Slideshow 7 tips from wellness winners

  • January 05 2015, 1:12am EST
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Seven organizations and individuals were honored recently with HERO Employee Health Management Awards and C. Everett Koop National Health Awards. HERO is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying and sharing best practices in the field of employee health management. Here, winners share their wellness tips:

BP America

BP America received the C. Everett Koop Award for having more than 91% participation in its wellness program, an employee health risk reduction of nearly 10% and a wellness program ROI of $2.10.

“Simplify as much as possible for your employees. For example, with a device like a Fitbit, your steps and exercise minutes can be automatically uploaded to your account without any interaction,” says Karl Dalal, director of health and protection programs with BP. “The easier you make it on employees, the more they will participate.”

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American Cast Iron Pipe Company

American Cast Iron Pipe Company received the C. Everett Koop Award for generating a wellness program ROI of $1.70, participation of more than 80% and health risk reduction of 9%.

“We are purposeful in seeking a collaborative alignment of our company and its resource partners. Doing so has produced an amazing synergy,” says Sheri Snow, wellness manager at American Cast Iron Pipe. “We work with our onsite clinic to provide a continuous model of health care from primary medicine to referrals to specialists, and our disease management programs like Diabetes Education. Partnering with a local vendor to provide onsite physical therapy has saved many hours of productivity from reduced time off the job and in 2013 alone, more than 97% of employees with musculoskeletal injuries returned to full duty.”

Lockton Companies

Lockton Companies received an Honorable Mention for the C. Everett Koop Award.

“Changing behavior is a long-term project. Manage expectations so that your program maintains its momentum,” says Kayla O'Neal, consultant, health risk solutions, at Lockton Companies. “Celebrate small victories and look forward to the big ones. You can do this, and your employees are worth the effort.”

University of Louisville

Dr. James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville, received the Jerry Noyce Executive Health Champion Award for exemplifying the role of executive leaders in the success of workplace wellness programs.

“One on the things that I discovered as a CEO is that it is important to walk the walk – literally – and not just talk the talk,” says Ramsey. “In creating our Get Healthy Now initiative, it was important for me to lead by example; yet as busy people, it is often hard for us to make the time to exercise. I found that it was very important for me to schedule – block out time on my calendar – for my own exercise. If I didn’t, I would go from sunup to sundown without the opportunity to exercise.

In the early days, my assistant placed on the calendar a block of time for exercise. When people would ask to see me and see my online calendar with time for ‘exercise,’ they would say, ‘Oh, that’s not important,’ Meetings would then pop up. We now block out time every day for me [and call it] ‘conference time.’ It’s still a struggle, but important to me from not only my own wellness and stress, but by leading by example and being able to participate in walking challenges and other events on campus."

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David Hunnicutt, CEO of WELCOA, was named the winner of the HERO Bill Whitmer Leadership Award for his leadership in designing programs that have shaped the wellness industry.

“Wellness is something we do with and for people, not something we do to them. When wellness practitioners and business leaders put people first, extraordinary things happen,” says Hunnicutt. “Given the reality that individual health status is the pearl of great price and, sadly, most people value it most only after they lose it, it is essential that we engage each and every person with dignity, respect and concern. When we do this, we have taken the very most important step on the journey of transforming organizational culture and changing lives.”

University of Alabama

Rebecca Kelly, director of health promotion and wellness for the University of Alabama, was the first-ever recipient of the Heart of HERO Award for leadership in the day-to-day operations of a workplace wellness program.

“Engaging employees is one of the most critical and overlooked steps in employee health management. Leaders in health and wellness can benefit from creating a customized approach to well-being to include meeting employees where they are – at the workplace and in their personal stage of health improvement,” says Kelly. “Assuming that health and well-being is a single dimension program, such as weight loss and exercise program is like assuming everyone likes to eat bran flakes with skim milk.”

Edington & Associates

Dee Edington, founder and chairman of Edington & Associates received the Mark Dundon Research Award for connecting research to real-life wellness programs and corporate objectives.

"Wellness and well-being are now at a 'have-to-have' demand level in organizations," says Edington. "However, success in the future will require a higher level of integration into the core business of the organization, including developing positive and meaningful attitudes, positive organizational health policies and respect and trust among all employees, including those in leadership positions."