Wellness Programs on a Budget.


Posted by Corporate Wellness | Posted in Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs | Posted on 22-02-2011

Free Health Promotion Programs and Affordable Health Management Alternatives

Begin a free health promotion program or run a successful health promotion program in the office for little or no cost to your corporation.  The benefits of corporate health promotion at work are many.

The articles on wellness program have generated a selection of questions, mostly from wellness providers but also from companies attempting to begin their own wellness programs. There are a number of things to do to start a successful wellness program at work.

Suggestions for Beginning a Free or Inexpensive Health Promotion Program

Before beginning a low cost or free wellness program for your organization, learn more about what workers want. Survey workers to learn more about their wellness concerns.

Keep the survey confidential to protect employees’ identities. Normally the most popular company wellness topics are smoking cessation, weight reduction concerns and heart and cholesterol health.

Look for Corporate Health Promotion Freebies

Find out who will come in for free to talk to staff members and explore partnerships with outside agents related to employee wellness.

For  instance, contact a local branch of a well-known losing weight corporation and ask if someone can come in and speak to employees. Look for agencies that are willing to come in and talk about topics related to wellness at no cost to employees, in exchange for something from you.

Find Corporate Wellness Partnerships

Working with a weight loss company to set up a speaking engagement for personnel is the perfect opportunity to explore a potential wellness partnership.

The weight loss business may say that if 10 personnel join the wellness program, they will hold weekly meetings at business headquarters for the people  who joined.  The weight loss group also may offer business personnel a discount if a few people  join the wellness program.

Nonprofits an Untapped Health Management Resource

There are also plenty of nonprofit agencies who’d be thrilled to visit a business to discuss health management. But it is up to you to offer them something in return.

For  instance, if the MS Society came in and talked about the signs of MS, the organization could offer to organize an MS walk (in keeping with organization health management goals, right?), or an auction with worker and company-donated items where the proceeds go to MS.

The individuals  at the nonprofit agencies would be glad to open a dialog with your company and to talk about what they would want in return for a speaking engagement. In many cases, they won’t need anything at all for a first meeting.

Collecting Data and Reviewing Wellness Program Results

Gathering data and assessing  results of a wellness program may be tricky because of HIPPA laws. Nevertheless, if at least 10 staff joined the losing weight program, or 20 people  participate daily in the all-new “Let’s Walk a Mile at Lunch” program, that sort of progress can speak strongly to senior-level management.

And, corporation successes will potentially give management more incentive to provide money for more health management and health promotion programs in the future.

Wellness Programs.


Posted by Corporate Wellness | Posted in Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs | Posted on 21-02-2011

Small corporation health promotion programs are catching on. A well-designed health promotion program can increase productivity, increase morale and vitality, reduce stress, reduce rates of absenteeism, and control avoidable healthcare costs within an organization.

The beauty of it’s that you’re simply helping personnel to make smart options so the costs of beginning a wellness program are minimal compared to the benefits.

Employee health is a major concern for small organization owners. In a small shop, even a few sick staff members can disrupt the flow of the workplace and bring the operation to a standstill.

Instead of sitting back and hoping for the best, some owners are taking the matter of employee health into their own hands by starting employee wellness programs. Here is how they work . . .

Overview of worker health promotion programs

Employee health promotion programs are programs initiated by the business to improve the overall health of their labor force and to help individual workforce overcome specific health-related hurdles.

These health promotion programs could be offered in a variety of formats –  In mandatory staff training sessions, as voluntary seminars, or through a third-party provider offering a wide-range of employee assistance programs.

In every case, nevertheless, the employer foots the bill for the health promotion programs because an investment in worker health is a company investment that directly impacts the organization’s bottom line.

Why offer employee health promotion programs?

Apart from the obvious concern for the health of your personnel, there are a few other reasons why employee health promotion programs make sense for small companies. Right off the bat, your corporation will benefit from the reduced level of absenteeism that goes hand in hand with a healthy workforce.

Wellness programs will also reduce the number of injuries that occur in the workplace, not just from accidents, but also from repetitive motion and other recurring sources.

Since even a minor blip in employee attendance can have a large impact on a small corporation, a more reliable workforce will inevitably translate into a smoother work cycle and a more robust bottom line.

Wellness Program Features

Health promotion programs can cover a broad range of health-related topics. Based on your employees’ needs, it’s entirely up to you to determine the kind of health promotion programming you want to offer.

Nevertheless, most employee health promotion programs offer some at least some health promotion programs in the following areas -

o  Nutrition. Diet can significantly impact an worker’s ability to do their job effectively. Nutritional programs educate workforce about food options and equip them to make healthy dietary options.

o  Fitness. In addition to diet, exercise is an important factor in a healthful lifestyle. Wellness programs frequently provide personnel with opportunities to incorporate exercise into their daily lives.

o  Smoking Cessation. Statistics prove that smokers tend to fall ill more frequently than their non-use of tobacco peers. Since sick employees disrupt the workplace, use of tobacco cessation programs are a no-brainer for both corporations and employees.

o  Physiological Testing. Many companys offer physiological as a regular part of their wellness programs. Cholesterol tests, blood pressure screenings, and other simple exams can provide early warning signs for more serious problems.

o  Stress Management. Stress itself takes a toll on staff members. Nevertheless, stress is also linked to other health problems like depression, cardiovascular illness, diabetes, and obesity. Wellness programs that help staff members deal with stress improve not only the psychological health of your staff members, but their physical health as well.

Corporate Wellness.


Posted by Corporate Wellness | Posted in Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs | Posted on 20-02-2011

Start a Wellness Program for Your Employees Today

The benefits to starting a health promotion program are many.

A few employee wellness tips to get personnel started on the path to a healthier lifestyle -

1. Look around, and determine when personnel lead a healthy lifestyle before starting an employee wellness program.

o  Exactly how many employees dash outside during lunchtime for a smoke break?

o  Would a tobacco use cessation program help?

o  Precisely how often do the junk food-laden vending machines have to be replenished?

o  Is anybody exercising or taking benefit of local walking trails as part of their healthful living goals?

The answers to these questions will give businesses a better idea of the worker wellness program that’s right for them.

2. Survey employees to determine their healthful lifestyle habits.

o  Are they exercising regularly?

o  Eat three square meals a day?

Have regular physicals? Really? Then what planet are they on?

Because we’d love to visit! A health promotion program benefits most businesses because workers do not have the time or energy to stay on top of wellness concerns at work or when they leave the office to go home.

3. Give health promotion programs a big kick-off with a healthy living “fair.” Provide employees free flu shots, blood pressure (BP) checks, cholesterol screenings, body/fat ratio assessments, use of tobacco cessation programs and free mammograms- and contact the local hospital, because there’s plenty more where this came from.

Businesses keep their personnel hopping during the week. Give personnel a chance to amp up their healthy lifestyle on the company dime. A wellness program is an added benefit that personnel get for working for the company!

4. Incent to live- offer cash for workforce to lose weight, commit to a use of tobacco cessation program and normally enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

Make certain to encourage humankind’s innate competitive nature by offering prizes for wellness worker “winners.” And, encourage a healthier lifestyle by sponsoring staff who want to enter a local 5K for charity race, run a marathon or play a sport.

Health Promotion Program Facts.


Posted by Corporate Wellness | Posted in Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs | Posted on 19-02-2011

Wellness Program Introduction

The last ten years has brought major changes in company attitudes toward wellness programs. Interest in self-help and self-care programs has increased as growth in healthcare costs have encroached substantially into profits.

Changes in the organizational structures of healthcare facilities, specifically the growth of the for-profit healthcare sector, and the need to contain costs are changing the ways in which purchasers of healthcare plans are viewing their own efforts toward provision of worksite healthcare programs and facilities.

Projections for the next decade indicate that health promotion programs will continue to become important factors in the provision of healthcare, including avoidance activities, for both government and private industry.

In companies with existing health promotion programs, administrative rationale for sponsoring these activities ranged from bettering worker health (28%) to bettering worker morale (9.7%).

Programs include interventions associated with safety, health risk assessment, use of tobacco cessation, blood pressure (BP) control, nutrition programs and stress management. Benefits cited range from improved health and productivity to reducing healthcare costs.

Demographics of the United States  Workforce

o  110 million American Citizens were in the civilian labor force in 1981; by the year 2000 the civilian labor force is expected to be nearly 140 million.

o  44 percent of the 1984 labor force was female; 10 percent was Black.

o  The median age of the workforce is 32 years and is expected to raise to 32 years by 2030.

o  57.9% of all workers work in organizations with between 2 and 500 employees; 45% work in organizations with fewer than 100 workers.  An additional 7.5 million Americans are self-employed and 3 million are farmers.

o  18 percent of all wage and salaried staff members in 1985 were union members.            

o  45% of all personnel are employed in offices.            

Prevalence of Corporate Health Promotion Activities

Based on a 1985 survey, almost 66 percent of worksites with 50 or more employees had employee wellness activities in 1985.  The frequency of worksite-based activities by selected categories in 1985 was -

Health Promotion Program Activities

Smoking Control          35.60%

HRA    29.50%

Back Care             28.60%

Stress Management       26.60%

Exercise             22.10%

Off the Job Accidents    19.80%

Nutrition             16.80%

Blood Pressure (BP) Control    16.50%

Weight Control          14.70%

Worksite size is the strongest indicator of wellness program prevalence.

Most staff believe the benefits of their company health promotion activities outweigh the costs, even though few formal investigations exist.

The most frequently cited reason for beginning wellness programs and perceived benefit from programs is improved employee health.

At most workplaces with activities (85.4%), all employees are eligible to participate. 30% of workplaces with activities offer them to employer dependents, and an equal% offer them to retirees.

When workplaces seek outside wellness program assistance, they turn to voluntary, not-for-profit corporations (57.1%), private for-profit providers-consultants (50%), local hospitals (44%), and insurance corporations (43%).

Smoking Cessation Programs

Tobacco use related medical problems cost U.S. businesses $26 billion annually in lost productivity and $7 to $8 billion in use of tobacco-related health care costs.

Staff Members who smoke are 50 percent more likely to be hospitalized than nonsmokers, have 2 times as many job-related accidents as nonsmokers and have absenteeism rates approximately 50 percent higher than nonsmokers.

Individuals  who smoked an typical of one or more packs of cigarettes per day had 118 percent higher health costs than nonsmokers.

76 percent of current smokers and 80 percent of former smokers and nonsmokers feel that corporations should restrict use of tobacco to certain areas.

In 1985, 65% of smokers, 85% of nonsmokers and 78% of former smokers, felt that smokers should refrain from tobacco use in the presence of nonsmokers.

In 1986, 17 states had laws regulating smoking in offices or worksites either in government-controlled offices or offices of private personnel.

Examples of smoking cessation intervention program used by businesses include -

o  offering nonsmokers a discount of health and life insurance;

o  compensating full or partial fees for smoking cessation programs;

o  providing cessation programs on business or shared time;

o  offering cash payments to quitters after 6 of 12 smoke-free months;

o  participating in national quit smoking days; and

o  Adopting a smoke free business policy and establishing deadlines for implementing the policy.

Fitness Programs

An active 55-year-old man can lead as vigorous a lifestyle as a sedentary 35-year-old.

Differences in work-related activity has been shown to yield a two- to three-fold difference in cardiovascular deaths between active staff and their more sedentary counterparts.

In addition to bettering strength, balance, and flexibility, exercise plans could reduce  the probability of back injuries among certain occupational groups.

93 million workdays in the USA are lost yearly as the result of back problems.

Research findings support the notion that workplace exercise programs improve fitness and help reduce other health risks, although results related to improved productivity are weak as a result of lack of methods for accurately measuring productivity.

A very small proportion of workplaces have on-site fitness facilities.

The majority of staff members sponsored fitness programs involve skills training such as aerobic dance, low impact aerobics, weight training, preand post-natal exercise classes, and walking/jogging groups.

Some companies subsidize staff member participation in community “Ys,” health clubs or other community programs when no on-site facilities are available.

Workplace physical fitness programs can reduce costs to corporations by decreasing worker health care claims and expenditures.

Individuals  whose weekly exercise was equivalent to climbing less than five flights of stairs or walking less than a half mile, spent 114% more on health claims than those who ascended at least 15 flights of stairs or walked 1 1/2 miles weekly.

Health care costs for obese people  are roughly 11% higher than those for thin people .

Nutrition and Weight Control

One-third of the United States  population is obese to the extent of reducing their life expectancy.

Improvements in eating habits may reduce  the risk of serious medical problems like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and is instrumental in the control of non-insulin-dependent diabetes.

The workplace offers several advantages for nutrition education; support and influence of coworkers and management, availability of a daily eating situation, and opportunities for follow-up and monitoring.

Worksite nutrition programs may be grouped in 6 wide categories -

o  cafeteria programs;

o  multi-component programs;

o  weight control programs;

o  cholesterol reduction programs;

o  programs for pregnant and lactating women; and

o  other nutrition education topics.

Men are less likely to take part in weight-loss programs than are female staff members.

Stress Management

Estimates suggest that 50 percent to 80 percent of physician visits could be attributed to psychosomatic or stress-related origins.

Corporation compensates many of the costs related to worker stress, both directly in the form of health care costs and in lower productivity.

Job factors which are associated with stress include -

o  not allowing workforce to take part in decisions about the work process;

o  positions which require more or less skill than the employee has;

o  changes in work demands;

o  lack of clarity about expectations and standards; and

o  conflict with peers or supervisors.

Most worksite stress management programs are implemented thus of requests from workforce.

Stress management programs focus on three kinds of skills –  relaxation skills, coping skills, and interpersonal skills.

Workplace stress management programs are often delivered in one of three formats -

o  seminars conducted by trained specialists;

o  self-learning tools; and

o  personal teaching to assist with self-assessment, planning for changes, learning new skills and responding to life crises.

The two major techniques used in worksite stress management programs are -

o  Teaching people  to reduce the negative physical effects of stress; and

o  Teaching individuals  to recognize and control sources of stress at work and in personal life.

Seat Belt Usage

Motor automobile accidents are the largest single cause of lost work time and on-the-job fatalities of USA company.

Motor car accidents account for 27% of all work-related deaths and 45 million days of lost work yearly.

Greater than 36 percent of the 11,300 accidental work deaths in 1983 involved automobiles.

Workers who routinely fail to use seat belts may spend up to 54% more days in the hospital.

Traffic accidents caused about 3 times as many days of restricted activity as any other kind of disability.

Motor automobile crashes cost $15.2 billion in lost productivity, 88% of which is attributed to losses from workforce activities and future earnings.

In corporate establishings where seatbelt policies, requiring use of belts by anybody riding in a business automobile or using a private automobile on business business, have been enforced, 60% to 90% use has been reported.

Incentive programs, accompanied by education and use requirement restrictions have resulted in 40 percent to 70 percent initial usage rates.

Factors influencing the sources of workplace seatbelt programs include -

o  Active commitment by management;

o  obviously defined and well enforced policy of required belt use on the job;

o  positive incentives; and

o  ongoing education and training programs.

Case Studies of Health Promotion Programs

Based on an extensive evaluation of its extensive staff member wellness program, LIVE FOR LIFE, Johnson and Johnson reported the break-even point for the program occurs in year 3 and by year 5 they have a net advantage of $316 per staff member. Their year 9 projected benefit is $677 per staff member.

Workers at four Johnson and Johnson companies who were exposed to the wellness program increased their daily energy expenditure in vigorous activity by 104% compared to an increase of 33% among staff at companies that were offered only an annual medical screen.

Participants in the United Methodist Publishing House’s health promotion program submitted more claims (1.14 per participating worker and .82 for the control in 1984, 1.44 and 1.3 respectively in 1985), but the average cost per claim was less for participants ($316 for participants and $567 for control, in 1984, $262 and $602 respectively in 1985, $270 and $566 respectively in the first four months of 1986).

The United Methodist Publishing House attributes some of the lower than projected use in healthcare costs for 1985 ($902,116 projected with actual costs $142,884) to the wellness program even though the results aren’t conclusive.

In 1985, the Adolph Coors Corporation conducted a telephone interview of a random sample of its 10,000 workers to determine changes in health practices since the introduction of an staff member health promotion program 4 years earlier.

The sample of 495 staff members was stratified to match the organization profile respecting age, sex and job description.

The survey announced that 65% of respondents began exercising in the last 4 years, 37% had improved their diets, 20% were regular users of the wellness center, 9% had stopped tobacco use as the result of the organization’s tobacco use cessation program and regular participants of the wellness center miss an typical of 1.96 workdays annually because of disease or injury compared to 3.08 days for non-participating workforce.

The Coors Corporation also achieved a cost savings from a cardiac rehabilitation program that was implemented in 1981. In 1980 employees were out of work 7.2 months after a heart attack or bypass operation.

In 1984, cardiac patients were out an average 1.9 months saving $152,000 in lost work time and in 1985 cardiac patients missed an average of 2.6 months, saving $125,000 that year.

Wellness Programs.


Posted by Corporate Wellness | Posted in Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs | Posted on 18-02-2011

Corporate Fitness Programs Improve Employee Wellness

Instituting a wellness program improves the health of staff, reduces worker absenteeism and saves the business money, too. Learn more about beginning an worker wellness program in the office.

Benefits of Wellness Programs

o  A company investment of $100-$150 per worker yearly to participate in an worker health promotion program can save organizations $300 to $450 for each worker every year, according to Ron Goetzel, Director, Cornell Univ. Institute for Health and Productivity Studies.

The savings can take several years to actualize, says Goetzel, and are seen in reduced health expenditures.

o  The Wellness Councils of America reported a $24 return for every $1 spent on a corporation wellness program for small companies.

o  According to a 2005 survey by the Art of Wellness, organizations who instituted staff member health promotion programs realized a 30 percent reduction in medical and absenteeism costs in less than four years.

A successful health promotion program begins with company leaders. Corporation owners should lead by example, taking part in their organization’s employee exercise program and working closely with a wellness coach.

Corporation leaders should be certain staff members are well aware of their wellness efforts, posting weight loss results or use of tobacco cessation results on corporation intranet or bulletin boards for everyone to see.

Worker Health Promotion Programs that Really Work

o  Be certain to encourage workforce to kick begin their own health promotion programs by visiting their doctor. A complete physical should include information about blood sugar, cholesterol levels and general health.

o  Target specific health-related concerns in a employee exercise initiative. Information about how to fight obesity, tobacco use, alcoholism and drug abuse should be at the forefront of an worker wellness program, along with related conditions.

o  Hire a wellness coach to instruct personnel on how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

o  Reward personnel for participating in corporation wellness programs. Let personnel accrue wellness points that they can redeem for prizes.

Make the prizes healthy, too- a free massage, private training session with the corporation’s wellness coach or health food gift certificate encourages even healthier lifestyle options.

o  Acknowledge worker health promotion leaders in organization newsletters, in posted bulletins and on the organization intranet.

Corporation Wellness Programs Yield Big Results

For business owners who want to raise staff member participation in a business health promotion program, consider Johnson and Johnson’s approach.

Faced with only 26 percent of personnel participating in their employee wellness program, Johnson and Johnson offered personnel a $500 discount on medical insurance costs if they completed a health risk profile.

The number of personnel participating in the Johnson and Johnson corporate fitness program jumped after they offered the incentive — to more than 93%.

Ron Goetzel encourages those looking to pitch a staff exercise program to company leaders to use basic facts about the advantages of employee wellness programs as part of their argument.

Keep it simple, and share results from other company’s worker wellness program success stories.

Designing a Health Promotion Program.


Posted by Corporate Wellness | Posted in Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs | Posted on 17-02-2011

Five reasons to have a wellness program

1   The U.S. spends more dollars on healthcare than any other nation yet we are not the world’s healthiest

o  Largely sedentary   

o  Use of tobacco is still popular   

o  Stress is at epidemic levels (WHO)   

o  Alcohol continues to take its toll on Americans   

2   Much of the illness in the United States is preventable

o  Tobacco and alcohol are leading causes of death   

o  As much as 70 percent of the cost of health care is driven by avoidable illness   

3   Health Care costs continue to rise

o  Healthcare premiums continue to rise and to be passed on to the employee   

o  Health Care cost are usually the number one benefit cost to most companys    

4   The workplace is an ideal establishing to address health and well being

o  Most American Citizens work   

o  Poor health habits take a toll on American business   

o  Corporations have a vested interest in health related issues.   

5   Research validates that health promotion programs can improve health, save money, and even produce a Return On Investment (ROI).

o  Aldana,S.G. (1998). Financial impact of corporate health promotion and methodological quality of the evidence.  The Art of Wellness. Vol 2, Number 1.   

o  Wilson, M.G. (1996). A extensive review of the effects of employee wellness on health related outcomes –  an update.  The American Journal of wellness. Vol 10, Number 6.   

o  Wilson, M.G. (1996). A comprehensive review of the effects of corporate health promotion on health related outcomes –  an update.  The American Journal of wellness. Vol 11, Number 2.   

o  Chapman, L.S. Proof Positive –  an analysis of the cost-effectiveness of corporate health promotion. 3rd ed. Seattle –  Summex Company, 1996.   

o  Pelletier, K.R. A review of the health and cost-effective outcomes studies of comprehensive wellness and illness avoidance programs at the worksite –  1993-1995 Update.  The American Journal of Health and Promotion. Vol. 10, Number 5.   

Key Components of a Wellness Program

Physical Wellness – Focuses on the development, maintenance, or betterment of one’s fitness

Sample Physical Wellness Programs / Workshops

o  Annual medical screening

o  Regular physical activity

o  Good safety habits

Emotional Wellness – Focuses on all aspects of mental fitness

Sample Emotional Health Promotion Programs / Seminars

o  Stress management workshops

o  Dealing with aging

o  Addictive behaviors

o  Parenting

Financial Wellness – Focuses on improving the quality of life of staff by assisting families and individuals in becoming financially stable

Sample Financial Health Promotion Programs / Workshops

o  Financial management

o  Savings and Investing

o  Credit and Purchasing

o  Insurance and Estate Planning

Spiritual Wellness – Focuses on promoting a healthy inner self

Sample Spiritual Health Promotion Programs / Seminars

o  Be certain to encourage daily devotional readings

o  Give regular service opportunities

o  Give a daily/weekly/monthly chapel (meditation) time during work hours

Nutritional Wellness – Will meet the needs of the personnel through group and individual nutritional services

Sample Nutritional Health Promotion Programs / Seminars

o  Individual nutritional Assessment

o  Individual and group counseling

o  Educational classes

o  Weight loss health promotion programs

Wellness Program Return on Investment.


Posted by Corporate Wellness | Posted in Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs | Posted on 16-02-2011

A lot of employers, as part of their efforts to contain rising health care costs, are starting wellness programs variously described as wellness, lifestyle programs, health and productivity management, population health management and, simply, wellness programs.

The purpose of this article is to consider whether such health promotion programs improve health. When so, do they in turn reduce utilization of healthcare services and reduce healthcare expenditures?

The popular media have done much to promote the theory of corporate wellness. Last year, In Business –  Madison1 magazine printed a story accompanied by a table reporting an impressive range of Return On Investment (ROI) -

Return on Investment (Per dollar ROI for lifestyle programs)

o  Coors $6.15

o  Kennecott $5.78

o  Equitable Life $5.52

o  Citibank $4.56

o  General Mills $3.90

o  Travelers $3.40

o  Motorola $3.15

o  PepsiCo $3.00

o  Unum Life $1.81

Source –  2004 T.E. Brennan Business, as reported

Would these Return On Investments stand up to rigorous empirical analysis of the data? What factors produce such disparate returns among these wellness programs? and does the published literature, subject to colleague review of scientific methods, support the Return On Investments stated here?

Health and Productivity Management

Illness and injury associated with an unhealthful lifestyle or modifiable risk factors is reported to account for at least 25% of employee health care expenditures.

The most significant of these risk factors are stress, tobacco use, overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol use, and poor nutritional habits.

Over the past two decades, a variety of groups at the local, state, and national levels have promoted the theory that health risk reduction and care management programs can improve worker health, and that worksite health education, health risk management, and benefit counseling should complement standard health insurance benefits.

The intensity of wellness programs range from bulletin board, brochure or newsletter information to on-site fitness facilities, health risk reduction classes, and personal lifestyle change coaching.

Wellness programs today often include a health risk assessment  to evaluate each staff member’s modifiable risk factors of illness. Program coordinators then target interventions to those that are at increased risk through personal communications and individual follow-up.

Robust health promotion programs might include classes on health risk reduction and job safety, fitness and exercise activities, health club memberships, and reductions in co-payments or premiums for personnel who adhere to advised medical screening guidelines.

Along with this, some businesss are restructuring health benefits and encouraging employees’ cost-sensitivity when accessing healthcare.5 These changes are intended to reduce employees’ need for and utilization of healthcare, yielding reduced group medical care costs.

Demonstrated reductions in healthcare expenditures should then provide businesss with a powerful bargaining chip in negotiating lower health insurance premiums during future terms.

Evidence basis –  A range of Return On Investment (ROI) estimates

The empirical research has produced results as varied as the well-liked media on ROI. Nevertheless, evidence continues to grow that well-designed and well-resourced wellness and disease prevention programs provide multi-faceted payback on investment.

Peer-reviewed evaluations and meta analyses show that Return On Investment (ROI) is achieved through improved employee health, decreased benefit expense, and enhanced productivity.

o  Goetzel and coworkers, in their meta-analysis of two dozen articles summarizing economic investigations of health and productivity management programs, found an typical return of $3.14 per $1 invested in traditional health promotion programs.  The Return On Investment (ROI) estimates for the individual health promotion programs ranged from $1.49 to $13.7,

o  Aldana reviewed 72 articles and concluded that health promotion programs achieve an average ROI of $3.48 when considering healthcare costs alone, $5.82 per $1 when examining absenteeism, and $4.30 when both outcomes are considered.

o  Ozminkowski and collagues conducted a 38 month case study of 23,000 participants in Citibank, N.A.’s health promotion program and stated that within a 2 year period, Citibank realized a Return On Investment between $4.56 and $4.73.10

Follow-up studies found improvements in the risk profiles of participants, with the high-risk group improving more than the “usual care” group1 then of more intensive wellness programming.

o  Chapman’s 2004 meta-evaluation of 42 studies, ranking overall validity of the studies, reports cost-benefit ratios from $2.05-$4.64.

In addition to immediately quantifiable cost reductions, scientists have announced a variety of spin-off benefits –  greater productivity, intellectual capacity, and reductions in disability12 and absenteeism.9,13,14,15

Such wellness programs may also have positive effects on worker perceptions of the business and worker morale, even among nonparticipants.  These outcomes go beyond savings in direct health care costs to provide non-health related Return On Investment.

Tailoring health promotion program to maximize Return On Investment (ROI) Health promotion programs aim to reduce the health risks of staff members at high risk while maintaining the health status of those at low risk.

A variety of disease management interventions are available to fit the specific risk profiles of various workplaces. Insurers and businesses now seek to calibrate their interventions in order to achieve optimal risk reduction and costeffectiveness.

In 2001, University of Michigan researchers reported on stable trends in healthcare costs for over 2 million current and former employees in an 18 year data set.

The mean cost increase per risk factor gained ($350) was found to be more than double the mean cost decrease per eliminated risk factor ($150).

In other words, increases in costs when groups of staff moved from low risk to high risk were much greater than the decreases in costs when groups moved from high risk to low risk. Their conclusion –  Programs designed to keep healthful people healthful will likely provide the greatest return on investment.

On the contrary, Pelletier’s meta-analysis and other health promotion program evaluations18 suggest that individualized risks reduction for high-risk employees within the context of comprehensive health promotion programming is the crucial element in achieving positive clinical and cost outcomes in workplace interventions.


Several factors might affect the impact of various wellness programs and the ultimate ROI, including cultural and environmental factors, workforce demographics, level of participation and longevity of the wellness program.

Most cost-benefit studies have been conducted in big businesses with more than fifty personnel. But scientists have shown that similar results may be acquired by small businesses with as few as five personnel actively involved in a well-managed wellness program.

Various studies also suggest that even relatively modest levels of participation can achieve substantial wellness program impact. Contrary to reports by the well-liked media that such wellness programs require more than 70% participation, published reports of at least one case showed positive Return On Investment with 51% participation.

Length of intervention appears to be a more salient variable –  an impact on health costs ordinarily requires three-to five years of wellness programming.

Future developments

Despite the abundance of positive wellness program evaluations, several caveats remain. Negative results are less likely to be announced or published, hence biasing the Return On Investment upward.

Uncertainty persists regarding the specific impact of the various health promotion program components. But as these health promotion programs take hold, further research and evaluation will enable fine-tuning of health promotion program investments.

Meanwhile, the preponderance of data and the strength of the published research stand for a positive ROI for wellness programs.

In truth, the corporation case for such wellness programs is now well enough defined that some insurance brokers offer discounted rates to businesses that institute or subscribe to wellness programs.

Future questions will focus on how to best to combine robust and focused interventions, the intensity of elements, and how to calibrate the dose-response model to achieve a target Return On Investment (ROI).

Here, employers, personnel, and researchers will need to collaborate to define mutual goals for both clinical and cost outcomes.

Sources -

1. In Business –  Madison. Madison, WI –  September 2004. p. 39.

2. Anderson DR, Whitmer RW, Goetzel RZ, Ozminkowski RJ, Wasserman J, Serxner S. Health Enhancement Research Organization Committee. American Journal of Wellness 2000; 15(1) –  45-52.

3. Manning J. Health Promotion movement gains ground among corporations, health insurers. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. August 19, 2004.

4. Chapman LS. Professional opinions on “best practices” in company wellness (WHP).  The Art of Health Promotion Newsletter, July/August 2004 – 1-6.

5. Fronstin, P, and Werntz, R. EBRI Issue Brief No. 267, March 2004. Washington, DC – Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI).

6. Powell C. Professionals urge organizations to promote staff member health promotion strategies. Akron Beacon Journal. October 25, 2004.

7. Goetzel RZ, Juday TR, Ozminkowski RJ. AWHP’s Workplace Health, Summer, 1999.

8. Goetzel, RZ. Absolute Advantage. Washington DC – Health Promotion Councils of America. Vol 1(8); 2002.

9. Aldana SG. American Journal of Health Promotion 2001; 15(5) –  296-320.

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21. Serxner SA, Gold DB, Grossmeier JJ, Anderson DR.

Creating a Health Promotion Program.


Posted by Corporate Wellness | Posted in Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs | Posted on 15-02-2011

As organizations today continue to compete in the global economy, cost containment strategies are going to be increasingly important. Controlling the rising cost of employee ill health is becoming a priority for corporate leaders.

The emerging corporate culture in the U.S.  is one which has an staff member population centered in health, safety and wellness.

Creating a corporate strategy for wellness and disability management makes good company sense.  The following eight-step process ensures a strategic, integrated, needs-driven and results-oriented approach.

The following process works best in businesses with strong leadership and a long-term commitment to staff member health.

1. Identify Your Wellness Program Champion

This individuals should be a leader in your organization and a strong advocate of health. Normally this is a personal who actively pursues his or her own personal quest for optimal health.

The wellness program champion must have the resources and authority to drive the program forward.  The program champion’s key role is to ensure the strategic plan for health is aligned with the company’s company objectives, strategic focus and organizational values.

For example if the business promotes that “our strength is our people ” the wellness program must demonstrate how programs will nurture and protect that valuable resource.

2. Form Your Wellness Strategy Team

The Wellness Strategy Team should include decision makers and stakeholders from areas of the company that can influence health and the company’s bottom line.

These areas could include; finance, human resources, training and development, health services, compensation and benefits, employee assistance services (EAP), marketing and advertising, facilities, health and safety, rehabilitation, cafeteria or food services and the union. A team of six to eight representatives is advised.

The role of the Strategy Team is to develop and implement the strategic plan, look for opportunities to promote health, ensure the health promotion program is integrated into key areas of the business, streamline efforts, maximize business resources and health promotion program evaluation.

3. Complete an Organizational Health Audit

The purpose of an Organizational Health Audit is to evaluate your existing health promotion programs and services, physical environment and policies and procedures that support health.

It is also crucial that you look at your organizational culture or “how things are done” around the business.

Members of the Strategy Team complete the Audit independently and then meet to discuss their evaluation. During the evaluation process, health issues and opportunities are discussed in preparation for the development of the strategic plan.

4. Analyze Your Corporation’s Cost Pressures

Cost pressures are identified by assessing  a number of areas including; benefit costs, Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) claims, drug usage, type of paramedic claims, absenteeism data and employee assistance program utilization.

This process assists to target areas that may be positively impacted by a wellness program and to provide a baseline for assessing  change.

5. Conduct a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) or Staff Member Needs and Interest Survey

The next step is to determine your employee’s health risks, interests and readiness to change. A confidential health risk appraisal can accomplish many goals.

It provides a baseline from which to measure personal lifestyle changes, provides workers with relevant health information, arouses workers to take charge of their health and helps in health promotion program planning.

Most health risk assessments provide individual reports and a corporate report identifying high-risk areas in the company.

A lot of companies prefer to administer personalized needs and interest survey to evaluate worker needs.  The advantage of this approach is that the company can gather information on the employees’ perceived wellness program needs and interests.

This information may be incorporated into the strategic plan. Administering a recent survey also has the added advantage of fostering a sense of worker ownership to the health promotion program.

6. Develop Your Strategic Plan for Wellness

The strategic plan should incorporate information gathered from the Organizational Health Audit, your corporation’s cost pressures, and health risk appraisal data or worker survey results.

The strategic plan should include your health promotion program mission, three or four objectives and several health promotion programs under each objective.  The strategic plan provides a framework to encourage, support and evaluate “best health practices.”

It is also important that the plan align itself with the vision, objectives and objectives of the business.

The sample strategic plan that follows was created for blue jeans maker Levi Strauss and Co. (Canada) Inc. Levi Strauss and Co.’s mission statement and aspirations (how staff interact with each other in a company environment) guided the development of the plan.

Levi Strauss and Co.’s aspirations include the following statement –  Above all, we want satisfaction from accomplishments and friendships, balanced personal and professional lives, and to have fun in our endeavors.

The wellness program plan included a number of components to ensure that it embraced this statement including the following -

1. A vision statement, which tied in with the corporation’s aspirations.

2.  An incentive system to encourage and reward the accomplishment of healthful milestones.

3. A recognition system to applaud success.

4. Friendly competitions between Levi Strauss and Co. locations to ensure a fun environment.

5. Opportunities to participate in small group educational wellness programs to foster team support.

6. Initiation of support groups for staff members completing wellness programs (i.e. tobacco use control support group).

7. Programs dealing with work and family balance.

Other information that was investigated and used to create the plan included -

1. Corporation demographics

2. Focus groups

3. Cultural audit

4. Top drug report

5. employee assistance program utilization

6. Worker benefit services report

7. Health and dental claims

8. Operational performance summaries

9. Health risk appraisals

7. Pull together a Company Case to Support Your Plan

Your business case for wellness provides the necessary details for approval at the executive management level.  The business case includes -

1.  The Strategic Plan for Health

2. A proposed health promotion program budget

3. Marketing strategies

4. Program leadership options

5.  An implementation plan

6. Examination methodology.

In presenting the strategic plan it’s crucial that you highlight how the plan aligns itself with the strategic direction of the corporation.

The health promotion program budget ought to include educational resources, marketing and advertising costs, rewards and incentives, leadership costs and supplies.

Marketing strategies should address how the wellness program are going to be promoted and rolled out to various groups within the business i.e. decentralized locations, high risk workers, older workers.

Program leadership should address how volunteers will be used, internal resources  and whether consultants have been proposed. All play an equally important role in the implementation of your health promotion program.

The wellness program implementation plan should incorporate the following kinds of programs that help create awareness of positive health practices, assist workforce in making lifestyle changes and initiatives, which support long-term change.

Awareness health promotion programs develop an awareness of the importance of healthful lifestyle practices and motivate workers to take the next step. Examples of awareness health promotion programs include posting educational posters, newsletter articles and brown bagger seminars.

Lifestyle change wellness programs are more comprehensive and longer in duration. They are designed to assist staff in changing behavior. Examples of lifestyle change wellness programs are nutrition education programs, stress management programs, back care classes and use of tobacco control programs.

A supportive corporate environment encompasses everything from corporate policies and procedures, the physical environment and building a corporate culture that supports good health practices. Follow-up sessions and support groups for staff members that have completed 6-10 week wellness programs also provide a supportive environment for long-term change.

Assessing the effectiveness of wellness is ongoing. A formal examination must be conducted each year and may include; re-administering steps three to five, wellness program participation statistics and a year end survey to revisit “soft” issues like morale, wellness program satisfaction and future wellness program direction.

8. Solicit Input and Communicate Your Plan

Worker input is vital to the long-term success of your wellness program.  An Worker Advisory Committee must be formed to roll out the plan. Another key responsibility of this team is to solicit feedback from all levels of the organization to ensure buy-in.

Front line Manager’s Information Sessions and focus groups are also important. This group needs to buy-in to the notion that they play a key role in supporting positive health practices.

Regular meetings are advised with front line managers to receive ongoing input, address issues and orient new managers.


The World Health Corporation’s definition of health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellness and not merely the absence of illness and infirmity.”

In order for us to create healthful worksites, health promotion programs need to have have a health promotion program champion, have worker ownership, be upper-level management supported, results driven and strategically aligned with the overall company goals of the company.

Wellness program that embrace these qualities will have a positive impact on an company’s bottom line. Canadian research points to many case studies where on-site wellness programs have resulted in reduced absenteeism, lower claims and increased productivity.

Organizations who’ve embraced wellness as part of “how they do business” have one thing in common. They demonstrate a commitment to their most valuable resource ?.” their people .

They understand the increased pressures associated with downsized organizations, a rapidly changing worksite, an aging work force and the challenge of balancing work and family obligations.  And they share a common belief that healthy employees are happier, absent less and more productive.

References -

Design of Wellness Programs by Michael P. O’Donnell. 1995. Published by the American Journal of Wellness.

Pro Fit-ability by Veronica Marsden. Group Healthcare Management. May 1997.

Meeting Expectations by Laura Mensch. Staff Member Health and Productivity. August 1999

7 Steps to Health Promotion by Daphne Woolf and Veronica Marsden. Group Health Care Management. February 1996.

Published in the Journal of Wellness for Northern Ireland, Issue 9, March 2000

Wellness Program Ideas.


Posted by Corporate Wellness | Posted in Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs | Posted on 14-02-2011

Want some wellness program ideas and wellness policy ideas to get you started? Or maybe you want to jump start or improve upon your current wellness program?

The list below provides “best practices’ that can help meet any wellness program budget! the Health Promotion Program ideas are divided into topic areas.

General Wellness Progam Ideas

o  Policy – Conduct an Staff Member Needs and Interest Survey

o  Policy – Create a management/employee Health Promotion Committee

o  Policy – Choose medical programs that cover costs for weight control and tobacco use cessation

o  Policy – Waive co-pay or reimburse for preventive healthcare visits

o  Program – Display pamphlets on a selection of wellness topics for employees to take

o  Program – Establish a wellness resource center or library with videos, books, magazines, DVD’s on a selection of topics of interest to employees

o  Program – Identify staff members who are mentors or champions for healthy activities and ask them to present or to list as a contact for other employees

o  Program – Plan and promote periodic or regular educational sessions.

o  Program – Plan monthly educational sessions on the national health observance topic

o  Program – Post a Wellness Bulletin Board and update it monthly

o  Program – Promote messages from national health observances during the month

o  Program – Publish and/or post healthful tips in newsletters, paycheck stuffers, bulletin boards, etc.

o  Program – Sponsor a benefits fair

o  Program – Sponsor organization fitness and healthy eating challenges

o  Program – Sponsor corporation wellness fairs or other onsite events

Nutrition Programs

o  Policy – Give free, healthful snacks for staff members (fruit, nuts, popcorn)

o  Policy – Provide healthful meal choices in cafeterias and at corporation events

o  Policy – Give information to personnel about the nutritional content of food served in the cafeteria

o  Policy – Start a fresh fruit “snack basket” in the breakroom or cafeteria

o  Policy – Stock vending machines with healthier choices

o  Policy – Subsidize healthy foods in the cafeteria or vending machines (10ยก apples could  be more appealing than $1.00 candy bars)

o  Program – Coordinate a weekly or monthly healthy lunch club

o  Program – Have flyers available on a selection of healthy eating topics

o  Program – Include nutrition articles in organization newsletters

o  Program – Schedule a healthful food tasting contest Free

o  Program – Schedule educational sessions at lunch-time on a selection of nutrition topics of interest

o  Program – Sponsor an worker healthful food cookbook. Either sell the cookbook and use profits for programs, or purchase a cookbook for all employees

Weight Loss Programs / Weight Management Programs

o  Policy – Consider flexible work schedules so that workers can participate in weight-loss programs

o  Policy – Subsidize registration costs for weight-management programs

o  Program – Form a support group to help staff who are attempting to lose weight

o  Program – Locate registered dieticians near your worksite as a resource for staff members who want information on healthy consuming, meal planning or weight control

o  Program – Give individual counseling for staff trying to lose weight

o  Program – Offer onsite fitness and weight-management programs through your local hospital, Weight Watchers, TOPS or local, registered dietician

o  Program – Schedule an educational session on diet myths and healthful eating

Exercise Programs

o  Policy – Allow flexible work schedules to encourage exercise

o  Policy – Develop a fitness space with aerobic equipment, and weights

o  Policy – Develop accessible walking paths, trails, and/or bicycle routes

o  Policy – Make sure to encourage workers to walk more by parking farther away from the entrance

o  Policy – Establish a fitness club with aerobic equipment, weights, group exercise classes, fitness professionals

o  Policy – Hold walking meetings

o  Policy – Make the stairwells more appealing (carpet, fresh paint, artwork, posters)

o  Policy – Make available reduced fitness club membership fees to all personnel

o  Policy – Give facilities for employees to secure bicycles

o  Policy – Schedule 5 ?.” 10 minute stretch breaks during the day

o  Policy – Subsidize gym membership for employees who participate a minimal number of days per week (ex., 3 days per week)

o  Policy – Support lunchtime walking/running clubs or company sports team

o  Program – Make certain to encourage stairwell use and incentives

o  Program – Install a basketball hoop outside

o  Program – Promote and support community walks or fitness events

o  Program – Promote walking during breaks and other off-time periods

o  Program – Provide periodic fitness incentive programs to encourage exercise

o  Program – Schedule educational sessions on fitness activities

Use of tobacco Cessation Programs / Smoking Cessation Programs

o  Policy – Create a tobacco-free grounds

o  Policy – Create a tobacco-free worksite

o  Policy – Make certain to encourage the use of 1-800-QUIT-NOW, North Carolina’s free Tobacco Use Quitline. Or check www.QuitlineNC.com

o  Policy – Reimburse for tobacco replacement products

o  Policy – Subsidize the cost of smoking cessation workshops

o  Program – Give pamphlets and information on health effects from use of tobacco and tobacco cessation

o  Program – Schedule awareness sessions to motivate personnel to try to quit tobacco use

o  Program – Schedule onsite smoking cessation workshops

Staff Member Medical Screening

o  Policy – Discount medical insurance premiums or reduce co-payments for workforce who take part in screenings and who take part in managing their risk factors

o  Policy – Install blood pressure monitoring equipment

o  Program – Offer flu shots for personnel and family members

o  Program – Make available HRAs to all staff, including counseling and follow-up

o  Program – Provide periodic blood pressure screenings and follow-up

o  Program – Make available periodic screenings for cholesterol, blood sugar, body composition, etc.

Stress Management Programs / Be sure to work Life Balance Programs

o  Program – Allow flexible schedules for family/work life balance

o  Program – Make available and promote an worker assistance program

o  Program – Give information on substance abuse prevention

o  Program – Provide flyers and information on stress management and psychological health

o  Program – Provide handouts and information on work life balance, such as financial planning, childcare, parenting, elder care, etc.

o  Program – Provide supervisor and manager training on communication, relationship building, organizational stressors, etc.

o  Program – Review company policies and work schedules to identify organizational stressors

o  Program – Review the worker assistance program to ensure it’s meeting the needs of the staff members and company

o  Program – Schedule educational sessions on stress management and work life balance

o  Program – Schedule workshops on relaxation, stress management, and work life balance topics

Worker Medical Testing.


Posted by Corporate Wellness | Posted in Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs | Posted on 13-02-2011

Medical testings are important wellness programs to identify chronic disease in their early stages. Once identified, wellness intervention programs can help prevent a disease from progressing.

Working with local hospitals and other businesses, you are able to obtain information on providing screening and intervention programs that could improve your employees’ health and save your company money in absenteeism, treatment for disease complications, and reduced productivity.

Following are some ideas to help get you started.

Based on your Staff Member Needs and Interest Survey and the demographics of your worksite, consider offering periodic screenings to find specific health risks such as -

o  Blood Pressure Checks to identify staff members with pre-hypertension or hypertension (high blood pressure),

o  Cholesterol Screenings for total, HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol) and/or Triglycerides

o  Blood Sugar Screenings fasting or non-fasting to screen for possible diabetes,

o  Body composition, such as BMI  or body fat measures

o  Bone density for potential risk of osteoporosis,

o  Cancer screenings like, skin evaluations, mammograms, or PSA screenings,

o  Vision checks for glaucoma, or visual acuity

o  Other screenings depending on your worker population and needs

Your local hospital, organization doctor practice, or health department my provide assistance. Nevertheless, when you’ve a young workforce you might want to concentrate on wellness programs that’ll keep them healthful rather than screening for early identification of chronic condition.

The focus of your health promotion program may  be healthful lifestyle practices to reduce risk and prevent disease.

In addition to the health testings, consider offering a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) to all workforce.  The Health Risk Assessment (HRA) will help to identify factors that might lead to additional risks, such as use of tobacco history, stress levels, perception of health, family history, job satisfaction, support systems, and mental health.

Quite often the screening results are included on the Health Risk Appraisal, which provides a more extensive snap shot of health risks.  The summary results provide the important information to plan appropriate interventions.

Health Promotion Program Interventions

The key to the success of screenings and HRAs is the interventions or follow-up programs.  The information from the screenings increases awareness and often motivates workforce to consider making healthier changes.

It is the follow up interventions that provide the essential support and assistance needed for personnel to actually make and maintain those changes.

The interventions can include individual follow-up and ongoing counseling, individual or group medical coaching on the risk factors, behavior modification programs, and/or organizational support. Examples include -

o  Strategies to lower blood pressure

o  Managing diabetes

o  Taking care of your heart

o  Healthful eating

o  Weight loss strategies

o  Increasing physical activity

o  Smoking Cessation

Of course, this is for individual information only. Any follow-up interventions planned by the business would be based on interest expressed by the worker.

Based on the results and your Health Promotion Committee objectives you are able to plan the best strategies for your organization and employees. Consider the community resources available to provide services, such as health associations, hospitals, health care providers, and/or public health agencies.