Wellness ROI

The Return on Investment (ROI) is clear. ROI for implementing health improvement programs is an average of $5.50 savings in absenteeism and medical costs.

These eight MODIFIABLEbehaviors cause these 15 conditions which drive 80% of the chronic illness costs:



Coronary artery disease







Heart failure


Chronic kidney disease


Back pain

Modifiable Behaviors


Physical inactivity

Poor diet

Poor standard of care compliance

Insufficient sleep

Lack of health screening

Source: The World Economic forum :

The New Discipline of Workforce Wellness.

Enhancing Corporate Performance by Tackling

Chronic Disease” 2010.


Workplace Wellness ROI


  • Not Immediate – Year 1: Diagnosis and Treatment Plan
  • Year 2: Awareness and Change
  • Year 3: Improving Outcomes
  • Need a healthy dose of reality and set the expectation that there is no instant cure
  • Avoid Common Wellness Program Pitfalls:
    • Checking the box
    • Using a “Scarlet Letter” strategy
    • Taking a “Robots R Us” approach
    • Trying for a quick fix
    • Doing nothing

Workplace Wellness Roadmap

7 Best Practices for Building a Wellness Program

Get senior level support. Successful wellness programs start at the top.

Form a wellness team. Creating a culture of health takes passionate leadership from all levels of the organization.

Use data to drive wellness initiatives. Employers often struggle with what wellness initiatives have to offer. A survey, assessment checklist, and health risk appraisal approach guides employers where to focus your efforts.

No program is successful without a plan. Develop an annual workplace wellness operating plan, starting with a vision statement.

Choose appropriate health initiatives. Collecting data will help you decide what wellness initiatives to promote. Note a variety of lower cost resources and activities exist.

Create a corporate environment that supports wellness. Support a culture of health, from top to bottom and bottom to top.

Evaluate the outcome of workplace wellness initiatives. Determine what works and what doesn’t so you can plan for the next year.



Workplace Wellness


  • General Resources
  • Wellness Vendors
  • Wellness Apps

Workplace Wellness


  • Instant Recess; Tool kit at
  • Nap pods – is nap time next?
  • – monitors posture for back pain
  • – to navigate the healthcare system
  • – San Francisco pilot
  • – nutrition team challenges
  • – health game integrated with Facebook
  • – movement tracking device
  • Instant Recess

Who are the Players?

  • C- Suite; Senior leadership
  • Wellness committee/team; all employees
  • Legal considerations
  • Community
  • Insurers
  • Broker/Consultant
  • Wellness vendors

Gaining Senior Leadership


  • A commitment from the top is critical to the success of any wellness initiative
  • Management must understand the benefits of the program for both the employees and the organization
  • Be willing to commit sufficient funding and/or time
  • Link health promotion to business goals, values and strategic priorities
  • Emphasize improved employee productivity and health care cost savings
  • Management’s attitude towards wellness falls into one of five categories:
  • Active Opposition
  • Quiet Opposition
  • Neutral
  • Quiet Supporters
  • Wellness Champions

Developing a Wellness


  • Formally appoint team members and a leader
  • Promote the wellness team within the organization
  • Include employees from all levels and areas of the organization
  • If multi-location, name a Wellness Champion per worksite
  • Meet on a regular schedule with a formal agenda
  • Communication is the key

Find Your Wellness


Breathing Energy into

a Wellness Team

  • Recruit the CEO or another influential executive to sit in on a wellness meeting
  • A team name, vision and tagline provide a sense of identity and motivation
  • Continually recruit new team members who are natural leaders
  • Share the stories of employees who have experienced successful individual results
  • Assess the individual strengths of each team member
  • Set goals for the team to achieve
  • Publishing a team newsletter creates a sense of pride and outlines the efforts of the wellness initiatives
  • Take the team on a retreat as a way of regrouping and recharging their energy
  • Continue wellness education by bringing in outside resources

Legal Considerations

  • ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act; safe harbor
  • HIPAA – 20% of total premium as margin; no PHI to group
  • DOL – nondiscrimination regulations
  • EPL – Employment Practices Liability; not for hiring, retention, performance evaluations, and promotions
  • ERISA and COBRA – Stand alone program to be “valued” for COBRA
  • PPACA – 30% in 2014; 50% for tobacco;small business grants
  • PPACA – Final regulations issued May 29, 2013
    • Participating programs
    • Activities only programs
    • Outcome-based programs
      • Uniform availability and reasonable alternatives

Community Events and Learning Opportunities

  • Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference (March 24 - 28, 2014)
  • SHRM: Health Benefit Strategy; leveraging Data, Design and Wellness – June 22 – 25, 2014
  • Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference; September 15 – 18, 2013
  • Wellness in the Workplace conference; September 11, 2013
  • IF Annual Employee Conference; October 20 – 23, 2013
  • Health 2.0; September 29, 2013
  • Heart & Stroke Walks; October 5, 2013 (South Sound) and October 26, 2013 (Puget Sound)
  • Be Well Washington; A Family Health Week Fair; October 12, 2013
  • Healthy Worksite Summit; Washington State Department of Health (Lynnwood);
  • October 2 – 3, 2013
  • National Eating Healthy Day; November 6, 2013
  • Local Public Health Departments
  • Local Chapters: AHA, ACS, ADA, COPD, SHRM
  • Health Fair resources: nutritionists, YMCA, insurers, massage therapists, dentists; flu shots
  • (RiteAid - $29.99)
  • Health Care System materials;
  • Broker/Consultant materials and guidance

Workplace Integration

  • Activities committee
  • Safety committee
  • Community Involvement committee
  • Communications
  • Insurance/Benefits plans

Insurance/Benefits Plans

  • Health Plans
    • Primary Care Carveout
    • Onsite/Near site clinics
    • CDHP’s
    • VBID/VBBD’s
    • Preventive Care
    • Flu shots
    • Health Risk Assessment/Biometrics
    • Fitness Networks/Discounts
  • Dental plan
  • Employee Assistance Plan
  • 401(K), retirement plan; life plan
  • STD/Sick leave/PTO/LTD plan




  • Wellness dollars
  • Monetary rewards
  • Contests
  • Achievement awards
  • Public recognition
  • Food
  • Time Off
  • Discounts
  • Premium Reductions
  • Health risk assessments
  • Participation (variations)
  • Individual achievements
  • Smoking cessation classes
  • Biometric accomplishments
  • Multiple behaviors
  • Invite family members

Trend: Looking to Incent Outcomes/Results versus Behaviors.


Ten Motivational Styles

Find the leadership mode that will

best inspire each employee:

  • Competitor
  • Active learner
  • Achiever
  • Purpose seeker
  • Structure seeker
  • Goal setter
  • Fun follower
  • Social connector
  • Helper/Giver
  • Reward earner

Source: The Healthiest You Program

Remember to appeal to a variety of generations, ethnicities,

Socioeconomic and education levels, and gender; i.e. customization works.


Sample Communications Campaigns

  • Employee Retirement Campaign
  • Family Health Series Campaign
  • Health Costs Employee Education Campaign
  • National Health Observance Calendar Campaign
  • Live Well, Work Well Monthly Newsletter Campaign
  • Prevention Newsletter Campaign
  • Seasonal Campaign
  • Wellness Program Campaign
  • Communication “Do’s”
  • Make it entertaining and create some buzz
  • Appeal to what’s important to employees
  • Make it easy
  • Make me feel part of a community
  • Branded with an annual theme

Customizing to the Individual

  • Bev as Example:
  • B & B Incentive for HRA completion (prior year for biometrics)
  • BCBS of Florida – My Personal Wellness Portal
  • B & B Employee Assistance Plan
  • B-Fit! Wellness Activities
  • National Healthy Worksite Program for B & B – Tacoma
  • South Beach Daily Diet Newsletter
  •; Word for the Day
  • Fit Bit – Weekly Reports
  • YMCA Membership
  • Farmers Market – fresh produce weekly
  • Island walks
  • Gardening
  • Reading
  • Bubble baths
  • Joy Journal
  • Massages (when I can get ‘em)