Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wowies - How the Winners do It

(from left) Donna Rogers, ILSHRM Director, Chris King, Robinson Engineering President, Charlie Judy, ILSHRM  Program Emmcee, Denise St. Pierre, Robison Engineering, Organizational Development Manager, Karen Fancher, Robinson Engineering, Accounting Specialist

1)      Robinson is a two time winner of the WOWIEs.  What have you learned from your success putting together employee wellness programs and what new wrinkles are planned for 2012?  

We’ve learned that key components to a successful wellness program are various types of communication, employee input, variety of activities, and support from the top down is crucial.  We work hard to touch many aspects of wellness:  physical, emotional, intellectual, occupational, environmental, and social wellness.   
In 2012 Robinson is celebrating its 75th anniversary.  In honor of the anniversary and of the success in implementing wellness, we are doing 75 charitable events throughout our client communities.  Some of the events include, glove and hat drive, food drives, several walks to raise charitable contributions, creek clean-ups, and planting trees.

2) How does Robinson get buy in from its employees?

We use several methods to get employee buy-in.  We solicit their input through interest surveys.  We also have employees from all areas of the organization sit on the wellness committee, as well as each office has a wellness champion that helps drive the wellness initiative.  Another way we get buy in from our employees is through challenges and incentives.  We provide many challenges throughout the year where employees have the opportunity to not only win prizes, but to realize the benefits of healthier choices.  Challenges include pedometer challenges, weight loss challenges, and body-mass index improvement challenges.  Another way we have seen success is by involving our employee’s families in our wellness efforts through their participation in our challenges and by making sure the resources we provide on healthier lifestyle choices are also provided to our employee’s families.  In addition, we incorporate wellness into all of our company events; from lunch and learns and employee annual parties and picnicsto client events.

3)      Have you been able to calculate health premium or productivity results or savings from your employee wellness program?

Yes, we have experienced a 10:1 ROI.  In addition, through annual health screenings we are able to focus on problem areas, arming employees with options for fighting bad habits and health risk areas.  During the annual 2011 screening, one individual was a newly discovered diabetic.   This condition alone can account for an average cost of $18,000 a year when not properly diagnosed and managed. 

4)  For companies just getting into the employee wellness game, what advice do you have for them?

The first step is to have buy in from top management, then create a well-defined purpose, clearly communicate the intent, create a committee that touches all areas of the organization, and solicit input from employees.  It is key to use the information you receive from employees.  Once you have the program off the ground variety is key to keeping employees motivated.

-From Chris Martin - posted by Dave Ryan

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