12 Companies With Seriously Impressive Corporate Wellness Programs

Introducing a health and wellness program into a corporate setting comes bundled with two major benefits. The first, of course, revolves around preventing employees from succumbing to dangerous conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes as much as possible. After all, today’s lifestyle is pretty conducive to heightening the risk for all of these and more, so helping workers offset this stands as the most responsible choice. Secondly, because of this lowered chance of chronic — if not terminal — illness, this means saving money on health insurance costs. And we all know that corporations are all about money. So for those out there hoping to take care of their employees (which, come on, should be the top priority here), the following companies provide excellent blueprints for doing health and wellness right.

  1. IBM:

    US News & World Report considers IBM’s $300 compensation for employees engaged in “exercising, eating right, not smoking, and filling out a health risk questionnaire” a sterling example of a positive, effective corporate wellness program. After conducting its own health surveys across 18,000 participants, it noted a trend in high blood pressure, obesity, and high blood sugar and set out to prevent employees from succumbing to the associated diseases. This included not only the aforementioned financial incentive but easy access to health assessments, personalized consulting for nutrition and fitness programs, spending $25 million to ensure a healthier work/life balance (particularly for individuals serving as caretakers), and other perks. Perks that have earned IBM a litany of awards and honors as an employee-friendly corporation.

  2. Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority:

    No less than the Center for Disease Control used this Austin-based transportation department as a case study for why companies need corporate wellness programs. Absenteeism dropped (by 25%!) and morale rose in direct correlation to increased access to resources meant to improve their health. That meant two 24-hour fitness centers, personal trainers and coaches, workshops, smoking cessation, personalized nutrition assessments, and other options — not to mention incentives — promoting overall health and wellness. Eliminate the two major concerns employees hold when it comes to caring for their unique physical and mental needs, money and time, and they prove eager and receptive. Despite the initial expenditures, the Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority actually saw a significant decrease in its healthcare spending three years after implementation.

  3. Aetna:

    It makes sense that a health insurance provider would take pains to provide its own employees with the resources needed to stay as happy and healthy as possible. Because stress stands as such a major killer of workers worldwide, the company’s most notable programming sought to reduce its negative impact. Two different offerings — Mindfulness at Work and Viniyoga Stress Reduction — provided harried, anxious Aetna employees with meditation and yoga instruction to lower their risk of mental and physical health deterioration. Mindfulness at Work reduced the overall stress of participants by 36%, compared to 33% for Viniyoga, and 18% for individuals enrolled in neither course.

  4. MD Anderson Cancer Center:

    One of the premiere medical research facilities in the world takes amazing care of its staff through an impressive array of health and wellness benefits. Not only does it boast a fitness facility, nutritious lunch options, and an office specifically for working mothers, but a club for vegetarians, massages, weight loss support groups, personalized counseling, one-on-one wellness coaching, yoga, and plenty more offerings. There’s even a library of general health books available for employees to check out and discover more about their minds and bodies. In terms of diverse programming meant to keep workers safe, healthy, and cared for when stress and trauma hit, MD Anderson Cancer Center proves one of the nation’s most generous benefactors. And, as a further incentive, it hosts the Wellness Works! Awards where employees nominate their peers who have inspired them to get moving and get better.

  5. Yale-New Haven Hospital:

    Yale-New Haven Hospital teamed up with corporate wellness providers Medifit and wound up featured in Healthcare Design for its efforts. And by “efforts,” we mean the crazy impressive living well Fitness Center. More than 13,000 square feet host the latest fitness equipment and group classes, like spin, yoga, Zumba, and more. Nurses found themselves treated to complimentary relaxation classes as part of Nurses Week as one example of Yale-New Haven taking advantage of its sparkly new providence to better the lives of its employees. For further team and morale building, many of the biking buffs working out at the facility participated in an “indoor cycling” fundraiser benefiting the hospital.

  6. American Specialty Health:

    To probably nobody’s surprise at all, a company drawing in its profits by consulting other companies harbors a pretty sweet suite of health and wellness benefits. The American Heart Association, Men’s Fitness, and the National Business Group on Health have all lauded American Specialty Health’s devotion to keeping its employees satisfied with their lives, physically and mentally. Their San Diego office features its very own gym, while both campuses enjoy completely gratis nutrition and fitness coaching, which workers can use towards contests, compensations, and awards. In fact, they and their spouses even stand to earn an additional $600 annually if they achieve specific goals. As for classes, ASH offers up access to weight loss and smoking cessation in addition to general information about sticking with a healthy lifestyle. It even caters to employees interested in pursuing alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic.

  7. Virgin:

    As the masterminds behind National Employee Wellness Week, Virgin (and its Virgin HealthMiles initiative) know a few things about making sure workers don’t succumb fully to the stresses of daily responsibilities. Like American Specialty Health, the program isn’t relegated exclusively to the company itself – it also provides solutions for other corporations looking to incorporate their own wellness programs. Prevention stands as the highest priority, so they trumpet healthy eating and regular exercise as essential components of lowering the disease risk. And, seeing as how Virgin nets founder Richard Branson billions annually (or something like that), the folks at HealthMiles know that money talks. So it pushes a “pay-for-prevention” structure that gives employees financial compensation after achieving specific landmarks in their healthy living regimen.

  8. Google:

    The Internet icon consistently earns accolades for its employee benefits package, and obviously health and wellness rank pretty high up there as Important Things To Consider. Some Google campuses even keep doctors, nurses, and other healthcare services on site for employee convenience! When traveling, whether for work or for funsies, the company provides insurance and emergency services in the event a serious health and/or safety issue arises. Striking a viable work/life balance also concerns Google employees, so programs specifically for new parents (including bonuses!) and anyone hoping to continue their schooling (including tuition reimbursement!) exist to make sure they don’t sacrifice everything to their corporate overlords.

  9. American Express:

    American Express provides its employees with one of the most heavily decorated corporate wellness programs anywhere, earning regular applause from the American Heart Association, National Business Group on Health, and other organizations. It calls its initiative Healthy Living (how wonderfully succinct!), and — at its Phoenix branch — employees receive on-site medical care, including dental, dermatological, and well woman exams. They’ve also teamed up with local farms to serve nutritious, sustainable meals (and providing lessons in making them at home!) and even hosted a health and safety fair involving the families so everyone benefited from information regarding preventing diseases and injuries.

  10. Johnson & Johnson:

    Since the launch of its corporate wellness program in 2003, Johnson & Johnson employees quit smoking successfully (42%!), reduced their weight (55%!), and cut back on their stress levels (58%!) significantly. By 2007, they cut their healthcare costs by $400 per person. The company developed the UPLIV program so participants could track their stress levels and other mental and physical concerns over time and receive personalized assessments regarding what to do to better their lives. Other collaborations with health and wellness providers deal with exercise, energy, and eating right for all-around natural good-time family band solutions.

  11. Mayo Clinic:

    Seeing as how Mayo Clinic is a leading authority on all things medical, nobody should be surprised that its employees receive stellar health and wellness benefits. In fact, the research juggernaut even offers up its services to other corporations looking to launch their own programs keeping workers as disease- and injury-free as possible. Obviously, Mayo Clinic provides on-site fitness facilities and encourages work-life balance through travel and vacation discounts — an innovative idea! Worried parents can bring their sick children to work and leave them in the care of expert nurses, and backup daycare is available when the usual plans dissipate for whatever reason.

  12. Hewlett-Packard:

    Another corporation cited by the National Business Group on Health as a role model for others looking to promote a higher degree of health and wellness amongst their employees. Seventy-nine percent of Hewlett-Packard’s staff believe their superiors genuinely care about their mental and physical well-being. In total, they have built 48 fitness facilities, and flexible time and telecommuting options are available for workers with care-taking responsibilities or special mental and/or physical health needs. The Power Pink Initiative challenged participants to educate themselves and their peers about the realities of breast cancer, encouraging loved ones to schedule regular mammograms and self-exams. 2011 saw the launch of its Global Wellness Challenge for weight loss and exercise, drawing in more than 54,000 employees.

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