Hit The Road Running helps your organization achieve it's full potential by providing wellness services that help your employees become more productive.

Monday, April 20, 2009

More than just ROI

With today's economy there are a lot of organizations looking to save money and there are a lot of overstressed workers unsure of their futures.

This article examines real world cases where the ROI on corporate wellness programs gives a solid case for investing in your staff. Here is an excerpt of some of the companies who have had a solid ROI:

• Bank of America (Fries): $5.96/$1
• PacBell: $3.10/$1
• Wisconsin School District Insurance Group: $4.47/$1
• Prudential Insurance: $2.90/$1
• Bank of America (Leigh): $4.73/$1
• General Mills: $3.50/$1

But think about more than just the bottom line. These companies have happier employees who are more productive and have less stress. They will also be perceived as the employers to work for and an overall good corporate citizen.

As the economy has soured we have been run off our feet here at Hit The Road Running. More and more companies are realizing the benefits of engaging a Corporate Wellness expert to set up and run their programs. With ROI like those above, why wouldn't they?

If you have any questions about setting up a wellness program at your site, email them to info@hittheroadrunning.com

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Corporate Wellness- Just a Buzz Word?

Below is a great article from skyje.com on Corporate Wellness...

Not anymore.With nearly 48% of our waking hours spent at work, coupled with America’s ranking as the world’s fattest nation, corporate wellness is not just a fluffy HR benefit - it’s a business necessity that has far-reaching implications for corporations, their employees and society as a whole. Few will debate the profound effect a wellness program can have on the bottom-line-both literally and figuratively. It’s a no-brainer for most employers: healthy employees add up to a happier, more productive workforce, resulting in lower health claims and decreased costs for employers, and a subsequent ROI on wellness programs. The real challenge is implementation and employee participation.

Adding a wellness component to a corporate benefits plan may sound like a great idea -but it can be administratively complex to implement and manage. Here’s the skinny on what you need to consider if you really want your program to pack a powerful punch:

1. What can your company afford to invest in its wellness program? Okay, deep breath, this may make you break a sweat: The Business Roundtable reports that in 2007 almost 40 percent of large companies in the US spend more than $200,000 annually and 20 percent spend at least $1 million on corporate wellness. Yes, that’s a lot, but consider what it costs in employee productivity and absenteeism if you don’t help employees optimize their health and well-being. In fact, a 2007 study conducted by the Milken Institute found that lowering the obesity rates alone could produce productivity gains of $254 billion and avoid $60 billion in treatment expenditures annually for companies.

2. Do you have the tools and staff to implement a successful program? A benefits management system must be in place to support a corporate wellness program and companies must have the tools and technology to track participation, issue rewards, and adjust health plan premium payments accordingly. You may need to consider investing in additional HR staff or outsourcing the benefits administration to an organization that already has the tools, processes, and procedures in place to integrate a wellness program with your existing benefits program. You want your HR staff to focus on running an effective program instead of worrying about logistics. Learn more about outsourcing your benefits management at www.secova.com.

3. How will you measure program effectiveness and ROI - or will you invest those dollars in making employees healthier? Wellness programs have been shown to produce an overall return on investment of 1.5:1 to 3:1 after three to five years, meaning that for every dollar invested in wellness, employers can expect to save between $1.50 to $3.00 (Human Resource Executive 2007). But you must decide what approach you want to take when it comes to investing money in measuring your program’s ROI. A survey conducted in 2006 by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, shows that 87 percent of 464 benefits professionals and plan sponsors didn’t know the ROI of their programs. On average, 5 to 10 percent of a wellness program’s cost is spent measuring ROI and program effectiveness. Proof is out there that wellness programs have significant ROI for companies; however, companies must determine what approach they want to take regarding investing dollars in the measurability of their programs’ return on investment. This issue of measuring ROI brings up an important question: where do you want to spend your dollars? Calculating ROI or focusing on making employees healthier? A number of companies actively supporting very successful wellness initiatives have opted not to track detailed ROI. But beware: according to most in the “C” suite, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Measuring the overall wellness program effectiveness from a dollars perspective may be necessary to ensure that the programs continue to receive buy-in (read: budget) from upper- management.

Four Ways to Boost Employee Participation in Your Corporate Wellness Program

Merely offering corporate wellness programs doesn’t result in the ROI that executives want to see. The challenge is increasing employee participation since higher participation results in greater ROI. Here are four effective strategies to move employees beyond their same old routine:

1. Offer Incentives & Rewards Let’s face it - most people need help getting motivated, which is why Americans are in the physical shape that we’re in today. Companies can drive participation in wellness programs through extrinsic motivation such as incentives (both negative and positive) and rewards. Want to get an employee initially engaged? Negative incentives will do the job (for example, charging employees an additional $25 premium on their monthly benefit contribution if they do not take their Health Risk Assessment). But for ongoing participation, you’ll find positive incentives and rewards to be most beneficial. Then, once employees see results, they develop intrinsic motivation. Some companies are offering rewards such as discounted insurance premiums, expanded benefits, or even cash. The primary goal? Immediate gratification so employees experience instant results for their participation.

2. Engage 1-on-1 Engaging employees on a one-on-one basis is key to further developing intrinsic motivation where they actually want to be healthier. While incentives and rewards are highly effective in engaging employees, real change happens when individuals set personal goals and commit to achieving them. Companies can foster this by offering a more personal approach where employees work to develop personal, measurable goals that can be rewarded. For example, employers can offer consulting sessions with certified health coaches or even personal training sessions targeted at meeting that employee’s goals.

3. Foster a Healthy Environment From providing on-site fitness facilities and nutritional consulting, to offering healthy snack options in vending machines, the corporate environment needs to embrace a healthy approach to living. Media powerhouse Discovery Communications offers an on-site Wellness Center that offers a full range of primary care services from urgent care to preventive care and other wellness services, all offered to employees and their dependents at no charge. Other perks at Discovery: on-site massage therapy, fitness classes, nutritional counseling, life coaching, employee support groups, and company-wide body challenge competitions - to name a few. “Discovery’s philosophy,” says Evelyne Steward, Vice President Global Wellness & Work Life Strategies, “is that we must take responsibility for creating win-win partnerships with our employees in support of their health.” Employees need to see that wellness is not merely an initiative - but a way of life.

4. Provide the Tools Internal corporate wellness campaigns should be implemented to increase participation and provide employees with the information to be successful. Take Chevron Canada, for example. Senior executives launched a 10k-a-Day program to promote employees taking 10,000 steps per day. To promote participation, Chevron provided all employees with a pedometer and will kick off 2009 by providing employees with a fitbook, a fitness and nutrition journal, to track their progress. Employees set personal goals and are rewarded with Chevron Bucks for completing their fitbook and reaching their goals. Education is an option employers should offer. And it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive- consider on-site health presentations, workshops, or even lunch-time webinars.

The Bottom Line: Beyond ROI

The tangible benefits of corporate wellness initiatives are clear: reduced costs, lower absenteeism, improved productivity, and overall ROI. What cannot be measured is the value that employers can add to their employee’s lives every day by not only giving them a paycheck, but providing them with an opportunity to improve and enhance their own lives. The Dow Chemical Company embraces the idea that improving corporate financial performance is not the key driver behind its corporate wellness initiatives. Gary Billotti, Global Leader of Health & Human Performance at Dow, views corporate wellness as an “investment in our people versus a cost of doing business.” Billotti explains that their primary goal is to support their employees in optimizing their health and performance both at home and at work, knowing that “if we support our people the financial results will come.” So here’s the bottom line - plain and simple: corporate wellness is a must. So consider this a challenge to get out there and make a difference in the lives of your employees -and your own.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Building a Well Workplace

Here's a call to action for employers to take action on workplace wellness from the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA). Tonnes of interesting fact and figures.

If you have any questions about setting up a wellness program at your site, email them to info@hittheroadrunning.com

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Employers looking to extend wellness programs

More and more often our corporate wellness clients are asking us how they can extend the benefits of their employee wellness programs to their employee's dependants.

If you understand the great return on investment employers get from wellness programs, it makes perfect sense to extend these benefits to others who are covered by the companies insurance program and are therefore affecting the cost.

There are some challenges to extending the wellness program beyond the employees. Firstly wellness programs offered at work are often utilized due to their convenience. Family members are typically not physically at the workplace to participate in on-site initiatives. This can be overcome by offering wellness education with take-away items that could be passed on to family members. Also, offer a number of off-site events outside of business hours such as a company sports/games day where employees can bring their families along to participate.

The key thing though is to get the employees engaged in the programs and then lead by example. Inactive parents almost always lead to inactive kids. If your employees are adopting healthy habits, the children often follow.

Incentives almost always work too. Reward the employees and their families for participation and do not focus on results like weight loss. If they participate, they will get healthier. The key is to reward them for activity and healthy habits, not just for signing up.

The single biggest success factor is promotion of the program. If everyone else is doing it, there is a huge incentive for those less likely to take part and these are often the people in the more at-risk group.

If you have any questions about setting up a wellness program at your site, email them to info@hittheroadrunning.com

Friday, October 31, 2008

Healthy workers are a benefit

Here's a great article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the benefits of a healthy workforce.

For more information about how your organization can realize the benefits of a Trail Running program, please contact tony@hittheroadrunning.com or visit corporatewellness.hittheroadrunning.com.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What makes a corporate wellness program successful?

In the general population you have approximately 20% of people who believe in exercise enough to do it on a regular basis. There are about 20% more who, even though they know the risks, are committed to avoiding exercise and probably never will.

There is a target of opportunity for fitness professionals of the remaining 60% so the question then becomes; what can we do to motivate this 60%?

The reality is that many of them have not yet found a convenient or enjoyable way to get their exercise. This is where employers come in. Employers who have conducted health risk assessments find that 40% of employees are in the medium and high risk groups which directly affects their productivity, creativity and sick time usage. Those in the low risk group, without change, tend to move into the medium and high risk groups over time.

Many wellness professionals want to change the world and move all their employees to the low risk group and are therefore doomed to fail. The rule here is to not let the things you cannot control, control the things you can. Even a small change in employee behaviour can have significant impact to your organizations competitiveness. Multiply the small change by the number of employees and then by time and the impact can be significant. The impact may be to slow the progress of those in the low risk group today from moving into the medium risk group.

Return on investment for corporate wellness initiatives can be staggering. Coors Brewing reported a return of $6.15 for every $1 spent and Citibank reported $4.52. The average of all companies surveyed was $4.30. That's a significant return.

So what kind of wellness initiative brings such large returns. Firstly, you cannot change everyone or everything. Programs should focus on the factors that can be easily affected. Programs should be activity based, simple, fun, private and rewarding. Add community involvement and you add another aspect to your program and your company's image.

In employee surveys 52% said they would participate in a program for a reward worth $150. The participation rate without incentives is 13%.

Often wellness programs try to measure the outcome of a program which is difficult and many employees view it as intrusive. What is more easily measured is adherence and through adherence will come results. We all know that the healthier the habits of a person, the better the results. If people exercise they will get healthier.

If your organization can provide opportunities to it's employees to live healthier and encourage them to grab the opportunities, you will see results like those mentioned above.


For more information about how your organization can realize the benefits of a Trail Running program, please contact tony@hittheroadrunning.com or visit corporatewellness.hittheroadrunning.com.


About The Author

Tony Denford is a certified personal trainer and owner or Hit the Road. He has been training primarily runners since 2002 and has worked with beginners all the way to Boston Qualifier Marathon runners.

Tony emphasizes balance and variety in his training methods and always tries to make sure his client’s fitness routines are fun as well as beneficial.

Visit www.hittheroadrunning.com for more details on Hit The Road’s programs and services.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fit workers shape up company coffers

Here's a great article from Fort Myers News Press about the success of Corporate Run Wellness Programs.

For more information about how your organization can realize the benefits of a Trail Running program, please contact tony@hittheroadrunning.com or visit corporatewellness.hittheroadrunning.com.