"Wellness is a Smart Business Strategy"

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Wellness is a smart business strategy

Tallahassee Democrat - Tallahassee, Fla.

Author: Mary Barley
Date: Jan 25, 2011
Start Page: n/a
Section: OPINION
Text Word Count: 503

Document Text

Whether you're a CEO of a small business or a midsized organization, director of a state agency, or an executive at a large corporation, you most likely recognize that health care costs are a major area of concern. Quite simply, the bottom line is greatly affected by the wellness of employees.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, despite the global economic downturn, employers in the United States and Europe never have been more interested in work-force health and well-being. By taking a few steps, companies can turn employee wellness into a competitive advantage.

The "2010 Healthcare Cost Survey," a report from global consulting firm Towers Watson, shows that companies that invest in staff health are more productive, attract the best staff and pay less in health-care insurance costs.

In order to help employers in the Big Bend area understand more about wellness as a business strategy, the Working Well initiative is featuring Dr. Ron Loeppke as keynote speaker at Wednesday's Fifth Annual CEO Breakfast.

Working Well was created more than four years ago and its mission is to teach companies how to create employee wellness programs and to introduce local resources through monthly mentoring meetings. These meetings also give members an opportunity to network with, and learn from, each other.

Loeppke is vice chairman of U.S. Preventive Medicine and serves as chairman of the Integrated Benefits Institute. Capital Regional Medical Center, Coventry Health Care of Florida, Fringe Benefits Management Co. and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, which have supported Working Well since its inception, are sponsors for this event.

"Employee well-being has moved up the corporate agenda in recent years and shows no sign of abating," said Loeppke. "The global financial crisis hasn't curtailed corporate investment in wellness programs."

As financial capital freezes, human capital heats up. It is the work force that helps companies weather the storm. Companies might not be able to afford a new IT system. Instead they depend on the creativity, innovation and resilience of their people and they recognize that good health is important."

A 2008 study by the National Business Group on Health -- a U.S. organization made up of some of the country's largest employers -- found that companies with effective health programs in place yield 20 percent more revenue per employee, deliver 57-percent higher shareholder returns, and face sick leave costs five times lower than companies without such programs.

This year's Working Well program will include awards to companies that have met the criteria for creating a results-oriented wellness program. In addition, the person who has shown the most improvement in health through the company wellness program and inspired others in the process will receive the Inspiration Award.

Mary Barley, co-chair of Working Well, is director of corporate wellness at Gold's Gym/Women's World in Tallahassee. Contact her by e-mail at marybarley50@comcast.net.

Coming up

The CEO Breakfast is Wednesday at the Turnbull Center. Breakfast and networking begin at 6:30 a.m., and the program continues from 7:30 to 9 a.m. To register, go to www.workingwellonline.com.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

Abstract (Document Summary)

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, despite the global economic downturn, employers in the United States and Europe never have been more interested in work-force health and well-being.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.