Chamber Backs Wellness Programs

Dec 31, 2007

 
As health care costs continue rising, businesses are discovering that a modest investment in employees' health and well-being is a significant cost saver and productivity enhancer.

Representatives from 75 companies gathered at the U.S. Chamber to share best workplace wellness practices at the Keeping America's Workforce Healthy: Prevention, Wellness, and Behavior conference. The audience included both large companies, such as Safeway, Pfizer, and Kraft Foods, and small and midsize businesses such as Langdale Industries, a 113-year-old Georgia-based industrial wood products company.

Mark Wilson, vice president of human resources for Langdale, said his company has cut health care costs without raising employee costs due to a wellness program that focuses on the ABCs-adding incentives, encouraging behavioral changes and preventative care, and relying on community collaboration.

Langdale has a safety incentive program that rewards employees who work safely and are accident free. Also, employees who take annual health assessments and physical exams can rack up points that are redeemable for products on Amazon.com. Further, the company partners with local health care providers and city and county governments to share information and resources.

Paul S. Speranza Jr., Chamber chairman and vice chairman, secretary, and general counsel of Rochester, New York-based Wegmans Food Markets, spoke to conference attendees about Wegmans' Eat Well, Live Well program in which groups of employees engage in friendly contests regarding fruit and vegetable consumption and the number of steps they take tracked by a company-provided pedometer. Eat Well, Live Well has been adopted by more than 80 companies in Rochester.

View a Webcast of the conference.

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