Archive for the ‘Wellness Programs’ Category

Ways to Increase Employee Participation in a Wellness Program

November 24th, 2015 by Clemons

Check out and share this video about increasing employee participation in your wellness program!

Health and Wellness … Our Top Priority … The Key To Overall Success!

October 20th, 2015 by Clemons

Always eager to promote good health and fitness, Ross Clemons completed the 2015 Gulf Coast 70.3 Ironman.   Pictured on either side of him are Scott and Gerry Clemons.  Health and wellness are important to us!  Your employees wellness is central to your company’s success.  We are here to help jump start your wellness program!

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How to Motivate Employee Participation in Your Wellness Program | Employee Benefits Panama City

August 20th, 2015 by Clemons

By Sara Saidi, Marketing Coordinator at The Wilson Agency
A UBA Partner Firm

Have you ever heard the quote, “If you take care of your people, they’ll take care of your business?” It’s great advice and goes beyond ensuring that they get a paycheck each month. Does your company show that they care about an employee’s total well-being? You should, especially considering that an employee’s physical and mental well-being Wellness rewardscan affect productivity and consequently cost the company money. One great way to show employees that you are invested in them, and to help them stay healthy, is through a wellness program.

Once you decide to start a wellness program, there are many things that must be considered, but one of the most important is figuring out how you are going to motivate employees to participate and invest in living a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at the psychology behind motivation. Behavior can be regulated externally (e.g., gift rewards and punishment) or intrinsically (e.g., internal goals). To motivate your staff, the goal should be to leverage both of these methods to help employees develop healthy behaviors that will last a lifetime so that it essentially becomes second nature to them. That lasting change will be felt throughout your organization for a long time to come. Those that haven’t already incorporated healthy behaviors into their lifestyle will need the extra push, and that’s where an organized wellness program comes in.

Here are different types of incentives that wellness programs typically use to give employees that extra push:

  • Financial (gift card or decreased premium)
  • Social recognition (awards)
  • Surprise incentives (every once in a while, surprise employees with an additional award – the element of fun will help keep employees motivated)

To really create a well-designed wellness program, we suggest incorporating these other tips.

Personalization

If you want employees to be engaged and motivated, make the wellness program personalized so that it’s fair for all participants. Understand that not all employees are at the same level. It can often be easy to marginalize those who are already doing everything right. Try to find a way to recognize these employees as well. If employees can participate at their own fitness or readiness level, they will be more likely to participate.

Communication

At times, lack of participation cannot solely be attributed to an unwilling employee. It’s possible that employees are unaware of, or do not fully understand, the wellness program and the benefits of participation. To ensure a greater level of participation, make sure that you are properly communicating with your employees. According to a recent article in Plan Sponsor, Robert Kennedy, Health and Welfare practice leader with Fidelity’s Benefits Consulting business in Boston, says “incentives will get some employees engaged in the programs, but beyond that, communications play a strong role. Communications should set the context for employees—explaining why the employer is offering the programs and what it hopes to accomplish.” The article goes on to suggest, “frequent, short reminders about how to take advantage of incentives, using a variety of channels—emails, the employer’s intranet site or employee meetings. Short messages should contain a click-through for more detail for those employees who want it.”

Peer pressure

No one wants to be known as the only employee who doesn’t participate. Be careful not to call out any employee, but do get employees talking about the wellness program. In March, one of the ways in which our employees could obtain points toward a wellness credit (which decreased premium costs for those on the health plan) was to motivate other employees to participate. This works out great because most people want to demonstrate that they are a positive influence in the company and participating in activities with coworkers is a great way to do that.

Spread incentives out over time

To assist employees in developing a pattern of healthy behaviors, spread incentives out over time. This way they will be less likely to just take the money and run. Some employees will participate for the incentive, but over time the healthy behaviors will become habit. Some may even realize that they enjoy living a healthy lifestyle more than an unhealthy one as they experience the benefits of living well.

Keep in mind that a wellness program is not one size fits all and, while turnkey programs should be easy to implement, companies should carefully think about their culture and what they want to achieve. People are motivated by different things, so what works for one person in your company may not work for another and what works for your company may not work for other companies.

 

For information on wellness plan trends from the UBA’s Health Plan Survey, download our Executive Summary.

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Congress Taking (Small) Steps for Employee Wellness Programs | Clemons Company

April 9th, 2015 by Clemons

By Jennifer Kupper

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) specifically encourages and promotes the expansion of wellness programs in both the individual and group markets. In the individual market, the secretaries of the Capitol Building, Washington DCdepartments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor are directed to establish a pilot program to test the impact of providing at-risk populations who utilize community health centers an individualized wellness plan that is designed to reduce risk factors for preventable conditions as identified by a comprehensive risk-factor assessment. Results will be compared against a controlled group.

In the group market, the secretaries are directed to establish a multi-state, employer-sponsored, health-contingent wellness program demonstration project. The objectives are to determine the effectiveness of employer-sponsored, health-contingent wellness programs, the impact of wellness programs on the affordability and access to care for participants versus non-participants, the impact of cost-sharing and incentives on participant behavior, and the effectiveness of other types of rewards.

There is, however, a huge disconnect within the administration. This is exemplified by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) revived attacks and recent litigation against employers who sponsor presumably PPACA-compliant wellness programs. Employers are waking up to the sad facts that the risk in sponsoring health-contingent wellness programs is mounting, the EEOC remains silent in providing guidance*, and the corporate wellness industry is in quandary.

In response to the recent litigation, two parallel bills were introduced the first week of March (S. 620/H.R. 1189). With less than a 2% chance of being enacted, Mr. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) of the Senate and Mr. Jon Kline (R-Minn.) of the House introduced the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (the legislation). The purpose of the legislation is “[t]o clarify rules relating to nondiscriminatory employer wellness programs as such programs relate to premium discounts, rebates, or modifications to otherwise applicable cost sharing under group health plans.”

The legislation would allow employers to implement workplace wellness programs or employer-sponsored, health-contingent programs without the fear of running afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its amendments (ADAAA) or Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), so long as the wellness programs operated pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) nondiscrimination and wellness regulations.

The legislation also provides that a sponsoring employer can establish a deadline of up to 180 days for employees to request and complete a reasonable alternative standard (or waiver of the otherwise applicable standard). Further, the legislation affirms that the employees’ spouse and family members can participate and would have the same protections afforded as an employee-participant. In other words, medical history and biometric information of participating family members would not be an unlawful acquisition under GINA.

* On March 20, 2015, the EEOC voted to send a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the interplay of the ADA and PPACA with respect to wellness programs to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance.

For more data on wellness program features employers are using, download the 2014 Health Plan Executive Summary. This survey – which has been conducted every year since 2005 – is the nation’s largest health plan survey and provides more accurate benchmarking data than any other source in the industry. You can also contact a UBA Partner Firm for a customized benchmark report based on industry, region and business size.

Topics: wellness, employee benefits, wellness programs, PPACA Affordable Care Act, 2014 Health Plan Survey

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Bullying Is Harassment

January 22nd, 2015 by Clemons

We attend trainings on harassment and discrimination to bring forth awareness about how and how not to act towards one another at work. Even with recent media attention on bullying, some still consider it a non-issue in the workplace. However, California doesn’t agree. Effective January 1, 2015, California’s Anti-Bullying Training Requirements (A.B. 2053) are being mandated for employers of 50 or more and require anti-bullying training be added to the training curriculum of an organization’s workforce. This training is required to be delivered every two years under the mandated curriculum of supervisory personnel training regarding harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace.

Under the California regulation, anti-bullying falls under the umbrella of “abusive conduct,” which is defined as follows:

…the conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.

Time will further refine this regulation and best practices in greater detail as companies respond to allegations of bullying. Until such time, employers may want to develop policies that ensure a first offense of abusive conduct — unless intentional and gross — is met with specific disciplinary and training actions similar to those in place for any other discriminatory or harassing behavior in the workplace.

Common acts labeled as bullying are:

  • Intentional disregard of general instructions or guidance.
  • Physical intention to block or bump into another.
  • Sabotage.
  • Teasing, gossiping, or demeaning comments or actions (including cyberbullying).
  • Verbal intimidation and rude comments.
  • Withholding information that another person needs to perform his or her duties.

Every worker deserves to work in a comfortable and safe environment that promotes productivity and welcomes successful performance. Kudos to California for setting the pace for employers to educate supervisors on how to identify and hold workers accountable for treating one another with mutual respect.

Source: ThinkHR

Hand Washing Helps Defeat the Flu – Employee Benefits Panama City

December 15th, 2014 by Clemons

H3N2 influenza viruses led to record numbers of deaths in the 2004, 2008, and 2013 flu seasons. Doctors are concerned because this type of virus appears to be dominating the 2015 flu season. Employers should stress optimal health and hand-washing behaviors in their workplaces to avoid the threat of flu and keep their workplaces healthy and germ-free.

The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports a majority of cases so far this flu season are H3N2 viruses. When these types of viruses are the most prevalent in a flu season, the result is often more severe illness with greater instances of hospitalization and death. This year the CDC is finding that the flu vaccine’s ability to protect against H3N2 viruses is not as strong as was hoped when the vaccine was being formulated. This reduced protection is the result of mutation in about half of the H3N2 viruses since the season began. The CDC still recommends the vaccine as vaccinated people will likely have a more mild illness if they do become ill. This warning will help employers to see the need to augment vaccination with other preventive health measures.

Effective hand washing is essential to prevent the spread of infectious disease. The bacteria, viruses, and other microbes that spread infection usually are not visible to the naked eye. Everyone should care about the spread of harmful organisms because everyone has the potential to unknowingly spread them to a person with a compromised immune system. Examples of those with compromised immune systems include family members, particularly children and the elderly, or co-workers coping with illnesses like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.

Hands should be washed frequently. You may be surprised to discover how many times you inadvertently touch your face in the course of a day, which is often the method that introduces contaminates to our bodies through our eyes, nose, or mouth. At a minimum, wash your hands several time per day to lessen the risk of inadvertently spreading harmful organisms.

Wash hands both before, during, and after food preparation as well as before eating, treating a wound, or adjusting contact lenses hands. Hands may need to be washed multiple times during food preparation. For example, Salmonella is a bacteria that can be found on raw meats and vegetables, and is a serious concern in the United States. According to the CDC, each year over one million people acquire the illness, leading to 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths. In addition to cooking food properly and cleaning work surfaces, Salmonella  abatement requires hands to be cleaned before handling cooked meat or other ingredients to prevent the transfer of organisms from raw items.

To minimize the spread of respiratory infections and diarrheal illness, wash hands after using the toilet, coughing, blowing your nose, changing a diaper, or touching garbage, soiled laundry, shoes, an animal, or anything touched by an animal. This preventive step lessens the amount of germs transferred to key boards, handrails, door knobs, or toys.

Soap and Water

Soap and clean running water are two elements of optimal hand washing. The surfactants in soap lift soil and microorganisms from the hands, enabling the running water to carry the undesirable elements away without posing the risk of recontamination caused by standing water. Water of cool or warm temperature works equally well in removing undesirable organisms. Another helpful part of the process is the mechanical action created when hands are scrubbed or rubbed together continuously.

Best practice for hand washing requires wetting the hands, turning the water off to prevent waste, applying soap, and spreading the soap across all surfaces of your hands for 20 seconds, being sure to include fingernails, back of hands, and wrists. Importantly, don’t rush the hand-washing process. Often parents will teach children to wash hands to the time it takes to sing the A-B-C song or another jingle that reliably takes 20 seconds. After scrubbing for 20 seconds, rinse hands thoroughly under running water. If the faucet is not operated by a sensor, use a towel or your elbow to turn it off in a manner avoiding hand recontamination. Finally, dry hands with a clean cloth, new disposable towel, or air blower.

Alcohol as an Alternative

An alcohol-based sanitizer can be an effective alternative to soap and water where a sink or clean water is unavailable. Examples of locations where sanitizer may be practical include conference rooms, break rooms, reception areas, or just outside of restroom doors.

According to the CDC, effective use of waterless hand sanitizer requires an alcohol-based solution containing at least 60 percent alcohol. For hand sanitizers to be effective, it’s important that enough solution is used, that it stays on the skin and is not wiped or washed off prematurely, and that the solution is allowed to thoroughly dry on the skin.

Similar to the use of soap and water, mechanical action or friction caused by scrubbing or rubbing hands together is essential for waterless hand sanitizer to stop the spread of microorganisms. Additionally, the hands must be free of organic matter prior to applying hand sanitizer. Using the appropriate amount of sanitizer requires placing enough sanitizer to cover a dime in the palm of one hand. Hands must then be rubbed together in a manner that covers all surfaces, including the back of the hands, until they are dry.

For additional information, see:
www.who.int/gpsc/tools/Five_moments/en
www.cdc.gov/handwashing
www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p1204-flu-season.html

Source: thinkhr.com

How Data Mining Can Be Crucial

November 21st, 2013 by United Benefit Advisors
It seems you can't look at a business-oriented website or go to a conference these days without hearing people talk about big data.