Preservation Society Sees Wellness as a Natural Extension of its Mission

It only makes sense that an organization dedicated to preserving and conserving historically significant resources would also embrace wellness for its employees. According to CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe, “Our wellness committee is very focused in getting the word out to employees that wellness is an integral part of our culture.”

Human Resources Manager Jan Doda is a vocal member of the committee, which is made up of people across the organization. “Each committee member gets ideas and input from their department and brings that to the committee meetings,” Doda said. Emails and bulletin board postings also keep employees engaged on the next wellness event or campaign.

The organization’s “Preserve You” program covers a range of topics related to wellness, including nutrition and weight management, online health coaching, preventive care, smoking cessation and weight management. The Society makes full use of the UnitedHealthcare Care24® speakers and resources to make the topics as relevant and
engaging as possible.

“Lunch-and-learns are very popular,” Doda said. “They are easy for everyone to attend and get their questions answered.” Reading nutrition labels, understanding what high fructose does to your body and learning how to cook healthier are just three examples of topics that employees have appreciated. The Society also hosts well-attended exercise classes, including Yogalates – a combination of Yoga and Pilates.

“It’s exciting to see how far our wellness program has come in the last few years,” Coxe said. “When we recognized just how much health care expenses affected our operating budget, we got serious about the impact wellness could have on our employees’ health and our bottom line.”

Now, employees are asked to participate in a certain number of activities – from the lunch and – learns to walking programs or events, to the annual onsite biometric health screening and online health assessment. Employees who do meet the minimum number of activities receive a contribution to their health savings account. The Society also pays up to $50 of participation costs if a specific activity has fees.

The UnitedHealthcare health assessment is particularly useful in helping plan the upcoming lunch-and-learn topics. If the aggregate reports show that employees are feeling a lot of stress or not getting enough exercise, the wellness committee can tailor its programs to address those issues. One innovative twist that the Society brings to the assessments is that once employees have completed both their biometric screening and the online health assessment, they earn an extra vacation day.

The screenings have helped employees understand the importance of regular checkups. One man discovered he had very high blood pressure. It was likely he would not have known this until his condition significantly worsened.

“A few years ago, wellness wasn’t top of mind for employees,” Coxe said. “Now, it’s really part of our culture.”

From 2010 to 2011, specific results include:

  • 5.4 points reduced in the average total cholesterol score
  • Average glucose score reduced 2.7%
  • Smoking decreased 2.8%
  • The low-risk population increased from 60.5% in 2010 to 69.3.% in 2011

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