Kicking off the 6th Annual National Employee Wellness Month

Header-image-2 (1)Employee health and wellness is the cornerstone of our mission to change lives for good and make companies better. We know that healthy, happy employees are more productive ones – on and off the job. Helping people feel their best has a lot of components, but wellness programs are one of the best ways employers can foster employee well-being, while showing just how much they care.

That philosophy is exactly why, in 2009 in partnership with the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, we created National Employee Wellness Month. This important initiative helps business leaders learn how companies successfully engage employees in healthy lifestyles. Held annually in June and now in its sixth year, National Employee Wellness Month is sponsored by both organizations and the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and WorldatWork.

“National Employee Wellness Month has been a phenomenal initiative because it encourages organizations and individuals alike to focus on taking steps to improve employee health and well-being,” said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse.

“Year after year, employers say National Employee Wellness Month is a great umbrella campaign for all their employee health offerings – it boosts employees’ awareness of the range of benefits available, and drives additional participation in them.”

Getting involved is simple – all you need to do is pledge your company’s support (it’s free!), and promote healthy workplace activities during the month. Activities and events can be as simple as replacing the junk food in the vending machine with healthier options. For more ideas on how you can support the initiative, check out our tips below.

3 Tips for Supporting National Employee Wellness Month

  1. Once you’ve pledged your support for the month, get employees amped up by driving a little healthy competition. Encourage walking meetings where attendees use a wearable fitness tracking device to see who can rack up the most steps, or offer big bragging rights to the team that brings a healthy brown-bag lunch in for a full week.
  2. Drive engagement in National Employee Wellness Month by organizing fun, healthy events. Consider getting employees, their families, and their friends on board for a local walk/run 5K and hand out team T-shirts, or sponsor a healthy catered lunch once a month.
  3. Make the healthy choice the easy choice for your employees by fixing the work environment. Ditch the soda fountain and replace it with water, give Donut Friday the axe and offer up a healthy yogurt bar instead, or encourage employees to take their lunch breaks to the gym, instead of the drive-through.

Want to get involved in National Employee Wellness Month? Check out the website to pledge your support today! Don’t forget to join in on the social conversation by using #NEWM2014 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.




Why (& How!) We Help Our Employees Live Better Everyday

Max in the GymA few weeks back, we shared with you the exciting news that we’d been named a finalist in the Boston Business Journal’s Healthiest Employers 2014 award. We’ve been waiting on pins and needles since, and are thrilled to say we’ve officially been named one of the 2014 Healthiest Employers!

“We’re honored to be named one of the Boston Business Journal’s Healthiest Employers,” said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse. “Helping people live better every day and companies prosper is our business, so it’s critical that we practice what we preach in order to engage employees – especially our own.

“We’re committed to helping our own employees and those of our clients adopt daily habits and make healthy behavior changes that enable them to thrive at work and in all aspects of their lives. By finding great people and showing our employees we care, we’re creating a team that’s at its best, with the energy, focus, and drive necessary to fully engage at work and in life,” he added.

Virgin Pulse’s mission of using business as a force for good by helping people get healthier is the foundation for our company culture. That’s why we offer robust health and wellness benefits, including flexible work arrangements like telecommuting, flex-scheduling and compressed work options, medical, dental and vision coverage, long-term care coverage, short-term and long-term disability coverage, life insurance, an EAP program, online and telephonic wellness coaching, annual biometric screenings, generous PTO and holidays. It doesn’t stop there, though! Our employees love the other perks we offer too – like our kitchen stocked with free healthy snacks, two on-site fitness centers, weekly fitness classes, and more.

We also connect our workforce with same wellness platform we offer clients. Virgin Pulse employees can earn cash rewards for participation and hitting certain milestones, earning hundreds of dollars in the process and discounts off their health insurance premium. We even extend our wellness program to employees’ family and friends to help keep the healthy momentum going outside of our office.

In his recent Huffington Post article, Chris explains why a focus on healthy company cultures is key for employers.

“[W]e’re in the midst of a disengagement crisis,” Chris wrote. “What does that … mean? That even on a good day, you’re getting less than the desired amount of your employees’ brainpower — the exact asset you hired them for,” he added, explaining that non-work obligations will always be a top-of-mind concern for employees.

While that’s true, employers can take steps in helping people handle their lives, at work and beyond.

“[F]ostering employees’ well-being across the board helps them bring their best selves to work. I’ve talked to a lot of employees and most want the same thing: to be happy, more energetic, sharper and more focused, with the extra drive to get things done,” Chris wrote. “To really get there, we need to approach wellness and engagement in a new way — from the employee’s point of view.”

Wondering how to take action? Start by helping employees improve their energy, focus and drive. Help them set healthy goals, and make sure they’ve got the social support they need to tackle those ambitions. Set them on the path to success by creating a healthy work environment, and offer up technology – like wearable fitness tracking devices – that helps them keep tabs on their efforts. Finally, don’t forget the importance of rewards, which can range from cash, perks or just a quick “Great work!”

Interested in learning more about how you can support employee health and engagement? Take a look at Chris Boyce’s article on the Huffington Post, “5 Tips on How to Support Healthy, Engaged Employees.”

Congrats to all the recipients of the Boston Business Journal’s Healthiest Employers 2014 award, including our clients Southcoast Health, Benchmark Senior Living, and NFP Health! 

Top Tips to Transform Your Company with a Healthy Workforce

icon-callouts-1 (7)When it comes to creating an energetic, focused and driven workforce, your employees’ health is key. While many employers have been offering things like biometric screenings, health risk assessments or smoking cessation programs for years now, those programs themselves don’t actually help employees lasting healthy behavior changes. They’re simply assessments.

We’ve all read the countless articles detailing how happy and healthy companies yield greater results. Leading employers know the importance of employees’ well-being and how it correlates to a better business. Employers are increasingly viewing wellness programs as a key component of their benefits package, with 44 percent planning to maintain or increase their investment in them, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Business Group on Health, in partnership with Fidelity Investments.

Looking to create a healthy, engaged workforce? Here are three tips to keep in mind:

Set the foundation
Your engagement efforts won’t do much good if your employees aren’t really able to engage in the first place. If your workforce isn’t getting enough sleep, for example, or they’re struggling to deal with life’s larger issues – like a sick family member or financial burdens– they’re going to have a hard time bringing their best selves to the job and focusing throughout the day. Addressing employees’ needs with a strong foundation of programs that help support all aspects of their lives – their physical, social, emotional, and financial health – is  a step in the right direction. Once your employees are better able to tackle other areas in life, they’ll come to work with more energy, focus and the necessary motivation to face the day’s biggest tasks.

Avoid repeating mistakes
It’s important to look to the future as opposed to what’s been commonplace. Insurer-led wellness programs, though backed with good intentions, aren’t always well-executed. Employee health isn’t just about weight loss or biometrics anymore, and wise employers are adjusting their strategies accordingly.

Show ‘em the love
Employers have a major opportunity to grow their relationships with their workforce by showing they care. Our recent survey  backs that up: While 75 percent of respondents either “love” their company or feel “pretty good” about it, just 25 percent of respondents felt their company loved them back.  Employers that take the time to focus on employees’ strengths and support their people across the board not only build trust and loyalty, but leave them motivated and energized at work and beyond.

Once employees are better able to manage life’s larger issues – whether that’s losing weight, becoming more financially sound, or simply getting involved in their community, or something different – they’ll be able to better engage. They’ll be sharper, more passionate, and more creative and will continue to be more engaged, striving for bigger and better goals both personally and professionally.

At the end of the day, employers and employees are in this together. Employers that take the time to truly invest in their workforce, helping them to make meaningful improvements in all facets of their lives, are poised to reap the rewards of a more energized, focused, and driven workforce.

What steps are you taking to create a more energetic and engaged workforce? Let us know in the comments below!

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Virgin Pulse clients and members discuss how we change lives for good!

Virgin Pulse clients and members discuss how we change lives for good!