Best Practices: What's Out There?
Many of AARP’s current and past Best Employers for Workers Over 50 offer innovative wellness programs. Among them:
- At the National Institutes of Health, a four-time Best Employer winner, including the top-ranked winner in 2013, full- and part-time employees receive the following wellness benefits: flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, and stress management training. The Fit Plus Program supports the needs of employees age 50-plus that are beginning or maintaining a fitness program. The goal of the program is to get participants involved in exercise, and to encourage and develop healthy behaviors.
- Scripps Health, an eight-time Best Employer, offers a number of health and wellness benefits to employees. Their comprehensive Return to Work program offers individualized managed care by an assigned on-site nurse case manager to employees returning to work after illness or injury. The Employee Care Clinic (ECC) is an on-site employee clinic for episodic care, providing cost-effective and high-quality care to employees returning to work and employees injured on the job. Furthermore, employees are offered flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, on-site massage, and stress management training. Seventy-one percent of Scripps employees utilized at least one of these wellness-related benefits during the past year.
- West Virginia University, a two-time Best Employer, provides employees with benefits similar to Scripps Health. Additionally, employees have access to the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease, the Dr. Dean Ornish Spectrum Program (to make healthy, sustainable life changes), Dining with Diabetes, and the West Virginia Family Nutrition Program.
- Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, also a two-time Best Employer, hosts annual health fairs for its employees. The health fairs offer bone density tests, dental exams, blood pressure tests, support groups for various eye diseases and health conditions, nutrition classes, and a diabetes and hypertension prevention and management program.
Wellness initiatives are an effective way to address rising health care costs, gain a competitive edge in recruitment, and get employees to stay on the job longer. As companies have discovered, a few ounces of prevention can lead to healthier employees and a healthier bottom line.
To see what other AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 offer as to wellness programs, go to www.aarp.org/bestemployers.