Monday, June 08, 2009

Getting Healthy And Losing Weight Through HR

We start off on this Monday with an article from the New York Times talks about getting healthy with a little help from the boss:

Once upon a time, corporations offered generous health benefits as a way to woo employees into their ranks. Now, most companies have turned from amorous suitors into stern parents — shifting more costs, and more responsibilities, to their employees.

According to a January survey by the benefits consulting firm Hewitt Associates, nearly two-thirds of large employers planned to transfer more costs to employees. At the same time, one-third planned to put greater emphasis on wellness plans — programs that encourage employees to adopt healthier lifestyles. (So long, Big Macs).

Congress is climbing onto the wellness bandwagon, too. Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who is a leader of the Congressional health reform movement, recently proposed giving tax incentives to companies that offer comprehensive wellness programs to their employees.

The focus on healthier lifestyles makes sense. Unhealthy employees use significantly more medical services than healthy ones and cost employers more money.

My company offers certain things to promote wellness: we have a health check every year and if we are found to be healthy or healthier from the past year, our premiums remain the same as the year before. This is a test that leans HEAVILY against smokers; if you have nicotine in your system, you are automatically not healthy.

We also have a small gym reimbursement and they offer counseling for stress, nutrition and fitness. It's not as much as certain companies, but it is a good effort to keep employees healthy and in the office.

-EHS Today talks about a successful wellness program with employees dropping 924 pounds

-Human Resources Executive Online talks about ensuring buy-in for HR of which could be company wellness programs

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