Recently EWI was invited to join a colloquium of industry, academic and health professionals in Washington D.C. to discuss the critical role employers can play in promoting good health behaviors by employees and their families. At this meeting, I represented medium-sized companies in the midst of “giants” like Microsoft, IBM, Walgreens, Harvard, and Centers for Disease Control. How did EWI end up there?
It started several years ago when we decided to update our Fitness Center and wellness programming. We established an employee “Wellness Committee” and started thinking about a strategic (read: “less random”) approach to health promotion. We offered discounted health insurance premiums for Associates who completed a Health Risk Assessment, and more than 80% took advantage of it. The HRA data identified weight management as our primary health challenge. In response, we developed programming to promote activity (like our annual Bike-to-work competition), and healthy eating (like our on-site Weight Watchers program).
Positive results convinced our insurer to place us in a special pool of low-risk employers. This, in turn, helped us mitigate big jumps in annual premiums and gave our employees access to more wellness resources through ERC Health. And this led to reduced premiums for the first time in years!
Recently a new employee stopped by my office and said he had never worked at a place that valued good health so much. He decided it was time to stop his 20-year smoking habit and asked for help. THAT is a good sign of a growing “culture of wellness”.
So, it’s no surprise that EWI – for the second year in a row – has been named one of the Healthiest Employers in Central Ohio by Columbus Business First newspaper!