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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, Cambridge Health Alliance

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Cambridge Health Alliance WorkWell Massachusetts Award Winner Q&A
Interviewee: Carolyn Ballard, Wellness Manager

Tell us about yourself and your organization. 
Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) is a vibrant, innovative health system dedicated to providing essential services to all members of the community. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s Metro North region, CHA is a local provider of choice for primary care, specialty care, emergency services, hospital care, maternity care and behavioral health. We are made up of more than 4,000 employees, all of whom are eligible to participate in the Wellness Program.

I have been with CHA since July of 2015. My background is in psychology and nutrition and I am a Registered Dietitian, so I have the ability to create much of our nutrition programming myself. My main responsibilities include project management, program development, marketing and communications, and outreach. I also manage our onsite yoga classes with the help of a part-time yoga program coordinator. 

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

We view an award from WWCMA as a message that we have developed an exemplary and comprehensive program. Because the WorkWell awards are based on both the HERO Scorecard and peer review, we feel that this award is especially meaningful.

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?

Having a wellness program is important for us as a healthcare system because we employ some of the most deeply passionate caretakers. We know from research that caretakers tend to neglect their own well-being in their drive to serve others, which is why we emphasize Self-Care as one of our four pillars of wellness at CHA. In addition, one of our strategic plan objectives is to be a great place to work, which we feel cannot be accomplished without a robust employee wellness program. Lastly, we see wellness as a pathway to employee engagement. While many organizations look to ROI as the primary measure of success, we prioritize measures of engagement when evaluating the impact of our program.

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
The programs that we have implemented can be divided into four distinct categories, coinciding with our four pillars of wellness:


  • Key message: “Make time for you”
  • Offerings: Mindfulness courses, Ditch the Diet Club (video-based program promoting the principles of intuitive eating over strict dieting), tobacco cessation program, financial education seminars, depression and mental illness awareness


  • Key message: “Rest and recharge”
  • Offerings: Onsite yoga classes, onsite chair massage, sleep education


  • Key message: “Find what moves you”
  • Offerings: Annual walking challenge, bikeshare and gym discounts 


  • Key message: “One size fits none”
  • Maintain Don’t Gain (holiday weight maintenance challenge), healthy vending options, pickup location for Farmer Dave’s CSA

In addition, we also use our weekly Wellness Wednesday Newsletter to spread the word about upcoming events, programs, and healthy tips. We are planning a recognition program for 2017 which will allow employees to be acknowledged for engaging in healthy habits at work. Next year is also when we plan to roll out incentives tied to our health plan.

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
Through our program evaluations we have learned that:

  • Walking challenge participants had more motivation to be physically active after our annual walking challenge, and they also reported feeling more connected to their coworkers as compared to the start of the program. Both results were statistically significant.
  • One in three Maintain Don’t Gain participants actually lost weight over the holiday season, while another 63% successfully maintained their weight.
  • A 2016 field assessment revealed that 93% of employees are aware of the wellness program, which tells us that the potential impact of the program is significant. 
  • We have demonstrated an 80% retention rate in our programs.
  • Employee engagement surveys revealed that “wellness” was used in an open-ended question about what CHA is doing well. Wellness was also mentioned in another open-ended question that asked about what recognition programs are offered at the organization.

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 

Our program reflects the inclusive nature of our organization. We respect and appreciate diversity at CHA, and the Wellness program is no exception. We feature recipes from many parts of the world, including Brazil, Haiti, Portugal, and Latin America. In addition, we custom build nearly all of our programs to ensure their appeal. Finally, we have developed a logic model as the basis for measuring the effectiveness of our program. The logic model informs our individual program evaluations, which are developed to assess outcomes, satisfaction, and process measures. 

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 
We have two senior leaders on the Wellness team and three levels of champions. Joy Curtis, SVP of Human Resources and Chief HR Officer, and David Porell, Chief Administrative Officer, are the two senior leaders on the Wellness team. 

Additional executives/senior leaders make up our Executive Steering Committee (18 members including CEO), while mid-level managers and directors from various departments comprise our Wellness Advisory Committee (17 members). Finally, at the employee level we have over 40 Wellness Ambassadors across 11 sites.

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 

Begin with the end in mind. Before creating a single program, policy, or initiative, a clear end goal should be established. From there, comprehensive information gathering should take place – including employee surveys, focus groups, and analysis of claims data. Organizations looking to start a new program should plan to spend a minimum of 6-12 months in the planning stages. This can be difficult, especially when leaders are enthusiastic about beginning, but it is crucial to ensuring the success and longevity of the program.


Tags:  Cambridge Health Alliance  CHA  Wellness champions  wellness programs  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards 

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Appoint Wellness Champions To Promote Wellness Programs

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The first step to ensure employee participation in wellness initiatives is educating employees on program details and generating excitement about these offerings. Rather than have information about wellness programs come from the top down – like so many policies, programs, and procedures tend to in companies – it is important to have employees working on various levels to disseminate information, so the information is coming from peers.

These employees, dedicated to promoting and encouraging engagement in wellness programs, are typically called wellness champions. Wellness champions work in conjunction with a wellness committee to understand the offerings, determine which areas and programs need more participation, and provide feedback on program interest from their peers.

When searching for wellness champions for your wellness program, a few questions may arise.

  • How many wellness champions do we need to have to help make our program successful
  • A good goal is to have about 2% of the workplace population participating as wellness champions. This will allow exposure within the organization but won’t bring too many people into the mix where it is unmanageable for the wellness committee to keep everyone informed and updated.
  • Ideally, all levels within the organization will be represented. Seeing wellness champions  that encourage others and that each employee can relate to, can drastically improve interest in programs.
  • People who are not only passionate about health and wellness, but also outgoing and trustworthy. These are the people who are most likely to fully embrace their role as a wellness champion and promote the programs while also gaining traction and interest from their peers. Additionally, those who are exposed to a lot of different areas in the company are great wellness champions. The more connections they have within the organization, the more people they will be able to reach when disseminating information regarding wellness programs.
  • Since wellness champions likely aren’t involved in the regular planning of wellness initiatives, it is essential to ensure consistent communication. Updating wellness champions on any changes and setting clear expectations of their role to promote the wellness program is very important. There should also be established checkpoints to gain feedback from wellness champions and identify how the wellness champion role might shift during different stages of wellness programs or as new offerings arise.
  • What levels within the organization should participate as wellness champions?
  • What types of people should we be looking for as wellness champions?
  • How do we involve wellness champions in the wellness program?

Wellness champions will take on different roles depending on the programs and organizations they are representing. It is important to evaluate all aspects of wellness programs consistently, including wellness champions and their roles.

Tags:  employee engagement  wellness ambassadors  wellness champions  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.