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Seven Illinois Companies Honored for Outstanding Worksite Wellness Programs

Thursday, March 25, 2010 Lifestyle News J E 4
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CHICAGO, March 24 Seven Illinois companies have been honored with the first annual WOWIE Award, sponsored by The Illinois State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management (ISC-SHRM) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL). The WOWIE award recognizes employers who champion the health of their employees and strive to create a work culture that promotes physical activity.

Applications were divided into two categories: "Companies with More than 200 Employees," and "Companies with Fewer Than 200 Employees." Three awards were given in each of the following categories: Platinum, Gold and Silver.

Recipients include:

Companies with More Than 200 Employees

Platinum: City of St. Charles Wellness Program and Team, St. Charles, Ill.

Gold: City of Highland Park, Ill.

Silver: TRW Automotive, Marshall, Ill.

Companies with Fewer Than 200 Employees

Platinum: Robinson Engineering, South Holland, Ill.

Gold: DISTek Integrations, Carthage, Ill.

Silver: Lafarge Joppa, Grand Chain, Ill.

Silver: Alper Services LLC, Chicago

The City of St. Charles Wellness Program received a Platinum Award in the "More than 200 Employees" category, in part, because it was able to incent employees to adopt healthy behaviors in exchange for lower health care premiums.

The city's program consisted of three goals: encouraging healthy lifestyles among employees, reducing health care costs for the city and providing an opportunity for employees to decrease their health insurance premiums by achieving one or more of six health goals:

Additionally, the city established a "Wellness Team," comprising employees in several departments to communicate about health and wellness topics using the employee newsletter, payroll stuffers, email, the company's human resources blog and materials available in the company library. The city also holds an annual employee health fair.

Results of their comprehensive commitment to employee wellness have been impressive so far, according to Brian Townsend, St. Charles city administrator.

"Sixty-one percent of employees surveyed said they started an exercise program and 62 percent started to eat healthier food because of Wellness Team initiatives," he said. "The city further revealed that its wellness initiatives reduced the number of sick days per employee by 16 percent; reduced hospital admissions by 26 percent, reduced workers compensation costs by 75 percent and reduced health care costs 12 percent per employee."

South Holland, Ill.-based Robinson Engineering received a Platinum Award in the "200 Employees or Fewer" category with its "Robinson Employee Wellness program," which was established in 2007.

The Robinson's Employee Wellness Program provides a wide spectrum of health information and services, from monthly health topics to employee health fairs that all seek to improve employee health. The program consisted of:

Robinson also hosts annual health screenings and flu shot clinics.

Overall, Robinson has seen dramatic increases in participation and health results in the three years since it began the program.

According to Robinson CEO Chris King, 99 percent of employees participated in the health screenings in the program's first year, which the company believes led to an overall 73% improvement in cholesterol levels among its workforce. More importantly, King said the commitment to employee health helped the company realize a 10 to 1 return on its investment in terms of improved employee productivity and reduced health care costs.

"More and more employers and human resources professionals have come to realize that employee wellness programs are excellent ways to promote positive health care behaviors and create more productive workers and employees," said John Jorgensen, president of ISC-SHRM.

"These companies have reduced health care costs, increased participation in their wellness programs and improved their employee's health," said Dieter Freer, senior vice president, Illinois Market Segments, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL). "Truly, these winning companies have hit a grand slam in executing employee wellness programs, and I look forward to presenting them with their awards in August."

Winners will be honored at the ISC-SHRM annual meeting this August in Oak Brook, Ill.

Sponsored by BCBSIL, ISC-SHRM developed an Website focused on employee wellness programs. Called "WOW" or "Wellness in our Workplace," the site provides information to human resources professionals who are interested in developing and offering employee wellness programs.

About ISC-SHRM

The Illinois State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management (ISC-SHRM) is dedicated to serving the needs of SHRM chapters in Illinois by representation to SHRM and assistance in achieving each SHRM Illinois chapter's highest potential. ISC-SHRM promotes professionalism in human resources and adds value to the SHRM membership. The ISC-SHRM Board is made up of volunteer representatives across Illinois who serve to advance the human resources profession.

Our purpose is to support over 12,800 human resources professionals in Illinois who are either members of SHRM Illinois chapters or members of SHRM by providing timely and relevant information, ongoing professional development opportunities and intra-state communication regarding issues of interest in the field of human resources.

For more information, visit ISC-SHRM on the web at www.illinoisshrm.org.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

With more than 7 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Started in 1936, BCBSIL is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSIL is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

-- blood pressure less than 130/85 -- LDL cholesterol less than 130 -- weight/BMI within normal limits based on a physician certified chart -- cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week -- being tobacco free -- completing the online Blue Cross and Blue Shield health risk assessment

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois - Health Care
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