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Iowa Employers – Interested in Valuable Safety/Wellness Resources at No Cost?

Since the physical health and safety of employees is paramount to having a successful and productive workforce, many Iowa employers have contacted me over the years seeking resources to help implement or improve their safety and/or wellness initiatives.

In the past, I have had the pleasure of working with the University of Iowa’s Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence (HWCE) on various research projects. HWCE’s recent focus in the wellness prevention and safety arena has been both impressive and forward thinking. Their desire to be a purveyor of resources to small- and middle- market employers in Iowa is admirable and well-intentioned.

Many employers, specifically smaller organizations, find themselves somewhat paralyzed on how to begin pursuing a wellness and/or safety program for their workplace. Unfortunately, they may become overwhelmed early in the process and disengage before they pursue a plan that can serve as the foundation for later alterations, experimentations and enhancements.

I am now pleased to share with you an opportunity to evaluate excellent, free resources through HWCE!

HWCE is currently seeking employers with 10 to 249 employees to provide feedback on these materials. Your input will be used to improve current resources offered by HWCE and to develop new materials. If you participate in the evaluations, you will receive these free materials as well as be given several opportunities to win $50. The first drawing will be held on November 10.

If you are interested or would like to learn more, please register at http://www.HWCE.org/safety-and-wellness/ or contact Jenny Hall, HWCE’s associate director for outreach at 319-335-4200.

If you know of employers who qualify in size and may have an interest in learning more about HWCE and this particular program, I encourage you to share the link provided above.

Here’s to our collective health and safety!

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Total Worker Health – the Time is Now

Within the past week, the Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence (HWCE) announced the release of a Total Worker Health (TWH) Supplemental issue from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM). Quite a mouthful, isn’t it?

This document contains relevant information for both small and large employers to consider. David P. Lind Benchmark (DPLB) co-authored an article with HWCE entitled, “An Employee Total Health Management-Based Survey of Iowa Employers.” The article addresses health and wellness program activities within Iowa based on a random survey conducted in 2012 by DPLB along with the research expertise of Data Point Research, Inc.

For the last five years, I have had the honor of collaborating with HWCE on many research-related issues regarding health care in Iowa. As part of the University of Iowa College of Public Health, HWCE’s mission is to improve the “health of workers in Iowa and nationally through integrated health promotion and health protection research, collaboration with peer institutions, and dissemination of successful interventions.”

As discussed in the published JOEM article, when comparing the number of employee well-being programs offered within the workplace, a great chasm exists between small Iowa employers and their larger counterparts. Smaller Iowa employers (less than 50 employees), make up 94 percent of all Iowa employers and yet a relatively small number offer well-being initiatives.

Perceived lack of resources certainly affects whether employers will implement the programs discussed in the article. Based on another study we completed in 2012 for Capital Crossroads, there is some hope. Employers without wellness programs appear to see the benefit of offering wellness initiatives but are unsure how to begin the process – and, keep the program sustainable into the future. The key is to find ongoing-community resources to help assist employers.

The aim for all employers is to mitigate increasing healthcare costs and the subsequent health insurance premiums that follow. Having healthy, productive and mentally-engaged employees at the workplace is equally important.

There are many insightful articles found in this JOEM issue. Hopefully, you will find a few gems to help make your “employees healthier, safer, and more productive” within your workplace environment.

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The ROI of Wellness

In our latest 2012 Study, Iowa employers were asked about Health and Wellness initiatives they are offering to their employees. As demonstrated below, organizations with less than 250 employees are far less likely to have wellness initiatives in place at their worksite. A few major reasons for this great chasm deal mostly with cost and time. Smaller employers have fewer resources (both in time and money) and desire to spend such resources on other pressing issues.

David P. Lind Benchmark

Employers were asked what type of “return on investment” (ROI) did they observe over the last two years of having a wellness program. As the next slide demonstrates, this response varies wildly based on organization size. Most likely, larger employers spend a great deal more time attempting to assess the ROI on such programs, and they appear to be more bullish on the results compared to their smaller counterparts. As you might imagine, there are many different ways to calculate a return on investment with wellness programs – in fact, the specific process used will determine the outcome. I believe the slide below is more about the “perception” Iowa employers have when assessing the payout of such programs. Keep in mind that a return of $1 simply means a “breakeven.” Any reported amount beyond $1 means the program provides a positive return.

David P. Lind Benchmark

The questions for this particular module of our Study were developed in collaboration with the University of Iowa Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence. This module attempts to learn if Iowa employers are achieving what the Institute of Medicine in 2005 proposed under its Employee Total Health Management Program.

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