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

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Wednesday, December 14, 2016


2016 WorkWell MA Bronze Award Winner, Flexcon Industries
Interview with Kim Smith

Tell us about yourself and your organization. 
Flexcon Industries, a member of the Swan Group, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of pre-pressurized diaphragm tanks used in water storage applications. Focusing on quality, innovation, and customer service since 1989 they have positioned their products at the forefront of the industry. Flexcon is the first company to offer a stainless-steel water connection on a well tank, a union connection, the first flow thru tank for constant pressure systems, and the first diaphragm composite tank.

I am the Administrative Assistant/Wellness Coordinator and, along with Vicki Scopa, run the wellness program.  We organize seminars, challenges and bring in vendors from the health and wellness industry. We also handle all program communications including newsletters, postings and emails.

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for team you/your team?
We have worked hard to organize and maintain our wellness program so this means a lot to us and shows us that our efforts are worthwhile.  Vicki and I both do this in our spare time so winning an award is validation that our program is on track and working. 

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
Wellness programs are important because it reflects on the company. It shows that they care for their employees, not just for the work that they do for the organization, but also on a personal level.  The program is not enforced and it’s not a numbers thing, meaning it doesn’t tie back to our insurance. No one is punished or rewarded for participating or not in the program, rather it is done to engage employees and help them on all levels.

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
Our ongoing programs include the healthy snack of the month, we are involved in the Nourish to Flourish program, and we have a weight loss program called Weigh-to-Earn. 

We don’t currently have anything new planned but we are hoping that in conjunction with our new insurance broker we will be trying out some new programs.  We would like to bring in a vendor each month for a workshop or class for our employees to take advantage of such as a fitness classes, an ergonomics class, a nutrition workshop, etc.

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
We believe the program is good for morale. Giving people knowledge and ways to help them be healthier is the first component and then some of our wellness challenges bring everyone together so it’s great for employee morale and engagement.

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
The healthy snack of the month is unique because we provide our employees with different types of food that they might not normally eat. In the past, we have given out different kinds of fruits, veggie cups and we recently have teamed up with Snack Nation, who will be providing us monthly with unique options such as plantain chips, sweet potato chips and other healthy alternatives.  We have a diverse group of people so we try to find things that are beneficial for everyone.

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 
Just myself and Vicki, who is our Document Control/Wellness Coordinator.

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
Keep it simple to start. If you make it to elaborate to begin with it is hard to keep up.  But don’t give up – you might get a lot of resistance in the beginning but it will pay off!


Tags:  AwardsMassachusetts  Employee Engagement  Flexcon  HR  Human Resources  Q&A  Wellness  wellness ambassadors  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards  WWCMA 

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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, 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, 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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Q&A with Melissa Bodi at Choose Health at Sargent & Associates

Posted By Kristina Weljkovic, Friday, December 12, 2014

1. When you first started your program, what were some of your main goals? 
I first started my program because I noticed that an on-the-job injury, like a hurt back, was more traumatic and took longer to heal when a worker was in poor physical health. I believed that I could help companies address this problem, so I started Sargent & Associates to advise businesses on preventative health and safety 

2. How long did it take to implement your program? What were some of the hurdles to overcome with getting it started? 
At first my clients were more interested in regulatory safety requirements and on-the-job health issues, but in the past five years or so they have started asking for more programs addressing overall wellness. 

3. Describe your program / company and how it works:
We are a small 15 employee- Health, Wellness and Lost Prevention company.  Our Wellness Committee consists of several key positions:  a Project Manager, a Wellness Champion, a Wellness Compliance Officer, and a Wellness Coordinator, program communication specialist.  Together we set goals and objectives for our wellness program but each one of us has our own responsibilities for the program.  As President of the company, I provide my staff with an online wellness portal, a fully functional gym, and healthy snacks in the lunch room.  I encourage stretching breaks, walks to the farmers market and walking meetings on the bike path outside our office.  Our staff meetings involve a component of wellness for example- after our general meeting we provide programs such as Laughter Yoga, Mindful Meditation and cooking demonstrations.  I also host a TV series that promotes health awareness and education and is available for employees to view.  We are given a Wellness Day each year for annual wellness checkups and are encouraged to work from home if ill.

Cynthia, our Wellness Project Manager plans the overall operational aspects of the Worksite Wellness programs and services.  She develops, implements and monitors the effectiveness of our wellness programs.  She serves as a liaison between the wellness committee and employees and chairs our internal wellness committee.

Amy is our Wellness Coordinator and program communication specialist. She designs wellness workshops and events through our online wellness portal and creates wellness tips and posts them internally and through social media and corporate –e-blasts. She maintains a digital frame and health and wellness tips in the office and kitchen, and maintains our wellness blog.

Barbara, our Wellness Compliance Officer updates our online health and wellness portal which provides a platform where employees can track their weights, blood pressures, cholesterol, design their own meal plans and exercise programs, take online wellness workshops and have access to an online educational health library.  She assists with measurement and reporting of the wellness program outcomes.  

4. What would you say was one of the key components to your wellness programs success?
I am very passionate about getting my workers involved. I wanted to create a culture of health in the offices, as about 80 percent of the office generally participates in the fitness challenges. In addition, instead of using vending machines, I stock the offices with health snacks, such as fresh fruit. I also allow flexible schedules so workers can fit in workouts. 
I think much of the success comes from changing the small things in the office, such as not having an automated answering system so when a call comes in, whoever answers it has to get up and find the call’s recipient instead

5. What kept employees motivated? 
Making this program a success involves developing a relationship with employees by providing support, knowledge and encouragement as they improve their health.  Our challenges and programs are always fresh and geared toward current employee interest.  We are also fortunate that we have such executive leader commitment to the wellness of our employees because without this support our program would not succeed. 

Tags:  Q&A  wellness programs 

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The Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts (WWCMA) is the preeminent, independent and objective resource for health promotion in the workplace and champions wellness programs to help employers encourage healthy employees, healthy families, and healthy communities across the Commonwealth.