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Q&A with 2016 Silver WorkWell MA Award Winner, athenahealth

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Tuesday, December 13, 2016

2016 WorkWell MA Silver Award Winner, athenahealth
Interview with Kate Farren

 

athenahealth was featured on our blog on June 8, 2016 during a Q&A session about being a 2015 WorkWell MA Award Winner.  Much of the information remains the same about their wellness program which can be found here, however, there was one additional question that was answered this year. 

 

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for you/your team?
Being recognized among so many top Massachusetts organizations is a true honor. Our fellow award winners are strong innovators who clearly have a passion for the health and wellbeing of their employees; a passion demonstrated in the programs these employers create and experiences they provide for their population. Partnering with the WWCMA and getting to engage with so many other likeminded individuals and organizations is such a benefit and provides a platform from which we can both teach and learn from one another.

 

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Q&A with 2016 Silver WorkWell MA Award Winner, Pegasystems

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Monday, December 12, 2016

 

2016 WorkWell MA Silver Award Winner, Pegasystems
Interview with Crystal McDermott

Tell us about yourself and your organization. 
Pegasystems (Pega) develops strategic applications for sales, marketing, service and operations. Pega’s applications streamline critical business operations, connect enterprises to their customers seamlessly in real-time across channels, and adapt to meet rapidly changing requirements. 

Pega is a global company with offices in 19 countries, serving many of the world’s leading and most sophisticated Enterprises.  

Together with Eve Gao, Pega’s Benefits Specialist, I develop and support robust benefit offerings to our North American employees, including the wellness program.   Some of our wellness programs are offered to our employees worldwide.  

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for you/your team?
This recognition is yet another objective measure of the success of our program.  We hear regular feedback from our employees and their families about the positive effects that our wellness program has.  This honor demonstrates that our program measures up against all of the best and brightest.  We are thrilled to receive this honor and share this success with our employees who strive every day to improve their lives and make Pega an amazing place to work. 

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
While the tangible benefits such as an increase in preventive care and physical activity are clear, the team building and improvement to organizational health are less easily quantified, but equally beneficial.  These programs serve to both improve the overall health of our employees and their families while at the same time helping to create an atmosphere filled with comradery, healthy competition and a strong focus on positive outcomes.  

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
Currently our wellness program, PegaUP!, is constructed of three parts including physical health, financial health and mental and emotional health.  We regularly engage employees in various initiatives around physical health, encouraging increased activity and preventive care. An example of these include our global fitness challenges, an engaging Health Risk Assessment for employees and spouses, onsite yoga and HIIT classes.  Pega has also implemented a fun points-based system for earning a cash-incentive; “the more you do, the more you earn”.  

Supporting our employees financial health has included seminars on planning for Medicare, Retirement planning and Eldercare.  Programs to help with stress relief, time management and onsite massages help to manage our employee’s mental and emotional well-being.  In the coming year, we will continue to focus on all of the above as well as investigating expanded options in the area of mental and emotional health as well as planning for retirement. 

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
We have received direct feedback from employees that significant and sometimes serious issues have been caught early as a direct result of the employee engaging in preventive care. We’ve had numerous employees’ state that because of our wellness plan, this is the first time in years that they had an annual physical, dental or vision exam.  

These are the type of results that make us the most proud.  When an employee, inspired by the wellness program, makes the decision to take better care of themselves, the program is having a clear and measurable effect on the life of the employee and by extension, the Pega community.   

Additionally, many of the initiatives result in employees coming together to compete with or against each other in healthy challenges.  This creates opportunities for individuals to meet and build even stronger working relationships.  These benefits extend beyond wellness, creating a cohesive Pega team.  

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
We feel our PegaUP! wellness program is unique in that we focus on total well-being.  While we offer many wellness programs to encourage a focus on physical activities, we also offer other initiatives focused on financial well-being and emotional well-being.  We think this is important to help our employees feel “emotionally fit” which has had a positive impact on our company culture.  

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 
Our entire leadership team supports our wellness activities.  Our greatest wellness champion is our CEO and Founder, Alan Trefler.  Alan has always supported our wellness activities and continues to support us offering a new Fitbit to our new hires.  This gets employees engaged from Day One!   

There are wellness champions throughout the Pega community including many of our top leaders.  A Vice President regularly attends our on-site yoga classes, many take advantage of our on-site biometric screenings, and others encourage their teams to participate in the wellness challenges.  In each of the functional areas of the wellness program, there are many different members who help us to promote the initiatives and encourage other employees to engage to improve their own well-being.   

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
Start small.  Focus first on low hanging fruit. Deliver initiatives that your employees are immediately interested in.  As you earn credibility with your employees, you can then introduce more challenging and niche programs.  

Communicating to your employees is critical.  Be prepared to say your message numerous ways and times.  Most of all, remember that for many people, health can be a scary thing and something they can easily put off in place of work, family and other distractions/stresses in their life.  By making your program fun, and interesting, you have a great opportunity to engage your employees in initiatives that will improve their overall health and well-being while creating a positive company culture which can strengthen your company.

 

Tags:  AwardsMassachusetts  Employee Engagement  HR  Human Resources  Pegasystems  Q&A  wellness ambassadors  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards 

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Q&A with 2016 Silver WorkWell MA Award Winner, Kronos, Inc.

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Monday, December 5, 2016

 

2016 WorkWell MA Silver Award Winner, Kronos
Interview with Tori Kulungian

 

Tell us about your yourself and your organization. 
I am a Benefits Specialist working in HR and focusing on benefits administration in the U.S. as well as the creation of our national and global wellness programming.  I have been with Kronos for 1 ½ years, beginning as an intern, and then transitioning to working as a full time employee in 2016 upon graduation from college. 

Kronos is a global provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions based in Massachusetts. About 40 years ago we were the first to put a microprocessor in a timeclock, and today have grown into a $1.2 billion global software provider that helps organizations manage their most strategic asset: their workforces. We have tens of thousands of customers around the world in all different vertical markets, and more than 40 million people use a Kronos solution every day. We’re also proud to be consistently named a best place to work for our award-winning WorkInspired culture. We’ve been recognized by the likes of The Boston Globe, Forbes, The Globe and Mail, and the Great Place to Work® Institute in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and India. 


Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for you/your team?
We are extremely excited and honored as a WWCMA WorkWell Award recipient. We have worked hard to grow and develop our wellness program and our efforts have been recognized by the WWCMA by raising our rank from a Bronze to Silver award recipient. We are thrilled to have our LiveInspired wellness program recognized as a one of the best in Massachusetts and we look forward to continuing its growth in the upcoming year. 

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
Wellness programming is a key component of our WorkInspired culture at Kronos. LiveInspired wellness encompasses a wide range of financial, physical, emotional, and mental wellness benefits and programs for Kronites and their families. Kronos understands that happy and healthy employees are more satisfied with their jobs and therefore more engaged in their work – which translates into better products, better services, and happier customers. This virtuous cycle belief is the foundation for LiveInspired benefits. Our robust wellness plan is designed to empower Kronites to take the steps necessary to improve their personal wellness through offerings such as informational webinars, group competitions, and personal wellness plans. 

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
We have implemented various programs in different areas. We have a full-time Wellness Specialist and Coach that sits on site, as well as a part-time trainer for our employees to meet their health and wellness goals. We have an onsite gym with extended weekend hours, as well as many group exercise classes. We host quarterly wellness challenges, and aim to engage our global population when possible. These challenges include our annual walking challenge, a stress reduction program around the holidays, and a 12-week weight loss challenge. Some of our new wellness offerings include a Wellness Ambassador program, nationally offered meditation classes onsite and through webinars, and an online fitness class pilot for our remote employees. The Ambassador program has taken off and will begin to expand to other locations.  It includes a network of employees throughout the United States who are passionate about wellness. These ambassadors spread our wellness programs and knowledge to other employees. 


What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
We have seen various outcomes from our wellness programming throughout the years. The Wellness Ambassadors are able to push out wellness programs coming from the corporate office in Massachusetts out to our other U.S. offices and remote employees. The Ambassadors understand the wellness wants and needs of these populations better than corporate does and are able to effectively generate engagement and awareness. They also are encouraged to make wellness unique at their local offices. For instance, our Indianapolis innovation center, which has close to 200 employees, has been able to do this by generating participation in a local race, as well as implementing a water drinking challenge. 

Additionally, our meditation program was aimed to not only impact HQ-based employees, but to further engage our remote population. We have had positive feedback that the webinar sessions are extremely valuable and are alleviating stress in many of our employees. 

Overall, our Wellness Specialist and Coach has seen outcomes in the health of our population from individual and group coaching. Some recent coaching “wins” include employees lowering A1c levels, blood pressure, weight loss over 50 lbs., and navigating life transition without crisis.

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
Our wellness program is unique in the fact that we value work-life balance and focus not only on physical health, but also the mental and emotional health aspects that often are overlooked. We tackled the tough topic of the growing Opioid epidemic in our “Not In My Backyard” live webinar, which included resources for employees that may be facing this growing crisis at home with family members.  We coordinated with our EAP, local resources, and an employee that has lived through the experience supporting a loved one.  The session was a groundbreaking success and Kronos was invited by the Massachusetts Health Council to present on what we did.

Adding to our WorkInspired culture, we have a corporate giving initiative, GiveInspired.  which urges employees to give back to the communities in which Kronites live and work. They can do this by using their open myTime paid time off hours for volunteering, coordinate team-based volunteering initiatives, and take advantage of our charitable matching program for individual contributions. We view this as yet another part of our overall wellness. 

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 
Our executive team, led by CEO Aron Ain and Chief People Officer David Almeda, strongly believe in creating an inspired place to work where family and health come before the job. They set the tone for our WorkInspired culture, but our culture is fortified by Kronites each and every day. Specific to wellness, it’s our group of 15 wellness ambassadors throughout the various Kronos offices around the U.S. that share corporate wellness with their teams in the form of corporate wellness content as well as unique programs they are inspired by. 

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
Robust wellness programs are not built over night, and they are never finished – be patient and persistent in your efforts. We have been growing our wellness program for around 7 years now, and we continue to adapt our offerings to the needs of employees. Wellness programs are never one-size-fits-all, either. Take a look at the market and see what programs other companies are implementing, and the success they have seen. Then, when implementing your own programs, find a balance that will best support your company’s culture, strategy, and employee preferences.

 

 

Tags:  AwardsMassachusetts  Human Resources  Kronos  Massachusetts  Q&A  wellness ambassadors  wellness champions  Worksite Wellness  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards  WWCMA 

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Q&A with 2016 Bronze Level WorkWell MA Award Winner, Tocci Building Companies

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Friday, December 2, 2016

                                   

 

2016 WorkWell MA Bronze Award Winner, Tocci Building Companies
Interview with Lila Tocci

 

Tell us about yourself and your organization.  
Tocci Building Companies is a family run construction company. For over 90 years, we have taken great pride in what we do, but we also like to have fun.  We combine our building experience with a unique collaborative process to optimize the cost, design, and assembly of buildings that perform efficiently and delight users.

Tocci has taken a holistic approach to wellness.  We wanted to make it simple and memorable with our three main goals being to educate employees to eat better, exercise more and stress less.  Our program began back in 2011 at the suggestion of three of our female employees.  We created a survey to determine what employees were looking for in a wellness program.  Exercising more was very popular and surprisingly employees also wanted to create an onsite garden.  

We then explored finding the right wellness company to help educate our employees.  Our first session included a cooking demo with a taste testing that featured grains and greens. The dishes were easy to prepare using reasonably priced ingredients bought at the local supermarket.  Everyone saw how quinoa and garbanzo beans could be used to make delicious yet simple meals. Employees were then given the recipe to try at home.  Everyone really enjoyed and appreciated the event!

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for your team/you?  
It is a great honor to be chosen as one of the healthiest companies and it means that all our hard work and effort to create a holistic approach to wellness has been validated.  We took on a wellness initiative because we felt it was the right thing to do but recognition from the wellness industry confirms our work.

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
We feel they are important for a few reasons.  Today, everyone is so busy both at work and in their personal lives.  Many have set personal goals for themselves and we, as an organization need to give them the opportunity to reach their goals not put up barriers.  For example, some employees set a goal to workout 3 or 4 days a week, but fitting that in can be a challenge.  We recognized this and built an onsite gym with showers.  Now they can come in early, workout at lunch or stay a little later and not feel stressed that they won’t have the time to exercise. 

Wellness takes on many forms and although we know exercise and nutrition are important so is our employees’ mental health. Finding fun ways to de-stress is also key.  In an effort to reduce stress we have offered the following:
Garden Activity- Join us in the garden to plant, harvest, or pull weeds to let off some steam!
Financial Wellness- In June we held a Lunch and Learn: Personal Financial Literacy 101 and that spawned interest in our 401(k)s, so we’re planning a workshop with Fidelity in January 
Rest & Relationships-  A facilitator led a workshop a couple years ago, on “Making time for what matters most”.
Last winter as a way to break from work midday we hosted a couple reading lunches where people read for pleasure and we served soup. 


What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
We have offered cooking demos, created an onsite garden, and provide “Healthy Breakfast Fridays” each week.  Feeding people is a very personal experience and one we feel is important.  People feel cared for and we recognize that someone’s emotional state is as important as their physical state.  If we can take one task off our employees “To do” list each week, we know it has an impact.  Our kitchen also has a LeanBox stocked with healthy foods which our employees really appreciate.

Another initiative we began was a Fitbit Challenge.  Each week the person with the most steps received a balloon and trophy.  We couldn’t believe how competitive employees were (all in fun) to display that trophy at their desk for the week!
In the months leading up to the Rio Olympics, we initiated a company “Walk to Rio Challenge”. Everyone could participate and they saw that small changes add up to big changes.

We also provide information to employees through our Tocci News- a bi-monthly newsletter that includes recipes and tips on staying healthy.

We try to combine social activities with Wellness and Giving.  We’ve sponsored group activities outside of work including Paintball, Dodge Volleyball, Sporting Events, and a Mobile Blood Drive.  We’re planning an Escape the Room which is a team building exercise and a Souper Bowl Challenge to share soups and chili to celebrate the Super Bowl. 


What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees?
When we were launching the “Walk to Rio Challenge” one employee said, “I can’t work out in the gym but I can walk!”  and promptly joined the YMCA and has lost 20 lbs.  To create a foundation for that kind of change is very rewarding.

The overall feedback to our program has been very positive.  We know it is working when we see employees using the onsite gym on a regular basis and attending onsite fitness classes with the personal trainer we bring in weekly.

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share?
We have taken a team approach to wellness.  We have made wellness part of our culture along with safety and communications.  We follow a “lean” philosophy which is creating more value for customers with fewer resources. A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to respect people and reduce waste.

We are always interested in feedback from our employees.  Our suggestion box is one way to determine what is important to our people.  One employee recently made the suggestion to listen to Podcasts as a way to reduce stress while in traffic or in the car for long periods of time.  We have a team curating podcasts.

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc.) 
We have a whole team and always invite visitors. Our champions include our Marketing Manager Vanessa Rhodes, a Marketing Associate Joanne Castner, Planning Coordinator Tammi-Jo Gott and I: together we lead a team of 12.  It’s important to have several people promoting the program on all levels, and we’re glad our CEO John Tocci is a strong supporter.

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
Don’t be discouraged if initially what you are trying to achieve is not working.  It takes time to facilitate change.  Listen to your people- they will guide you and also try different things.  If you put the effort in and are consistent you will see the fruits of your labor!

 

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Q&A with 2016 Bronze Level WorkWell MA Award Winner, Alkermes

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Wednesday, November 23, 2016

 

2016 WorkWell MA Bronze Award Winner, Alkermes
Interview with Shannon Smith

Tell us about your yourself and your organization. 
Alkermes is a leader in innovative medicines that address the unmet needs and challenges of people living with debilitating diseases. As a fully integrated global biopharmaceutical company, Alkermes applies our scientific expertise, proprietary technologies and global resources to develop products that are designed to make a meaningful difference in the way patients manage their disease.

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for you/your team?
We are honored to be recognized for developing a program that reflects our company’s mission of improving health through innovation. Our organization depends on us to make the work/life experience as pleasant and easy as possible, and helping our employees improve their health is the greatest reward our team can hope to achieve. 

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
The development of medicines for patients depends on the well-being of our employees. Our Wellness Incentive Plan is a motivator—it offers benefits for all employees to help them live happier and healthier lives. 

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
Our Wellness Incentive Plan is our core wellness program, however, we provide opportunities for nutrition, stress reduction and fitness as often as we can. For example, we provide onsite yoga classes, “Mindfulness” programs, walking / running challenges and healthy eating opportunities at our dining facilities. We will continue to seek ways to streamline our program to meet the needs of employees and we’ll look for new and innovative methods to encourage healthy behaviors. 

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
Employees regard the Wellness Incentive Plan as an essential part of our benefits package. New hires are impressed with the Company’s commitment to health and wellness. We take great pride in the fact that we are encouraging a culture of happy and healthy employees who like to come to work.

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
One of the programs that we are most proud of is our TriAthlone Challenge.  There is a triathlon that is held each year in the town of Athlone, Ireland where our Irish manufacturing plant is located.  Each year, our U.S. employees compete for a chance to win a round trip ticket to Ireland to participate alongside their colleagues in Athlone.  Employees need to complete at least one triathlon in the U.S. in the calendar year. The more triathlons they participate in the more they increase their odds of winning.  It is a really great event that has steadily increased participation over the years.

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 
Executive Management Team, Human Resources, and our employees.

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
With an approach that rewards and doesn’t penalize, employees feel a partnership with HR and an appreciation for our commitment to their well-being. It’s a recruiting tool, and a retention tool, and it helps build loyalty and a sense of community among our workforce. 


 

Tags:  Alkermes  AwardsMassachusetts  Human Resources  Q&A  Wellness  wellness champions  wellness programs  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards  WWCMA 

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Q&A with 2016 Silver WorkWell MA Award Winner, Signature Healthcare

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Wednesday, November 23, 2016

 

2016 WorkWell MA Silver Award Winner, Signature Healthcare
Interview with Jennifer McCarthy

Tell us about your yourself and your organization. 
Founded as Brockton Hospital in 1896, the Hospital is the oldest and largest inpatient facility in its service area, which is designated as the city of Brockton and twenty-one surrounding municipalities. The organization includes 550 affiliated physicians and other direct care providers, 150 employed physicians and a total of 2,200 associates operating from locations in Abington, Bridgewater, Brockton, Hanson, Easton, Randolph, and Raynham.  Employee wellness is a top priority at Signature Healthcare. As a healing institution, we care for the well-being of our employees in the same way we care for the well-being of our patients. We know our employees are our greatest asset and we are making an investment in their health and well being. Wellness Together is designed to guide our employees on this journey.

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for you/your team?
Receiving this award was a great honor for our organization as we have recently made employee wellness an organizational strategic goal. It validates that our hard work and dedication as a wellness team to our employees is in line with other organizations across Massachusetts. We are proud to be offering a best in class wellness program to our organization.


Why are wellness programs important for your organization?  
As a healthcare organization we set an example to our patients and to the community. By offering wellness programs that help our employees on their wellness goals, we can give them the resources to live healthier lives and therefore they are able provide better care to the patients and the community  all while demonstrating to them the positive impacts of a health lifestyle.  

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
We have implemented free yoga and Zumba classes, onsite and telephonic health coaching, 16- week weight loss classes, individual and team based physical activity challenges, mindfulness challenges, biometric screenings and “Know Your Numbers” events, educational and awareness campaigns. 

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees?
We have been increasing physical activity and lowering health risks for our employees and their spouses. We have made employees more aware of their health risks and are working with them to take control of their own health and well-being as they work with our health coaches on achieving their wellness goals. 

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share?
Many programs offer telephonic health coaching but our program offers onsite health coaching with our registered nurse health coaches to the employees and to their spouses. This type of personal connection during an employee’s wellness journey can impact their success. These coaches also run our weight loss and diabetes prevention classes onsite. 

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc.) 
We have wellness champions across all our sites that work in all different divisions and roles. Our CEO is our biggest supporter and helps lead the way in wellness by setting a great example for employees and supporting our program! 

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program?
Know your audience. Not every wellness program is the same because every work environment is different. Interact with your workforce and find out what they want and what they need and tailor your programs and communications around that. We are recently learning how to reach out to employees who are not engaged yet but have thought about wellness and we are working on how we can get them to take action. Everyone in your organization reacts to different communication styles. 

 

Tags:  Employee Engagement  Human Resources  Signature Healthcare  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards  WWCMA 

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"Please Join Us - All Levels Welcome!" Kristie Howard on the Impact of Worksite Wellness

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"Please Join Us - All Levels Welcome"
by Kristie Howard, WWCMA Founder and Co-Chair

If you were able to attend our sold-out Annual Conference at Gillette Stadium on September 20, you heard Kristie Howard, WWCMA Founder and Board Co-Chair, open the day with her gutsy personal story on how worksite wellness and leadership training influenced her personal and professional life. As a writer, I did not edit much of her speech. Her challenges and triumphs shine through in her own words. Enjoy Kristie’s insights and please share with others.  
– Laura Polas, WWCMA Marketing & Communications Chair


One of the things I love about the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts is that it draws such a diverse group of people, yet we’re all aligned in our collective Purpose: We’re passionate about helping improve employee health and well-being, and we’re here to learn and share as much as we can, so that we can go back to our workplaces and do things a little bit better than we did before.   

I’d like to spend a few minutes exploring the theme of this conference.  As a community of wellness professionals, we have come to understand that wellness efforts shouldn’t just be about assessments, screenings, and health risk reduction.  Time and time again we’ve seen that employers have the most success when they address employee wellbeing beyond just physical health, and when they work to create conditions in which people can thrive.   

In fact, the two most impactful things an employer has ever done for my personal wellbeing had NOTHING to do with a formal wellness program. 

It was 2001.  I was a year and a half out of college, young and ambitious. I’d just accepted a promotion and my employer relocated me to Boston, where I had no friends or family. I felt isolated, overwhelmed with my new job, and my weight had skyrocketed to the highest point ever.   At a visit with my doctor, they said I was obese, and I was stunned. I knew I needed to change; I just didn’t have the motivation to take the first step.   

It was then that I was invited to participate in the company’s leadership development training program, four full days of training with the company’s top leadership, from the CEO on down to little old me, a mid-level manager at the ripe old age of 24. 

This was not your typical job or leadership training – it was a combination of skill training, and mindset/belief training. It teaches you how to think like Successful people:  how to be Adaptable, Confident, Focused, Resilient, Creative, Accountable, Persistent, and Fearless.

The first two days focused on self-leadership: building motivation and personal responsibility to improve oneself.  We were encouraged to focus on whatever we wanted, be it personal or professional goals.  I recall being laser focused on two things: my weight, and my next career move.  

Within a year, I had lost 50 lbs., was promoted again and accepted a position in sales, something I’d never believed I could do.   To say that leadership training was a life changing experience may seem over the top, but it is true.    

Fast forward to 2008.  Lots of life had happened in those seven years – illness of a parent, two job changes, married, first house, and a dog.   Though I’d kept most of the weight off, slowly it had crept up. 

And then Wellness Gift number 2 happened.

I was working for a small company that had a work hard/play hard type of culture.  It was very collaborative and social but was also competitive with an unusually high number of former athletes.   I’d been there less than a year when I got an email inviting me to sign up for a charity road race.  Now, I had figured out how to fit exercise into my life, but I never was a runner – in fact, I’d never run a mile in my life. 

There was one seemingly small thing that pushed me over the edge to sign up.   The email said, “Please Join Us - All Levels Welcome.”  I thought, I could walk it.  And maybe I can get another walker to sign up, so I’m not the only one.  It is a few months away and maybe I could try my hand at running and see how I do.   I got a walking buddy to sign up.  I signed up for the Couch to 5k training program online.   I got myself a great pair of running shoes… and I was off to the races.

Now, I’d like to tell you that I ran the entire 3.5 miles that year, but I’d be lying.  Not that that matters.  I remember vividly the amazing feeling I had the first time I ran past the one mile mark and then kept going another couple of minutes before I needed a walk break.  I remember how amazing it felt two years later when I did run the entire 3.5 miles in that same charity race.  And to this day, going for a run is my favorite form of exercise.  While I’m running, I almost always reflect on how grateful I am that the person who sent the email said: “All Levels Welcome”.

Where am I in my personal wellness journey?  With a one-year-old and four-year-old and working spouse at home, and working hard to advance in my career, I’ll admit that I’ve let my physical health slide a bit.  I did my health assessment and screening this year to earn the wellness rate on my health insurance premiums.   I even had a couple of calls with a health coach as part of my company’s wellness program.  But what do I appreciate even more?  That I have the flexibility to work from home, saving me the hour and a half commute, and I can go for a quick run or hop on my Peloton spin bike in between conference calls. That I’ve got tools available to help me track my personal finances and manage my budget, so I don’t have to be as stressed about money.   That my company offers backup daycare that will send someone to my home to care for my kids when they’re sick, so I can be productive at work.   

Reflecting on my personal wellness journey has caused me to think a little differently about how to make a real difference in employee wellbeing, and I hope it will do the same for you.

 

Tags:  Annual Conference  Em?s  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs  WWCMA Annual Conference 

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Q&A with 2016 Silver WorkWell MA Award Winner, Borislow Insurance

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2016 WorkWell MA Silver Award Winner, Borislow Insurance
Interview with Travis L. Horne

Tell us about yourself and your organization. 

Borislow Insurance:
Borislow Insurance is a leading employee benefits agency, serving clients in many states across a wide variety of industries. BI is centered not on traditional brokerage but on Strategic Advisory Partnerships with our clients. In this way, BI nurtures relationship with many clients that goes way beyond brokerage. At a time of great uncertainty and change in healthcare, the insurance industry and the economy, BI remains among the fastest growing and most respected agencies of its kind.

Travis L. Horne, MBA
Director of Health & Wellbeing
Travis has over twenty plus years of experience in the population healthy management industry.  As the Director of Health & Wellbeing he is responsible for the overall strategic vision, development and execution of employer’s culture of health and wellbeing to positively impact business goals and improve employee productivity.

Before joining Borislow Travis was the Director of Health & Productivity at Unum, Wellness Consultant for Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Massachusetts and a Health & Safety Advisor for the New Hampshire Local Government Center. 

Travis’s expertise includes identifying business solutions that will have the most financial and operational impact to clients.  Business solutions include actionable health & wellbeing and population health management programs, delivered through data analysis, vendor partnerships and client engagement.  


Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for your team/you?

Borislow Insurance is proud to have been named a WorkWell Massachusetts Award Program winner for exemplary worksite health promotion. The award recognizes Borislow’s achievements developing, implementing, and participating in corporate health improvement and wellness programs. 

Borislow Insurance offers employees a personalized experience through our innovative approach, which cultivates a culture of health and wellbeing, drives behavior change and encompasses the whole person.  We engage employees through assessments and surveys, which provide guidance to develop our wellbeing roadmap.  Our approach to employee and business health is the unique component that makes Borislow Insurance one of the healthiest places to work.

The employees of Borislow Insurance feel it’s important to walk the walk and talk the talk, which is a key component to our continued success.  It’s a great honor to be named a 2016 WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts winner.  

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
Borislow Insurance feels that programs focused on employees needs holistically are necessary to develop and sustain a culture of health & wellbeing in an organization.  BI integrates wellness programming, wellbeing activities and culture enhancements in the work day to enrich the personal experience, which in return creates increased productivity and morale and a decrease in employee absenteeism.   All these factors in turn make BI one of the healthiest places to work.

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
Borislow Insurance has implemented several wellbeing activities that are geared towards employee health & wellbeing and address our five core elements; physical, financial, workplace, community and mind-spirit wellbeing.  In 2017 BI will have enhanced the existing rewards platform with a new tool that will target employee’s health & wellbeing needs/wants and reward based on individual engagement.   

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 

This is yet to be determined; the tool will not be in place until 1-1-2017.

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
The major aspect that we feel is unique in the industry is that we are focusing on employee’s holistic needs through benefits and not just a “wellness one-off” program.  Wellness one-off programs are fun, but benefits that focus on employees needs help to solve a problem or fill a gap.  A combination of wellness one-off’s and benefit offerings address all employees elements of health & wellbeing. 

Who are your wellness champions? 
Owners of Borislow Insurance
Senior Leadership
Employees of Borislow Insurance

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
- Walk, Jog, Run
- Focus on the culture and not just a wellness program
- Build a 3-year strategy that addresses all five elements of health & wellbeing
- Invest: An incentive structure is imperative for success 

 

 

 

Tags:  Borislow Insurance  Q&A  wellness programs  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards 

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Financial Stress in the Modern Workforce

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Friday, November 11, 2016

Increasing workloads, caring for children or aging parents, commuting, finding matching socks - these are all likely stressors you have experienced as a member of the modern workforce. While some stressors can be more readily left at home, others have the potential to follow us to work and impact our productivity. Recent research has revealed that concerns over personal finances are indeed being carried into the workplace. In a 2016 survey by PwC, more than a quarter of respondents (28%) reported that their stress over finances has been a distraction at work. With an increasing number of millennials entering the workforce with student loan debt, the stress is only expected to rise. 

But millennials aren't the only ones affected by financial stress. In fact, nearly 70% of workers report dealing with some kind of financial stress in their lives (source), with 47% revealing they would have trouble covering a $400 expense in an emergency (source). The burden is clear, and is doesn't stop with the employee. The impact on productivity and absenteeism is a serious concern for employers. Lost productivity is estimated to cost businesses $230 billion per year in total, or an average of $5,000 per employee (source). 

This type of worry is being felt across all income levels, so employers should be careful not to make assumptions about where to direct financial wellness messages and resources. The best approach for employers is to design practical programs and tools that are appropriate for their unique workforce. Attend our December seminar, "Financial Stress in the Modern Workforce," to learn how to help your employees better manage their money and their financial stress, leaving them more time to be productive at work and improving the organization's bottom line.

Tags:  Financial wellness  worksite wellness  worksite wellness programs 

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Q&A with 2016 Bronze Level WorkWell MA Award Winner, Stutevant, Inc.

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Friday, November 4, 2016

2016 WorkWell MA Bronze Award Winner, Sturtevant, Inc.
Interview with Erin Barr 

Tell us about your yourself and your organization. 
Sturtevant is headquartered in Hanover, MA and has 33 employees. We are the leading family-owned manufacturer of material processing equipment including the patented Micronizer® jet mill which produces sub-micron sized particles, Powderizer® an air-swept impact mill with integral classifier, Simpactor® and Infestroyer, centrifugal, pin-type impact mills and three types of high performance air classifiers that separate fine and coarse particles with precision and accuracy.
 
Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for team/you? 
Sturtevant is pleased to be recognized for our Wellness efforts.  Our Wellness Committee has worked diligently over the last 3 years to develop a plan that is relevant and fun to other employees. 

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?

Sturtevant’s Wellness Program is important as it has shifted our culture to a more healthy awareness.  We look to create a more productive environment by fostering a culture to include work/life balance and healthy choices. 

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
Sturtevant’s Wellness programs have focused on physical activity and nutrition.  As a company, we participate in monthly activities such as nature walks and nutrition workshops. Six months ago, we implemented a weekly “bootcamp” class for employees at a local gym. We send out annual surveys to employees to gauge interest in wellness activities.  The focus has remained on nutrition and physical activity for the past 3 years.

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
Employees have been engaged in many of our programs.  I feel that we are creating a supportive environment for those employees wishing to lead a healthy life style.  

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
We have partnered with a local gym for weekly company paid “bootcamp” classes.  A few employees have also joined the gym and utilize the facilities in addition to the weekly class.  

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 

We are fortunate to have the support of all senior management.  Our wellness committee includes: Erin Barr, Controller
Janice Brennan, Bookkeeper
Marie Sheehan, Secretary
Steve Marshall, Marketing Manager
Rich Robatzek, Product Manager
Jason Swift, Purchasing Dept

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 

When we were establishing our wellness plan, we found it very helpful to survey the employees.  We wanted to provide relevant programs in order to engage employees.  It is also important to have management support.  Having the support of senior management gave credibility to our efforts.  

 

Tags:  Sturtevant  wellness programs  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards 

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