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Does Your Workplace Wellness Program Diagnose Chronic Conditions?

diagnose-diseases

According to a new survey from HealthMine, 46% of employees who were diagnosed with a chronic condition like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes over the last two years discovered their condition through a workplace wellness program. That’s almost half! This makes wellness programs a no brainer. For employees, diagnosing chronic conditions allows them and their healthcare providers to handle the condition, manage it, mitigate it and prevent it from getting worse.

For employers, it allows employees the chance to manage their condition which in turn lowers the total healthcare benefit costs. The other major advantage for employers- if employees are diagnosed with a condition in the context of a workplace wellness program, they are more willing to take biometric screenings for other preventable or manageable conditions. Learn what to screen for our the white paper, Building a Healthier Workforce through Early Detection here.

Here are a few more key stats from the survey:

  • 74% would submit to vision screenings
  • 73% would screen for high blood pressure
  • 69% would screen for high cholesterol
  • >50% would screen for hearing, BMI, and glucose screenings as well as standard cancer screenings

With figures like these well over 50% employers should be rushing to implement wellness programs throughout their workforce. When willingness to participate is high, ROI is high for employers. What are you doing to implement, maintain and bolster interest in your wellness program?


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Early Detection Whitepaper Download

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Engagement in Health and Wellness Programs

wellness programs

Employers are at all points on the learning curve when it comes to health and wellness programs. However, as employee engagement increases, so does employer health and wellness spending. The average per employee cost for health and wellness programs is up almost $100 over 2014 and the use of screenings and carrot rewards to boost engagement are also increasing.

The decreased use of “stick” disincentives along with the increased use of biometric benchmarking is making health and wellness programs more inviting to employees. According to a recent study of employers offering health and wellness programming in 2015:

  • 72% of respondents plan to offer screenings
  • 70% plan to offer assessments
  • And perhaps most importantly, 54% plan to offer physical activity programs

Engagement is key in health and wellness programs. A program’s success is singularly contingent upon employee participation. Getting employees excited and motivated about health and wellness increases productivity, employee loyalty and the overall success of the program. Increased engagement in health and wellness also provides a mutually beneficial decrease in cost to both employer and employee. Are your employees engaged in your health and wellness program?


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creating successful wellness incentives

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Finding the Right Wellness Program

As wellness programs become a mainstream part of HR programming, and a sought after employee benefit, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Some employers are now building wellness programs to “check the box.” Adding a smoking cessation program, or a weight loss group to the office culture to help reduce insurance cost, or satiate the employee desire to get healthier. However, even if you plan to make a small investment in an employee wellness program, it’s important that you find the right options for your staff and for your bottom line.

Here are a few tips that will help you get your wellness program on track.

A Common Trend: Wellness programs are becoming a common trend. However, it’s still important to make sure there is an appetite for these types of benefits at your organization. Survey your employees to make sure they have interest and that there is going to be appreciation and participation in the programming before you invest.

Designing a Program That Works: Give the people what they want. Wellness programs can extend beyond health to include financial wellness, stress management and other types of programming. Make sure you know what your employees are looking for to set expectations appropriately and deliver on employee requests and suggestions.

Measurement and ROI: Don’t throw a program out there and let it flap in the wind. Make sure your HR team is constantly measuring success and getting feedback. This way you can make small changes and improvements to see big results while the program is running rather than needing to overhaul the program after a longer period of time.

For more information on how to find the right wellness program for your business check out this article from Entrepreneur.com.


You may also be interested in…

creating successful wellness incentives

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Healthy Workplace Programs Reduce Obesity

Healthy Workplace Programs

A recent study, led by an associate professor at the University of Rochester, finds that providing healthy workplace programs reduced the number of overweight or obese employees by almost 9%. The study was based on two years of research, studying almost 3,800 employees. The researchers instituted workplace programs to promote healthy eating and exercise at half of the work sites and no healthy programs at the other half.

The test group that had implemented healthy workplace programs promoted things such as revamped cafeteria offerings with fewer calories and smaller portions, free meals to those who made healthy food choices, workshops to share healthy recipes, walking clubs, upgraded gym facilities, and group activities.

Workplaces are great environments to modify food options and provide physical activity having the potential to reach a large number of adults. “This study shows in particular that when employees are empowered to help shape wellness programs, these programs appear to result in meaningful improvements to health” said Diana Fernandez, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., lead author of the study.

The study tracked the workers’ BMI at the beginning and end of the two-year program. The number of workers considered overweight or obese increased by 5% over the group that did not offer healthy programs in the workplace. While the test group that had healthy programs decreased those considered overweight or obese by 4% — a net difference of 9%.

The full article can be read here at Incentive Magazine. The full study can be downloaded for a fee at The American Public Health Association.

creating successful wellness incentives

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

The Quick Start Guide to Corporate Wellness Programs

corporate wellnessCorporate wellness programs are a hot topic amongst corporate HR departments, especially given the incentives available through the newly minted Affordable Care Act rules that can provide discounts to employers and employees for healthy behavior. If you don’t have a corporate wellness plan, it’s time to put one in place. Healthier employees are more productive, and represent less financial risk to your organization.

Here are a few tips to help you get going.

  • How do I start? A great way to kick off your corporate wellness program is to offer optional biometric screenings. Give your employees a baseline to start from. It will be a great motivator in the beginning of the program and give them a milestone to look back on as they continue to improve those readings and live a healthier life.
  • What incentives do I offer? Small incentives can often be as effective as larger ones. Giving spot rewards to help promote a healthy lifestyle to retailers like CVS/pharmacy, Whole Foods Market and GNC are great ways to support employees while celebrating their healthy milestone.
  • What are the financial implications? 80% of an employee’s healthcare costs are incurred in the last 20% of their career timespan. This is a statistic that can be affected by employees who take a proactive stance on employee health. Corporate wellness programs may not totally change this statistic but they can help control corporate costs.

For more information on how to start your corporate wellness program check out this article from Smart Business Online.

corporate wellness

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Healthy Employees are Good for Business

Every organization strives to have a strong workforce. They are looking for employees who can drive the business, build relationships and advance organizational goals. But creating those strong employees has to go beyond just business and into health and wellness. Ensuring that employees are exercising, eating right, and generally taking care of themselves by using their healthcare benefits will create a stronger workforce, both mentally and physically. Some of the numbers around employee health benefits are staggering. Investing in healthy employees can increase productivity and strengthen your business as a whole

Using health and wellness programs, as outlined in the Public Health Institute’s infographic below, increases productivity by minimizing employee’s time away from work. Focusing programs on preventing avoidable conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol invoke achievable goals for employees. Incentivizing these prevention program with small rewards help employees maintain a healthy lifestyle and are a great way to give your employees a boost, as they give your business a boost.

Download the brief here.

infographic outlining how health prevention leads to healthy employees

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

The Use of Health and Wellness Rewards Increases

New research from Mercer LLC shows a 3% increase in use of carrot style rewards in the context of health and wellness programs. These health and wellness rewards are largely tied to employees’ achieving a certain change or reaching a certain biometric range for preventable conditions like obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. According to the research, 23% of large employers are using positive reinforcements as health and wellness rewards.

A Towers Watson study from September also indicates an increase in outcome-based health and wellness rewards, with 18% using them currently and 10% planning to add programs in 2015. While some health and wellness industry professionals believe the days of spot rewards are over, in favor of an organizational shift towards discounting insurance costs, this shift is only being observed by larger firms. While smaller businesses cannot absorb the financial impact of larger policy discounts, spot rewards offer an alternative with the potential to scale up or add larger rewards at a later date.

The increased use of health and wellness rewards at a variety of levels, from small spot rewards like gift cards to large discounts on health insurance, signals a larger trend. Health and wellness programs and health and wellness rewards are becoming a mainstream, integral part of the way benefits and healthcare are delivered from employers to employees. Health and wellness rewards has become a mechanism for employers to make healthcare more affordable for employees, while also ensuring their workforce is healthy and productive, and healthcare is also affordable at the organizational level.

For more information on health and wellness rewards and how they are being used, head over to BusinessInsurance.com.  

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Employee Health Keeps Costs Low

Employee Health & WellnessIt’s the time of year for diets, gym membership renewals and for some, delusions of grandeur about a healthier year. The key is to turn that burst of enthusiasm into long-term healthy habits that help employees fall into routines that are here to stay for the long haul.

Healthy employees miss less work, and are more productive, focused and hungrier to move up and improve. So how can we bring good habits to employees that foster healthier, and ultimately stronger, contributors? The answer is simple. Bring the health and wellness initiative into the workplace.

From zumba classes at lunch and yoga happy hours, to health-conscious gift card reward options like CVS/pharmacy and Whole Foods Market for reaching weight loss goals or maintaining those habits, employee health and wellness is a win-win for the entire company.

While employees get healthier, healthcare costs get reduced for both employees and employers. One example of this is at USI insurance. If employees and spouses agreed to annual biometrics screenings, healthcare costs could drop as much as 30%. While some employees can find these screenings invasive, 89% of USI employees enrolled in the program, finding the discount to be worth the tradeoff of the screenings. The impact that the discount has on employees and their family budgets is significant, and they can attribute that financial relief to their employer.

If that’s not enough motivation to keep those new year’s resolutions, then I don’t know what is. For more information on the impact employee health has on your business and it’s staff, check out this article in the Orange County Register.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Health and Wellness with Balance and Positivity

photo_2468_20070711Health and wellness programs have an important place in both current HR practices and in the near future for 2015. In a recent survey by the NBGH and Fidelity Investments, 93% of  employers indicated an increase or maintained funding for wellness-based incentive programs. So it seems health and wellness programs are here to stay, despite some backlash from both employees and industry pundits. There are a few keys to a successful long-term health and wellness strategy, here are a couple of points we think are important to note.

  1. Balance: Employers need to balance the priorities of their health and wellness programs with their employees’ privacy. Requiring invasive testing or asking an enormous amount of personal questions to require entry into a health and wellness program is probably the wrong way to go. Find simple baseline metrics and provide suggestions for additional metrics that employees can track privately if they want to. Keeping the program light and upbeat will lower the barrier to entry and increase participation.
  2. Positivity: In the carrot vs. stick metaphor, always stick with the carrots. Incentives work better as motivators than disincentives. Charging $100 extra on health insurance premiums alienates employees, while offering gift cards to healthy retailers makes employees feel included and encouraged to keep up a healthy lifestyle.

For more information on how to keep your health and wellness program successful and long-running check out articles from NPR and Employee Benefits News.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Loyalty Rewards Trend Toward Health and Wellness

healthy_holiday_gift_ideasThis year Maritz Motivation is having their own “12 days of Christmas,” revealing the 12 most redeemed items from their loyalty catalog and trends in electronics buying. 42% of the recent survey respondents indicated that they will redeem loyalty points to fund holiday shopping. What these consumers are buying could indicate large buying trends for the holidays. The first 3 items have been revealed, but one of the overarching themes to seasonal electronics buying could play directly into the health and wellness programs geared toward the early part of next year.

Here are 3 seasonal trends:

  1. Wearable Technology: It seems futuristic in theory, but smart watches, fitness and activity trackers and clothing with wearable technology built in have become increasingly mainstream. This can be looked at as a great way to start 2014, geared up for fitness. It can also streamline employee health and wellness initiatives early in the year and keep people moving. Once they gauge their (in)activity the wearable tech can help them track their progress all year long.
  2. 3D Printers: It’s the new trend. Now still considered a novelty item, these printers have the potential to become more mainstream as they become more affordable and people will invest in them to keep up with the times and bring DIY to a whole new level.
  3. Smart Homes: As we become more connected on all of our mobile devices, people want to stay connected to their houses, no matter the distance. Domestic upgrades now include connecting homes to mobile devices and digitizing functions like the temperature, the lighting and security systems.

For more information on the recent survey or the 12 most redeemed items and the trends they are setting head over to Maritz Motivation Solutions.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.