Business of Well-being

Employer Case Studies - Lam Research, Royal Caribbean Cruses, LTD., and Western Reserve Hospital

Case Study 1 - Lam Research

Lam Research is an American multinational corporation operating in Austria, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States and designs, manufactures and services semiconductor equipment to create integrated circuits. Located in Fremont, California, right next to Silicon Valley, the epicenter of the tech industry, Lam Research strives to be on the cutting-edge in everything they do, including wellness.

For Lam Research, its wellness program is not geared toward creating a return on investment; the focus is on making Lam the "employer of choice". Wellness programs in the tech industry are crucial for the company, according to Michelle Cu, Well-being Program Manager. "Within the industry, there is fierce competition to attract the best and brightest with perks and benefits -- we all know of Google's legendary cafeterias for example," she said.

"Essentially, having the best perks give them a competitive edge." Cu described the decision and the process when she said "To succeed as an organization we want to provide a work environment and benefits programs that enable our employees to do their best work, and attract new employees to join us. Our wellness program has seven components-Health Risk Appraisal, Online Intervention, Health Coaching, Weight Management, Smoking Cessation, Fitness Center, and Biometric Screening. We benchmark our programs to other leading companies in our industry and in the locations where we compete to hire the best employees."

The program offers free health coaching to all U.S. employees enrolled through its group health plan from Anthem. Employees enrolled through Kaiser have a variety of other free coaching and health resources available to them as part of their healthcare delivery model. Their employee assistance program (EAP) also offers six free sessions for employees and members. The EAP provides further educational content, either onsite of through the web.

The EAP hires registered dieticians quarterly to inform the employees about various topics in nutrition. Employees in the EAP can also access a discount to a nearby gym, ClubSport, who similarly comes onsite to provide employees with fitness related offerings like InBody testing. A staple of the Silicon Valley culture is employers offering snacks and meals to their employees, and Lam likes to make sure employees have access to healthy options. The vending machines all have healthy options inside.

Onsite cafes are managed by Guckenheimer, and always have fruit and healthy snacks available for purchase. There are even markets open 24/7 so employees can still get eat healthy, even if their schedule makes this difficult. Lam Research works with the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) to provide a web portal and pedometer to keep track of step counts for three years and encourage movement throughout the day with step challenges.

Part of the GGC program allows for employees to challenge each other in individual face-offs. Alternatively, employees can also set challenge goals for themselves. The GCC also hosts a 100-day challenge for teams of seven to compete to walk the most steps. Teams in each region, country win prizes, as well as the most improved, most active and most spirited individuals. Cu, in her tenure, shifted the intention of the wellness program toward a stronger focus on the four pillars of wellness: eat, move, balance and learn.

These four concepts are included in all wellness communication and events. She likes the simplicity of the four pillars, which allows her to focus on what wellness means. "Utilizing the four pillars of wellness has allowed me to communicate and develop the program design more efficiently internally and across various regions and countries," she explained. Creating a culture of wellness is an ambition of most wellness programs.

By making health part of the corporate culture, it becomes almost second nature to eat better and move around throughout the day more. Michelle noted that a culture is more than just a company endorsing health; it is the change needed from the employees who can either compromise or create success for that company. "The culture of wellness is defined by the organization, but is further defined by each individual," she said. The meaning of wellness can vary among individuals.

Developing an environment in a corporate setting that can adapt and change over time is important. We are in the process of establishing a culture of wellness, and as our program evolves that [culture] will be shown in how employees interact with each other and how they apply themselves daily. A culture of wellness will have been created if employees are aware of their well-being and have the tools necessary to have and reach the state of well-being.

"Michelle has a few ideas for the future of wellness at Lam Research. She would like to add more opportunities for employees to collaborate and communicate via a single platform. With employees based around the world, this creates an ability to reach across the globe and would help their goal of achieving a single culture of health among all their facilities.

Creating a wellness program for employees across the globe can be a challenge. But by offering the employees the ability to communicate and improve their health together, along with the support of technology to track the data, according to Cu, wellness can flourish.

Case Study 2 - Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), based in Miami, is the second largest cruise company in world. The company owns five cruise lines-Royal Caribbean  International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises, and CDF Croisires de France-and employs 5,000 people in the United States who work shore side.

Ensuring that these employees are healthy and happy for their guests is Kim Tillman, Wellness Director, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Miami, Florida. She explained how the wellness program works, what it takes to keep employees healthy and the challenges they face in getting there.

Wellness Works at Royal Caribbean

Kim describes the wellness of an individual as "largely based on their ability to balance the different life roles and tasks that come with day-to-day living." It is with this concept that the Royal Caribbean Wellness program "Wellness Works" was created. "We believe in the importance of providing various high-quality services and programming to employees while at work so we can remove life-stressors that can occur when employees have to make the extra effort to obtain them elsewhere," she said.

The Royal Caribbean Wellness program offers RCL employees a wide variety of options in their on-site wellness center, which first opened in 1999, including free chair massages, daily stretching, basketball courts, a full-time ergonomic specialist, wellness article library, on-site chiropractic care, full body massage therapy, spa services, meditation classes, discounted prices for community event involvement, farmer's market share options, car wash, day-care and medical clinic and more.

Additionally, RCL offers their employees 24 weekly exercise classes such as spinning, yoga, Zumba, body sculpting, BeMoved, group personal training, group exercise classes and boot camp. In addition to these classes and wellness perks, employees have access to the more traditional features of a wellness program. For instance, employees can receive free health coaching from their certified fitness director, talk with a Tobacco Treatment Specialist and access a doctor in their onsite clinic.

RCL also provides biometric screenings of blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol at their annual health and wellness fair and free blood pressure checks. They were also available at any time at the on-site medical clinic. Weight, BMI and body fat percentage tests are free to all employees at any on-site fitness center. Education can be as crucial an element in wellness as exercise. Guaranteeing employees know their biometric results is the first step.

As Tillman noted, "Once that information is in hand, knowing how to follow-up and improve those results is equally important." RCL accomplishes this through annual health & wellness fairs, monthly lunch & learn seminars and workshops, on-going 12-week Weight Watchers at Work groups, free smoking cessation classes as well as a wellness article library in each building. Informational seminars and workshops covered a range of topics like retirement planning, cash management, risk management, investment concepts, tax management, estate planning, stress management, diabetes, hands only CPR, breast cancer awareness and nutrition.

The "Royal Shape Up" weight loss and fitness challenge gives employees the opportunity to work individually and in teams to live a more active lifestyle. Individuals can participate the annual company-wide walking challenges. Held in the fall at all offices simultaneously, employees track their steps and earn prizes by reaching certain milestones. Employees can also earn points for completing certain fitness tests and for  each minute exercised.

To encourage competition and camaraderie, RCL is implementing a leaderboard for individuals to showoff and challenge each other, under supervision from the fitness center's full-time staff, to squats, pushups and other exercises. For teams, the Royal Shape Up program hosts basketball tournaments, soccer games, volleyball teams and even a corporate track team.

Every two years, to coincide with the Olympics, Royal Shape Up holds team fitness competitions where employees are able to participate as the country of their choice and compete in different challenges to earn medals and bragging rights. RCL knows that exercise and education is only a portion of the wellness puzzle. There is a focus on healthy food in the offices, with health options in all cafeterias and vending machines.

The wellness team works with the vendors to make sure there is enough healthy options that employees want. The vending machines in the fitness center are approved of by the wellness director. To make the healthy choice even easier to make, RCL offers half priced fruit, as wellness fresh vegetables and a juice bar on site.


"I believe our employees have had great successes in improving their overall health by utilizing different aspects of our program," Tillman said. "We learn this through program feedback, one on one consultations and employee surveys. We want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be fit and live well while they are engaged with our company."

However, despite the great results she has achieved, Tillman still does not believe RCL has developed a culture of health. "Creating a culture of wellness is very important but I do not believe we have achieved that goal," Tillman said. "Even though we have a successful program, there is always room for improvement and more employees for our program to reach in a positive way." The Wellness Works program has created a culture of employee engagement and RCL has won an impressive number of awards as a result, such as:

  • Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America, #55, September, 2015.
  • South Florida Business Journal's Healthiest Employers, Winner Large Company, 2012, 2013, & 2014! Runner-up, Large Company 2015.
  • American Heart Association "Fit Friendly Company", PLATINUM achievement for 2013, GOLD in 2014, 2012 and previous years.
  • Consortium For A Healthier Miami-Dade & Florida Heart Research Institute, 2012 South Florida Worksite Wellness Awards Winner, Large Employer Group, (this award can only be won one time)
  • YMCA, Working Well Award - Wichita, 2015 for creating a healthy workplace.
  • Portland Business Journal's Healthiest Employers of Oregon, 1,500+ employee category 2012 honoree and 2013finalist (#9).
  • Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Excellence In HR Awards, Health & Well-Being Winner, 2013
  • Consortium For A Healthier Miami-Dade & Florida Heart Research Institute, 2012 South Florida WorksiteWellness Awards Winner, Large Employer Group, (this award can only be won one time)

Creating a culture of health is no easy task, especially when you have to have a program for employees both on land and at sea. The key, according to Kim, to fostering this culture of wellness is to "incorporate the wellness program into the everyday way of life of each employee, ensuring that each employee is aware of and knows how to take advantage of all of the wellness services available."

Case Study 3 - Western Reserve Hospital

At this year's Employer Healthcare & Benefits Congress, we had the opportunity to meet the Wellness Coordinator for Western Reserve Hospital, Johanna Tanno. Based in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Tanno attended this year's EHBC event to gain knowledge about innovative wellness initiatives in the workplace and network with industry colleagues. The hospital employs approximately 800 people, and 80 percent of them engage in their program.

Tanno explained that their measure for success at Western Reserve Hospital is weight loss. "I know this isn't ideal but I meet the participants where they are, and through health coaching, change their perspective of success," she said. "Participants can benefit from the program by more than just losing weight, through their incentive program they can save money on their health insurance premiums by achieving certain biometric results as well."

Their program features a wide array of health challenges and programs to help employees be as healthy as they can be. The onsite cafeteria has been completely overhauled under Johanna's oversight to serve primarily healthy meals, with only one unhealthy option being offered a day. All nutritional information is posted for employees to see. Anyone with access to their intranet can also review their health education library and find answers to any health related question they may have.

Finally, every employee who is part of the LIVE (Lifestyle Investment Vitality, and Education) FITone Program receives free health coaching either monthly or bi-monthly. These sessions are up to 30 minutes long and focus on creating and achieving both long and short term goals. Wellness for Life is their biometric screening program that is free to all employee and for the 80 employees who participate in the FITone program, it serves as their health and weight loss initiative.

The program also has a focus on health challenges in teams and individually. Individually, the LIVE FITone group participates in weekly challenges. These could be as simple increasing their steps or activity level, to getting employees to drink more water. The goal for these challenges is to be fun and interactive. For instance one challenge was the best active selfie.Team challenges include activities like employees meeting to train for, and then compete in, a 5k.

The group meet for weekly for 12 weeks at a local track and all members were able to complete the challenge. A similar group is currently meeting to go hiking. A notable part of the FITone program is that the employee pays to participate. The fee is a modest $0.43 a day, or $3 a week, and includes a FitBit for participants. It is Johanna's desire to see this phased out in the future. Employees who are paying to engage in the program have "skin in the game," which is crucial to maintaining an active presence.

"Even though I believe in the 'skin in the game"' theory I also believe that wellness should be a gift to all employees," said Tanno. When asked what advice she would give to other wellness programs, Johanna offered two pieces of wisdom. The first, make the program clear and defined. "I have found employees want a step-by-step process," she explained. "If I do this, then I can receive this get this.' They want something to work for and the ability to chart their progress toward that goal.

If the goal is too aloof the employee loses focus and doesn't progress. "Her second piece of advice is to keep the program fresh. "This is the most challenging part," Tanno said. "I try to think of new and inventive ideas. I spend a lot of time networking with like-minded individuals to see what has worked for them. I use tools from the industry or internet to keep things fresh. The EHBC conference was a great place to network and see what other companies are doing and try to implement them here."

Johanna's vision of the future is offer the FITone program free for everyone. She also hopes to create an onsite fitness centers with everything from fitness equipment to a wellness room where employees can de-stress for 15 minutes, refocus, and rejuvenate. She would also like to see the workstations revamped to be conducive to the modern workplace with the addition of standing desks.

Helping employees live a healthier life is a difficult job, especially when that employees' job is to ensure the health of others like Johanna's hospital employees. But through offering healthy food, creating activities that actually interest her employee population and ensuring they are active in their own wellness program, Johanna is making the difference.

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