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CEO’s accident instills wellness mindset

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Many leaders want to promote wellness in their workplace. But for Mark Bertolini, helping employees stay healthy is part of a deeply personal journey.

As CEO of Aetna, Bertolini oversees an insurance giant with 50,000 employees. The 58-year-old became Aetna’s CEO in late 2010.

Six years earlier, Bertolini almost died in a skiing accident. Disabled for a year, he learned about yoga and alternative healing therapies such as meditation.

He admits that he’s still in constant pain from his accident, but he copes without taking drugs. And now he’s trying to instill a wellness mindset in his workforce.

For starters, he has hired specially trained chefs to provide healthy meals in the company cafeteria. This includes a well-stocked salad bar and nutritious meal-to-go offerings.

He also beefed up the fitness center, and he encourages employees to exercise any time of day. And he urges them to take yoga and online courses on mindfulness.

“If we’re going to invest in our people to get them engaged every day, we have to reduce their stress levels,” he says.

In terms of treating health ailments, Bertolini has invested in a wellness center for employees. It includes on-site physicians, exam rooms and even massage therapy.

Morale and healthy outcomes are soaring. Employee surveys at Aetna show a 28% drop in stress levels, a 19% reduction in pain and a 20% boost in sleep quality.

— Adapted from “How Aetna CEO brings health and healing to workplace,” www.cbsnews.com.

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