Original Date: 04/24/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Wellness Works
Midwest Metal Products has successfully implemented a proactive wellness program that focuses on health through education, exercise, and glyconutritional supplements to promote employee wellness and prevent illness.
Midwest Metal Products (MMP) did not have a wellness program prior to 2004; however, they did have a very strong focus on recognizing, appreciating, and assisting employees through a number of programs that included a generous profit sharing program, a 401(k) plan, life insurance, dental insurance, fully paid health insurance, and a prescription card program. Employees were also recognized for achieving attendance milestones, birthdays, and other special significant occasions – all of which motivated and enhanced a productive and loyal workforce. As health insurance premiums and prescription drug costs more than doubled from 1998 to 2005, companies were forced to raise employee health premiums to absorb the soaring costs. This crisis was the driving force that caused MMP to take a proactive approach focusing on employee wellness. MMP compared the preventive maintenance on its machinery to performing preventive maintenance on its workforce.
This new approach required changing the thinking of the employees. In July 2001 employees were introduced to glyconutritional supplements. Guidelines and information that emphasized the benefits of glyconutritional supplements were distributed to employees on company time. MMP strongly advocated glyconutrient science and encouraged its employees to make this part of their dietary routine.
In 2004 MMP created the Wellness Team to oversee the wellness initiatives. The team meets monthly to coordinate awareness and implement education, exercise, and nutrition projects. MMP joined the Wellness Council of Iowa to increase access to education and support materials, case studies, and training sessions. Exercise projects implemented by the Wellness Team include the Pedometer Program (10,000 steps per day), Lighten Up Iowa (weight loss), and sponsoring recreational activities. The Wellness Team pays for a portion of the cost for health club memberships and $50 toward home exercise equipment. Nutritional projects include monthly “Lunch ‘n Learns” where employees receive information on cholesterol, blood pressure, weight loss, and other high-risk health issues. A “fruits and veggies” promotion occurs in March – nuts now replace candy, fruits replace donuts, bottled water is readily available throughout the plant, and the last shipping day of the month is celebrated with fresh fruit. The monthly Body Bulletins newsletter is an easy-to-read monthly publication distributed to all employees. Other wellness perks include free flu shots for all employees, $250 toward shoe inserts, $50 gift cards for an annual physical, the Employee Assistance Program (five free counseling sessions per year), “Thanks A Lot” (coworker appreciation program), reimbursement for tobacco cessation programs, a Heart-Reach mobile unit (on-site testing), and health risk assessments.
MMP views its Wellness Program as a long-range, culture change initiative. Increased employee participation is a testimony to the program’s success. MMP strongly promotes its wellness program knowing that a healthy workforce is more innovative and productive and whose efforts positively impact the productivity of the business. MMP’s Wellness Team continues to create and execute new projects that focus on the health of its employees.
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