Premier Leadership Awards Profile
As part of our continuing leadership awards feature, Corporate Wellness Magazine recently conducted an interview with Allison Golding and Jill Zartman of Premier; whose wellness program "Live well, be Premier" was honored during the 4th Annual Employer Healthcare and Benefits Conference. Our discussion was a brief overview of the evolution of the program, ideas for the future, what drove the program's creation and the results the program has seen. This made for an interesting case study on a thriving wellness program.
The History of the Program
The first thing about the program which was mentioned was that the program has seen evolution over time, and that planning ahead is a crucial part of their success. "We knew the program would not take place at the snap of a finger, we had to plan for a longer vision," explained Golding. The first era of the program began in 2009 with making people aware of their own health status; so they incentivized their employees taking a biometric exam and completion of a health risk assessment.
The financial incentive part of the program is called "Be Well Bucks". The next year built upon this by adding a requirement to meet with a health coach every quarter, so the employees can know how to act upon these numbers. In 2012 the "Move 365" program was added. The participating employees were given a pedometer, completely free of charge, and were tasked with taking 500,000 steps each quarter; alongside the required biometric screening and HRA to receive their "Be Well Bucks".
Along with the pedometers, employees were given access to an online portal where their pedometer steps were automatically wirelessly uploaded so they could track their steps and receive more information about fitness, nutrition, and other crucial information for leading a healthy lifestyle.
In this portal, competitions can be created where employees can challenge other employees, or department vs. department, or even floor vs. floor. Employees can also create their own teams and work together; or challenge other teams.
The latest enhancement to the "Be Well Bucks" program happened this year, when the program transitioned from a solely participation based program, to an outcomes-based incentive program; meaning the incentive is now received based on attaining certain biometric scores.
According to Golding, "This is something we wanted to build to and we felt we were at a place to do [it]". The pedometers were continued to be used. Competitions were continued as well, with an additional incentive given for participation in these events.
The Future of the Program
"We are deep in strategy this session for 2014" explained Golding. Premier is discussing what the incentive program will look like. "We learned a lot of lessons once we moved to outcomes based. What were the sensitive triggers for employees. What works, what doesn't work. We will be refining the outcome measures we selected to base the wellness incentive around."
Other consideration will be taken into account as well. There was employee feedback that the 500,000 step incentive was missed. "Motivation was lost to use the pedometers and track their steps, so we want to return that back to their program." In 2014, Premier will continue to refine the program and its transition to an outcomes based incentive structure.
The Creation of the Program
The employees at Premier were already health conscious prior the implementation of the program. "The program was born out of employee request" said Golding. "We are in the healthcare space, and have a knowledgeable employee base. This is a topic of interest to them." The program, in its infancy, was entirely grassroots.
There were yoga and kickboxing instructors (employees) who wanted to have a space to lead classes with their coworkers. These employees requested a space to do this. At this time, Premier was located in their old office building where space was limited. "We found space and we made it work," said Golding.
Once Premier moved to their new building, a space for wellness was part of the design. "The building was brand new, so we could design it. We took into consideration that we wanted to make space for wellness. We have a wonderful, large workout area which has proven to be so popular we had to undergo construction to expand it."
The idea was to listen to their employees, and their needs. This goal is accomplished with aid of a very active wellness committee. They are involved with a lot of the design of the program. The community they are located in helps as well and Premier has reached out to make strong partnerships.
For example, the local YMCA provides walking and running classes to Premier employees along with daily on-site exercise classes and quarterly sports leagues, and a nearby spa comes on site to offer massages and reflexology. A healthcare provider also comes to talk with the employees, hosts lunch and learns, and to administer flu shots.
"We just let it evolve. We listened to what is out there, and tried to partner well," explained Golding.Another key part is leadership involvement from within the company. "Not only has it been supported by our leaders, it has been driven by them as well."
Many of the obvious results are present in the Premier workforce. Things like weight loss and a happier and more productive workforce are important results for the wellness initiative, but they are secondary to the unexpected benefits which arose. According to Golding "We are large company with almost 1,500 employees across the United States, it is hard to get to know the people you work with... the program has thrown people together who would not have an opportunity to work together. A nice surprise has been this opportunity to bring folks together, and get to know them in a different way."
There are also gatherings where employees come together and share their success stories. Premier also holds regular wellness activities which furthers the improved teamwork and cooperation among the workforce.On the numbers side, Premier comes in below the health trend. This is a great benefit for their self-funded health plan. "This is cost-savings; of course we're going to like that."
The "Live well, be Premier" program has been a great success. It began from a desire to give their employees what they wanted. The program followed a carefully orchestrated plan, which paid off. While implementing these changes however, they never lost sight of what the employees wanted.
The benefits have been above and beyond what was originally planned, with a healthier, happier workforce that operates better as a team and brings people together. It is for these reasons that Premier was given their Leadership Award. Congratulations on your success!