Tag Archives: Health Benefits

Winning At Wellness

11 Mar


The online Insurance Journal showcases a company, Texas Mutual, that was one of ten companies recently recognized for their wellness programs.

Our research continues to show concern on the part of an employer for the well being of employees to be a significant driver of overall employee enagagement. Developing and implementing a wellness program is only one way an employer might show care and concern for this engagement driver, but we think it’s an important effort in this category.

I’m pleased that my new employer, the Silverstone Group, actively promotes wellness in the workplace. I’ve already seen the benefits of their efforts up front and personal. I encouage all employers to seriously consider wellness as a key component of their overall engagement strategy. Besides, the cost-benefit to an employer, regardless of impact on employee engagement, is more than worth the effort.

(Graphic courtesy of www.lumaxart.com)

Employee Engagement And Well Being– Two Sides Of The Same Coin

26 Feb

Consultant News has published a research study by Hewitt that shows yet additional evidence that well being and employee engagment may be two sides of the same coin– very much linked together:

“Research carried out in conjunction with the 2009 Best Employers in Canada study has established that highly engaged employees experience better health and overall well-being. This finding reinforces the benefits for both employers and employees of increasing employee engagement, according to Hewitt Associates, the global human resources consulting and outsourcing company that conducts the annual study.

“The 115,000 employees surveyed as part of the 2009 study clearly revealed that high engagement goes hand-in-hand with better health and well-being,” said Neil Crawford, leader of Hewitt’s Best Employers in Canada study. “Employees at organizations with high engagement reported better physical health, lower job stress and work overload, and greater financial security. In addition, they also believe that their employer’s benefits plan contributes to their overall well-being, although there is room for improvement with respect to retirement savings programs.”

I read of the governmental plans to “reform” our health care, which is all fine and well. But perhaps the most important reform we can make would be to create better workplaces which, amongst other things, cares about the health and well being of employees. According to this study this may be, as they say, exactly what the doctor ordered.

An Outcome Of The Economic Crisis

5 Feb

An article in the New York Times points to one clear symptom of employee engagement in the midst of this economic crisis– an increase in contact with employee assistance programs. The article, in part, states:

A widely available but often ignored corporate perk — the employee assistance program — can help workers who are suddenly facing a layoff, as well as those who worry that the same fate will befall them.

E.A.P.’s, which generally are managed by counseling firms or divisions of health insurance providers, offer advice on family relationships, drug and alcohol problems and dollars-and-cents issues, among other matters. With so many people out of work because of the recession, and signs of economic rebound hard to glimpse, the number of calls to the programs has skyrocketed.

Aetna Behavioral Health, part of Aetna Inc., the health insurer, said it saw a 60 percent increase in program members seeking help in the third quarter of 2008, versus the same period of 2007. Financial stress was the main source of the increase, Aetna said.

“We’re hearing more and more people raising financial and economic concerns,” said Dennis Derr, who runs the firm’s E.A.P.’s. “We started noticing that trend in the middle of last year, with people saying they’re in debt or concerned about being laid off.”

In our research study, Beating the Bear Market with Engaged Employees , we identify five differentiators that can make a positive impact on employee engagement in the midst of these tough times, and taking care of employees is front and center.


  • Do you have an EAP program?
  • If so, is the program well publicized?
  • Can you help managers to encourage the use of services such as EAP?

Winning Employee Wellness and Engagement, From My Hometown

2 Feb

 Here’s a report about a group called  Simply Well from Omaha, Nebraska that is doing outstanding work in helping employees take greater responsibility for their own health and, in doing so, enjoying the benefit of increased employee engagement. The article features a local company:

The case study featured was the Greater Omaha Packing Company, Inc. (GOP). GOP has annual sales of nearly $1 billion and is ranked 5th in beef processing nationally. Since implementing simplyWell in 2001, GOP has experienced significant improvement in employee engagement as well as measurable clinical improvement.

Founder and President of simplyWell, james T. canedy, MD, attributed the group’s success to giving employees the right information at the right time as it relates to their health.

“By engaging patients in their own health and providing them the appropriate tools, they can manage their health more effectively,” said Dr. canedy. “Our studies show that a higher engagement rate in one’s health drives a trend of decreasing risk and cost. That is what simplyWell focuses on”.

This results is very much in keeping with our studies of outstanding workplaces– a committment to employee well being is a significant driver of employee engagement.


  • Are you actively working to improve your well-care efforts?
  • What benefits could you experience with a greater emphasis on “health care”, instead of simply diagnosing and treating disease?

“Good Enough” Isn’t Good Enough Anymore

22 Jan

Five years ago I was working with a client, reviewing their employee survey results. The data indicated that many employees were unfavorable to the employee benefits offerings. In discussing what should be done the CEO said to me: “I wish our benefits could be better, but I think they’re good enough. I know it might be a thorn for some of our staff, but I don’t think people are disengaging and leaving over this.”

At that time, this CEO could have been right. Our studies then indicated that benefits were a moderate driver of engagement. Fast forwarding five years to today I can tell you employee perceptions about benefits have risen much higher as a driver. In fact, we now see it as one of the six most important drivers that an employer must address.

  • Are your benefits “just good enough”?
  • What could you do to help employees know that you genuinely care about their well being, now that we know it is a more significant driver?
  • What low cost, or no cost, actions can be taken, given our current economic challenges?

The Defintion of Insanity…

20 Jan

In an earlier post I mentioned that my colleague Leigh Branham and I are now seeing that health and well-being is a significant driver of employee engagement, taking on far more importance now than five years ago. Why has it risen in the priority ranking in terms of differentiating between low and high levels of employee engagement?

One answer may lie in a study reported in the January, 2009 edition of HR Focus. The study indicates that although wages have increased 14.5% from 2000 to 2007, family health care coverage rose 78.3%, a average increase 5.4 times faster than the medium wage– yikes!

In a focus group interview I recently conducted on behalf of a client this concern came through loud and clear. Several employees said: “The good news is I was very productive last year and got a nice raise. The bad news is I gave it all back in increased health care premiums!

Is this the experience at your place of work? Many employers keep the same approach to health care, and don’t get any better results… insanity, right? Over the coming weeks I’ll be discussing some ideas we’ve found that may work to stem this tide– would love to get your thoughts…