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Wellness lessons from ‘healthiest companies’

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in Centerpiece,HR Management,Human Resources

business woman eating saladA small percentage of employees can account for a disproportion­ate share of your organization’s health care costs. That’s why employers of all sizes are always on the lookout for low-cost well­­­ness practices that help employees prevent disease and illness.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the 72 organizations on the most recent “Healthiest Companies in America” list from Interactive Health Inc., a wellness and health management solutions company.

Here are affordable practices the companies use to increase wellness program participation rates and lower employee health care risks:

  • Video testimonials. Manufacturer Standard Textile Co., Inc. created a video showcasing 10 employees who are healthier after participating in the company’s annual blood screening program, which offers small financial incentives. The company distributes the video to workers and their families to encourage participation. The company also provides an exercise class based on a self-defense technique developed by the Israeli military.
  • Nutrition counseling. NPCL Construction Enterprises, Inc. brought in a nutritionist to develop healthy eating guidelines for meals at work, including lunches, employee parties, meetings and picnics. NPCL posted the guidelines on its company website. The nutritionist also examined company vending machines and suggested healthy snack options that are now included. Employee “health ambas­sadors” at NPCL provide education on exercise, nutrition and disease management.
  • Time off for training. Angie’s List Inc. awards eight extra hours of paid time off to staffers who participate in a marathon. It provides free pedometers to those who take up walking or running. The company’s healthy cooking club meets monthly.
  • Read all about it. Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, publishes a monthly wellness newsletter dedicated to county employees and their families. People submit personal stories, sugges­tions, recipes and pictures related to health. A wellness committee gets employees’ input. The county also reimburses for up to 18 weeks of Weight Watchers. Workers who take an annual health risk assessment receive a dis­count on insurance premiums. People who meet certain criteria receive an additional discount.
  • Free entry in local 5ks. Guaranty Bond Bank pays the sign-up fee for employees who participate in any 5k run­ning event. The bank also pays half of employee gym mem­berships, up to $20 monthly.
  • Office Olympics. Alpine Bank sponsors an outdoor “Summer Games” every year to encourage employees to exercise.

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