As part of a new project at CAP, each month we will be featuring a guest blogger from across the agency. Rainey Talbot, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, is our fourth blogger.
In 2009, the Senior Leadership of CAP knew that an investment in employee health and wellness would not only have a positive impact on reduced insurance claims and improve employee well—being but that happy and healthy employees make for happy clients. And in our environment, it is very important to be good role models for the children we serve and their families. But the program was having lack luster results due to inconsistent communications and a less than user-friendly tracking tool.
Last year a concerted effort was made to get input on what improvements were needed to make the program more successful. A review of tracking tools was conducted to find something more intuitive and robust to accommodate a wide range of lifestyles, including those that were already healthy and looking to maintain. Additionally, employees were asked to provide lots of feedback on what they wanted to see including more health logs to help them track things like food and exercise as well as blood pressure and blood glucose, and more company sponsored activities.
CAP rolled out a revamped Wellness program in January with a new tracking tool that allows participants to focus on how they can kick-off a healthier lifestyle or how to amp up an already active one. The program for 2012 includes opportunities to participate in Community Events like Race for the Cure and the MLK Parade, company-wide healthy recipe potlucks, WellChats on various health and nutrition topics, and on-line wellness workshops to earn points. Annual doctor’s visits for preventative screenings, biometrics, and an on-line health assessment accumulate points in the new program as well.
Employees have already felt the benefit of having a wellness plan in place when it was announced that our insurance provider would keep health insurance costs flat for those that participated in CAPwellness in 2012. And those earning points can receive additional incentives along the way like a CAP duffel bag, subscriptions to Cooking Light Magazine, “Wellness Warrior” t-shirts, and even a paid day off work for reaching the maximum point’s goal.
With less than one month in the plan, our employee participation in the new program is at 63% of total employees and has already surpassed participation rates from previous years! An increased focus on communication about the plan prior to launch along with a WellChat at every site to demo the new on-line tracking tool and to explain the points and incentives have really helped. Additionally, CAP arranged for biometric screenings for all interested employees in December and has placed bathroom scales at sites to support weight tracking. Some sites have even started their own weight-loss competitions! And to ensure a trusted advisor is readily available for program assistance, we have developed a network of “Wellness Ambassadors” that have received advanced training on the program and will meet regularly to ensure Wellness issues and current topics are regularly discussed at staff meetings throughout the organization.
Setting up a successful Wellness program takes time and planning, but can create a unique enthusiasm amongst employees. It’s surprising the number of conversations we now have and overhear about health and wellness! Many of the incentives are low-cost and have the added benefit of further promoting our organization and healthy activities. Some of the events are even no cost, like the potlucks or setting up a CAPwellness team for the Heart Walk. Having a small committee that is devoted to finding activities that work for your organization and getting them communicated can make a real difference in the success of a program.
The challenge now for CAP is to make sure we sustain this enthusiasm. Our long-term plan includes constant communication about wellness topics and activities to participate in, quarterly WellChats, and leveraging Wellness Ambassadors to keep their co-workers motivated and to let us know about topics of interest. It will take time and focus, but right now it looks like we have their attention and a plan to keep it!
This post was written by Rainey Talbot, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at CAP.