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Workplace Wellness at SilverStone Group (We Practice What We Preach)

Wellness programs are taking on a new role in organizations throughout the country. They have evolved beyond basic gym membership reimbursements and health screenings into robust programs that make total well-being a top priority.

Companies are getting more creative and competitive with their wellness plans in an effort to develop a corporate culture that fosters a healthier, happier workforce. If you are looking to breathe new life into your current wellness program, or if you are just getting one started, then this article is for you!


Practicing What We Preach
At SilverStone Group, we know firsthand the value of a successful wellness program. Not only do our Group Benefit specialists have extensive experience helping clients implement these programs, but our internal wellness program has been repeatedly recognized for its innovation and success. Recent honors include the Well Workplace Award issued by The Wellness Council of America, the Governor’s Excellence in Wellness Award and the Corporate Health Champion designation from the American Diabetes Association.

In order to provide our clients with expert guidance, we believe we need to “practice what we preach.” We have a dedicated Wellness Activities Group (WAG) that is comprised of volunteer Associates from each division in the company. Each year, WAG introduces new, cutting-edge wellness initiatives that are designed to encourage healthy choices from a holistic standpoint. Whether it’s engaging the latest technology in fitness trackers and programs, providing onsite workout classes or organizing regular lunch-and-learns that cover a variety of wellness topics, WAG knows how to get our Associates interested and invested in their personal wellness.

In 2016, WAG introduced MAXFormation – a comprehensive nutrition and weight management program facilitated by Max Muscle Sports Nutrition. Associates and their spouses were invited to take part in this 12-week challenge in which they set three fitness goals. Participants check in with a Max Muscle Sports Nutrition consultant every three weeks, measuring weight and body fat with the InBody 370 Body Composition Analyzer. This technology goes beyond traditional body mass index measurement tools by calculating how much lean mass an individual has in each body segment. These measurements help participants assess their progress and monitor how their bodies are adjusting to dietary changes, fitness routines and lifestyle modifications. MAXFormation participants also receive nutrition and exercise coaching, as well as access to meal planning software. More than 170 Associates and spouses have signed up for the MAXFormation challenge, and collectively this group has a company goal of losing 4.74% body fat. If the company goal is met, Associates who participate in the program will receive a free “wellness day” off from work, and those who meet their personal goals will also receive additional Body Bucks (money furnished by SilverStone Group to put toward certain fitness expenses of the individual’s choosing). In an effort to help participants meet their goals, WAG made some changes to the company breakroom. Sodas have been removed and Associates can now enjoy a variety of fresh, infused waters, made in-house. Most processed and packaged snacks have been replaced with fresh fruits and vegetables, along with other healthier items such as hummus, nuts, hard-boiled eggs and Greek yogurt. Having these alternatives readily available makes it easier for our Associates to make healthier choices throughout the day.

In addition to MAXFormation, WAG has provided our Associates with a number of additional wellness resources in 2016. From financial planning classes, charitable giving opportunities and personal data shredding services, to chair massages, weekly group walks during lunch, freezer meal workshops, meal planning and barre fusion fitness classes, WAG continually gives our Associates the opportunity to work toward total well-being.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All
We have learned through years of experience which wellness initiatives work best for our company. In order to be successful, these programs often need to be tailored to meet the specific needs of an organization. Curious what has worked for other companies? The following highlights a number of innovative wellness strategies that have worked for our clients.

Met with rising healthcare costs year after year, Omaha Steaks knew something needed to be done to encourage its employees to lead healthier lives. The company has taken an inclusive approach to wellness by offering programs that address health, fitness, nutrition, emotional well-being, stress management and financial wellness. As a fifth-generation, family-owned company under the Simon name, Omaha Steaks has incorporated “Simon Says Live Well at Omaha Steaks” as a wellness theme. The saying changes based on the various wellness programs (i.e., “Simon Says Get Moving”), and the character, Simon, brings personality to the brand while providing clear direction for employees. Participation in the various programs and health screenings can earn employees lower insurance premiums, cash, gift cards, wellness products, gym membership reimbursements and more. The company’s claims trend has improved, and its aggregate health score is significantly better. Moreover, there have been numerous success stories across the company that range from people quitting smoking to others losing substantial amounts of weight and keeping the pounds off. Omaha Steaks is eager to continue on this path to support, motivate and encourage its employees and their families to live healthier lifestyles.

When Nelnet began to design its wellness program, its goal was to develop a corporate culture that was rich in wellness and empowered associates to make healthy decisions. The company believes that a number of success factors go hand in hand with a good wellness plan, such as increased productivity and performance, and reduced absenteeism and healthcare costs. Nelnet developed a Benefits + Wellness logo that is meant to help associates identify with four different pillars of well-being: personal, physical, financial and professional. Employees are encouraged to track their progress in a platform that syncs with more than 30 wellness trackers, which minimizes manual tracking and makes the platform more user friendly. Nelnet has incorporated an onsite health and wellness clinic that offers free lifestyle coaching and a smoking cessation program. Participating employees receive contributions to their health savings accounts (HSAs) or paychecks, as well as medical premium discounts. Nelnet plans to continually gauge employee feedback to determine what wellness programs are relevant, fun and rewarding.

Olsson Associates already had a wellness program in place for quite some time when the company introduced a high deductible health plan as part of its benefits package. This change ultimately motivated the company to revamp its wellness program into a more comprehensive platform that established a supportive workplace culture to help employees focus on their well-being. In addition to biometric screenings and health risk assessments, Olsson is committed to offering reliable educational resources so its employees can be informed. They developed an “OA Activate” logo that is used to identify posts on the company intranet that are related to wellness. Olsson also has a wellness committee in place that encourages health-conscious decisions by organizing firm-wide challenges. Participation in these events is rewarded with insurance premium reductions, as well as other incentives and educational information. The incentive structure encourages the use of Olsson’s wellness portal, which facilitates a point system for additional rewards throughout the year. Olsson is dedicated to incorporating components that will capture the attention of its employees. The company believes that technology will play a significant role in achieving this goal and plans to begin exploring this area of resources.

When claim costs were threatening the affordability of Sweetman Construction’s health plan, the company decided to do something about it by implementing a wellness plan that would ease its workforce into a healthier lifestyle. “Sweetman Simple Steps” was introduced with the expectation that change wouldn’t occur overnight, but rather through small steps in the right direction over time. The company has partnered with a wellness vendor to conduct an in-depth health screening event each year. Employees who complete the screening, as well as a health survey, and review the findings with a wellness coach become eligible for a discount on their health insurance premiums. Sweetman Construction also opened a fitness center that is available to its employees at no cost, 24/7, and office workers now have the option to use adjustable computer monitor stands so more time can be spent standing. Additionally, the “food culture” at company events has changed. Corporate picnics are no longer filled with empty-calorie foods. Instead, lean meats, lettuce salads and fresh fruits are on the menu. Since the program started, Sweetman Construction has made progress toward lowering overall health risks each year.

Taking Care of Your Greatest Asset – Your People
A thoughtfully executed wellness plan can help boost company morale and reduce healthcare costs, but more importantly, it can draw attention to serious health issues among your employees that might otherwise be ignored. Incorporating an innovative wellness program can show employees that you care about their work-life satisfaction, as well as their health. Studies indicate that wellness programs are becoming “business as usual,” with more and more organizations making these programs part of their benefits package. This trend is illustrated in the chart below, which highlights the utilization of wellness programs (by type) among large and small employers.

Note: Estimate is statistically different between All Small Firms and All Large Firms (p<.05). Note: “Other Lifestyle or Behavior Coaching” can include health education classes, stress management or substance abuse counseling. Source: Kaiser/HRET Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits, 2015.

Don’t wait to start providing your employees with the tools they need to achieve a healthier lifestyle – the time to act is now. SilverStone Group not only has experience with building and implementing effective wellness programs, but our specialists are well-versed on the compliance side of these initiatives. We are here to help you build a healthier, happier workforce while satisfying any requirements established under the law. For more information on how to get your company headed in a healthier direction, contact our Group Benefits Team.

This article originally appeared in the 2016 | ISSUE TWO of the SilverLink magazine under the title “Wellness @ Work.” To receive a complimentary subscription to the SilverLink magazine, sign up here.

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