Diversified Group Named One of Connecticut’s Healthiest Employers of 2018

This announcement from the Hartford Business Journal was published on December 3, 2018.

Meet CT’s healthiest workplaces

Hartford Business Journal’s first-ever Healthiest Employers Awards recognize organizations dedicated to employee health and safety in addition to their efforts to implement wellness programs.

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The awards program was done in partnership with the Healthiest Employers Group, which determined the finalists and winners using a scoring methodology managed by Springbuk, a privately held technology and data research firm.

Companies that participated in the awards program had to complete an hour-long online assessment. Companies were then ranked based on their performance on the following six measures: culture and leadership commitment; foundational components; strategic planning; communication and marketing; programming and interventions; and reporting and analytics.

CATEGORY: 0-150 CT EMPLOYEES

1st Place | Antea Group

2nd Place | FM Global

3rd Place | Gallagher

4th Place | Diversified Group

5th Place | Safelite AutoGlass

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Photo Source: Hartford Business Journal

Diversified Group

4th Place | Category: 0-150 CT employees

Industry: Employee benefits

CT Headquarters: Marlborough

CT Employees: 64

When Diversified Group (DG) started its fitness program back in 1985, it basically consisted of a boot camp-style fitness contest.

But over the years, commitment to health and wellness among employees has intensified to where DG now has a wellness department staffed by six certified health coaches, personal trainers and registered dietitians. The wellness team is responsible for spearheading the company’s wellness program.

DG has also maintained a modest fitness facility on its grounds, and within the last five years, certified instructors have been stopping by on a weekly basis for cycling, strength and yoga classes.

DG also hosts regular meditation workshops giving workers access to guided meditation sessions to decompress and recharge.

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Factoring in wellness programs during open enrollment

wellness-programs-webThis article was published on November 5, 2018 on Employee Benefit News, written by Ann Marie O’Brien.

This fall, millions of employees are deciding which health plan to select for 2019. They are reviewing and comparing a variety of factors when making this important decision, such as costs, benefits and care provider networks.

Another component that crops up to the surprise of many workers? Wellness programs.

Employers know that a healthy employee can make for a more productive, satisfied employee. And many workers want to improve their health and are often surprised to learn that employers offer wellness programs. That mutual interest is behind the rise of workplace wellness programs.

Wellness programs usually are made available to employees by their companies directly or through health benefit plans. In either case, employees can factor in the value of wellness offerings, such as weight-loss programs, tobacco-cessation programs or health screenings when determining a health plan that best meets their needs.

A recent UnitedHealthcare report, “Employee Wellness Programs Bring Results,” suggests that companies that strengthen their wellness offerings can yield cost-savings and improve employee health over the long-term.

Many companies, like those highlighted in the report, have successfully established a culture of well-being through their wellness programs.

While each company’s wellness program may be strongest when tailored to its employees’ needs, successful programs often include offering meaningful financial incentives, or a mental health focus through offerings like mindfulness classes and relaxation rooms, or a financial well-being component, like estate-planning seminars. And, many employers find offering the services of a wellness coordinator or nurse liaison onsite encourages a culture of health.

The report compared companies with award-winning wellness programs alongside a peer group of similar companies. It found those that make positive changes to their health offerings over the years may reap the rewards of healthier employees and reduced healthcare costs down the road.

For example, these companies experienced 14.2% per-member, per-month lower costs, even with a 7.5% greater claim risk score (based on their employees’ health status), than the peer group, and the employees at the high-performing companies experienced 24% fewer emergency room visits. Also, the report finds that it can take time for employer wellness programs to yield significant benefits.

Strengthening wellness programs strengthens employees.

The report revealed that the companies with the most effective programs had several common characteristics that contribute to their plan’s positive results and encourage a culture of health, including enthusiastic involvement by senior leaders, positive encouragement from internal advocates, offering employee incentives and putting in place measurable success barometers.

Also, these companies conduct health surveys and challenges, biometric screenings and financial well-being programs, and they all survey their employees to gather feedback to refine their programs.

The informational benefits meetings that are often part of open enrollment offer companies a good opportunity to collect and analyze employee feedback to further strengthen their wellness offerings. It is also an ideal time for employers who have not yet done so to consider offering a wellness program that supports their employees’ health and may improve their well-being while reducing costs for employees and the company.

The Changing Definition of Wellness

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After decades of preaching to workers about the importance of staying fit and physically healthy, the term worksite wellness is beginning to mean much more to employers and employees alike. Leading companies are expanding their workplace wellness initiatives to address mental health and financial security – key components of their employee’s overall well-being that go way beyond physical health.

The National Business Group on Health shows that a majority of employers are addressing emotional and mental health as well as financial security as part of their overall well-being strategy. Other initiatives, such as support for community involvement and social interaction, are pointing to a growing trend of focusing on the entire person and not just physical health or fitness. Research is showing that addressing physical health is only one way to improve the workplace experience and reduce employee turnover.

More Choice Means Greater Satisfaction

While traditional wellness programs have been more “one size fits all” and lacking in personal appeal, some employers are encouraging employees to do the things they like to do by giving employees a flat dollar amount to spend on a gym or pool membership, personal trainer or other self-defined activity they find rewarding. Volunteering to help with community causes or enrolling in educational classes are not out of the realm of possibilities, since these activities can do a lot to help an employee gain a healthier perspective on work and life.

When choices are made by individuals and not for them, better decisions often result. As people share their experiences with others, the impact on a company’s culture can be extremely positive. Better well-being becomes an important priority for everyone and not just those who like spending time on treadmills or yoga mats. From the employer’s perspective, objectives can expand beyond healthcare cost savings and increased productivity. As an example, offering health coaching is a great way to focus on the needs of individuals rather than the group as a whole. It can help companies address emotional and mental needs as well as physical needs.

If worksite wellness is a priority for your organization, this might be a good time to review the goals of your program and then to make sure the activities you are offering are in line with those objectives. There is a lot more to be gained from worksite wellness than lower medical claim costs and redefining wellness may be just what your organization needs.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month – Why Your Company Should Care

This article was published on May 4, 2018 on Corporate Fitness & Health’s blog. Photo Credit Corporate Fitness & Health.

Given that most of us spend a good amount of our time at work, it should come as no surprise that our work environment plays a significant role in our mental health and overall well-being. Despite the role that office culture plays in employee health, companies rarely, if ever, mention mental health.

As mental health issues become more prevalent in the workplace, employers should consider taking ownership, and learn how to best combat the stressors that are particular to their workforce.

2016 Work and Well-Being survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that less than half of the 1,501 workers surveyed felt their organization supported employee well-being, and one in three reported being chronically stressed on the job.

Mental Health Problems Cost Employers

Less than one-third of Americans are happy with their work. Half of the workforce is “checked-out.”  18% are unhappy with their current position with some even sabotaging the success of their workplace. An unhappy or unhealthy work environment is bad for a business’ bottom line and bad for employees.

Employees with untreated mental illnesses cost employers billions of dollars each year. An estimated 217 million days of work are lost annually due to productivity decline related to mental illness and substance abuse, according to the Center for Prevention and Health Services.

Workplace Stress

Stress is on the rise. More than half (54%) of employees are reporting high stress levels, up five points from last year. Further, 37% say their stress levels are higher than the previous year, according to the 2017 National Business Group on Health/Aon Hewitt Consumer Health Mindset Survey.

The good news? There are a number of ways employers can help combat stress, such as creating an emotional fitness strategy to reduce stigma and address stressful, top-of-mind issues.

If we recognized that all of us deal with our mental health every day – from personal health or family stressors, to work demands, to upsetting world events – we would understand the value in protecting it and promoting our personal resilience to deal with whatever life presents to us.

Who is your population? Evaluate your work environment to address issues that negatively impact employees’ emotional health and train leaders and managers to spot the subtle warning signs of a suffering employee.

Those in unhealthy work environments tend to gain more weight, have more healthcare appointments, and have higher rates of absenteeism. Stress from work can also impact their family life, mental health and even increase risks for chronic illnesses and heart attacks.

Mental Health Awareness Month Is an Opportunity

People aren’t considered either mentally healthy or mentally ill. Mental health is a continuum, and an organization’s culture can greatly impact where an employee falls on that continuum.

Nearly 1 in 5 people experienced a diagnosable mental health problem in the last year, and many other people are at risk, according to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). The vast majority of people struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses suffer in silence.

Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportune time for employers to open up the conversation about mental health issues in the workplace. Implementing stress awareness, or a corporate wellness program are just a few ways companies can promote positive mental well-being in their workplace.

The Diversified Group family of companies includes Corporate Fitness & Health. With over 30 years of experience, CF&H can help your organization implement a wellness program that will keep your employees happy, healthy and engaged.

May is Employee Health & Fitness Month

May is National Employee Health & Fitness Month! Diversified Group’s wellness consulting and services company, Corporate Fitness & Health (CF&H), celebrates employee health and fitness all year long. But, they want to encourage all organizations to use this month to show their employees how much they care about their well-being. With chronic illnesses (and the expensive medical claims that go with them) on the rise, employers have started to take it upon themselves to help encourage employees to focus on their health. However, employee wellness programs are not just about saving money on medical claims. It’s about taking care of the people you rely on for your business to be successful.

So, What Can You Do to Celebrate?

Here is a list of things you can do to encourage employee wellness at your organization:

  • Provide employees with a company-wide walking break. Even just 20 minutes of walking can do wonders for the heart and the mind.
  • Provide a healthy breakfast or luncheon. Many companies are quick to bring in pizza for their employee luncheons, but if you have been trying to educate employees on good nutrition, providing healthy sandwich and salad options sends a stronger message that you really believe in it. More and more places are now offering healthier catering options such as Subway, Panera, Cosi and B.GOOD (locations vary).
  • Provide an onsite seminar or display. Give your employees a chance to learn something new about their health or an opportunity to practice some healthy behaviors. Corporate Fitness & Health can offer a variety of educational opportunities with topics ranging from exercise to stress to nutrition.
  • Host an onsite blood pressure clinic. A simple blood pressure check takes less than 2 minutes, but it can potentially save a person’s life if they haven’t been to see their doctor in a few years.
  • Kick off a wellness challenge. Sometimes a little competition goes a long way when it comes to motivating people to focus on their health. Challenges can cover a variety of health habits, such as walking or other exercise, fruit and veggie consumption, weight loss, hydration challenges and more.

And, don’t forget that May is also Mental Health Awareness month. So, it is also a great time to try offering meditation breaks. CF&H has skilled staff members who can lead guided meditation sessions and teach valuable breath-work techniques to help reduce stress.

Corporate Fitness & Health

Does Your Organization Offer an On-Site Fitness Center? Here’s Why It Should!

Worksite wellness programs are becoming more popular these days, as companies increase their efforts to attract and keep top talent. A recent article in Employee Benefit News discussed reasons why companies are even starting to take worksite wellness one step further by offering on-site fitness centers.

This is a perk that all of us here at Diversified are fortunate to be able to utilize and enjoy! Our offices include a fitness room that offers yoga, spin classes, toning classes and more to all of our employees. Why do we think this is such a necessary benefit? The Diversified Group family of companies includes Corporate Fitness & Health (CF&H), our wellness consulting and services company, who believes that employee health is an investment. And, they know that when a company crafts and offers the right wellness program it can truly improve the overall health and productivity of its workforce.

Learn more about CF&H here! And, to learn the reasons why on-site fitness centers are becoming increasingly popular, read the full Employee Benefit News article below.

3 reasons employers are offering on-site fitness centers

This article was published on January 31, 2018 on Employee Benefit News, written by Ann Wyatt.

It’s no secret that employers are in a constant struggle for top talent. And, it’s only going to get tougher in the future. Current government statistics tell us the U.S. employment rate was 4.2% in September. That’s down by more than half of its peak of 10.2% in October 2009. At the same time, a large portion of the workforce will be retiring in the next 15 years. By 2030, every baby boomer will be 65-plus, which means a full 18% of the U.S. population will be at retirement age. That’s a lot of retirees — and a lot of jobs left to fill.

Essentially, there just aren’t going to be enough good people to fill all the open roles in the next 10-15 years. And that’s a serious problem for today’s modern business — one companies need to address. That’s why many organizations are offering up a slew of unique and useful employee benefits to attract and retain the best employees.

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Photo Source: BenefitNews.com

Among those offerings are on-site fitness centers. Why are on-site fitness centers an increasingly popular employee perk? Three reasons come to mind.

1. Employees want a more personal touch. According to research, a vast majority of employees say a personal touch is important in their health, well-being and fitness program. That means employees are seeking access to “live experts” who are credible, engaging, easy to access and provide one-on-one support for their specific needs. Corporate fitness centers meet this need directly by offering up a physical space where employees can work with these coaches and fitness consultants to develop individualized plans to meet their unique health needs.

2. Convenience is everything. Nearly half of employees who are offered on-site fitness facility access chose to participate largely due to their convenience, inviting environment and low- or no-cost membership. After all, it’s a lot easier to get a workout in if you only have to travel two floors down on the elevator versus 10 miles in rush-hour traffic. Convenience counts for a lot with employees.

3. They help employees’ increasing need to manage stress. Employees are under more stress than ever before. The World Health Organization recently called stress the health epidemic of the 21st century. And, it’s costing employers significantly. One recent study found that work-related stress costs U.S. businesses $30 billion a year in lost workdays (some estimate it at $300 billion). On-site fitness centers can not only help employees better manage stress with a host of programs but they can also help employers make a dent in those lost productivity costs above.

Corporate Fitness & Health

Top 10 health conditions costing employers the most

The article below was published on September 13, 2017 by Employee Benefit News, written by Nick Otto.

Photo source: benefitnews.com

As healthcare costs continue to rise, more employers are looking at ways to target those costs. One step they are taking is looking at what health conditions are hitting their pocketbooks the hardest.

“About half of employers use disease management programs to help manage the costs of these very expensive chronic conditions,” says Julie Stich, associate vice president of content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans. “In addition, about three in five employers use health screenings and health risk assessments to help employees identify and monitor these conditions so that they can be managed more effectively. Early identification helps the employer and the employee.”

What conditions are costly for employers to cover? In IFEPB’s Workplace Wellness Trends 2017 Survey, more than 500 employers were asked to select the top three conditions impacting plan costs. The following 10 topped the list.

10. High-risk pregnancy – Although high-risk pregnancies have seen a dip of 1% since 2015, they still bottom out the list in 2017; 5.6% of employers report these costs are a leading cost concern for health plans.

9. Smoking – Smoking has remained a consistent concern of employers over the last several years; 8.6% of employers report smoking has a significant impact on health plans.

8. High cholesterol – While high cholesterol still has a major impact on health costs – 11.6% say it’s a top cause of rising healthcare costs – that number is significantly lower from where it was in 2015 (19.3%).

7. Depression/mental illness – For 13.9% of employers, mental health has a big influence on healthcare costs. This is down from 22.8% in 2015.

6. Hypertension/high blood pressure – This is the first condition in IFEBP’s report to have dropped a ranking in the last two years. In 2015, hypertension/high blood pressure ranked 5th with 28.9% of employers reporting it is a high cost condition. In 2017, the condition dropped to 6th with 27.6% of employers noting high costs associated with the disease.

5. Heart Disease – This year’s study found that 28.4% of employers reported high costs associated with heart disease. In 2015, heart disease was the second highest cost driver with 37.1% of employers citing high costs from the disease.

4. Arthritis/back/musculoskeletal – Nearly three in 10 employers (28.9%) say these conditions are drivers of their health plan costs, compared to 34.5% in 2015.

3. Obesity – Obesity is still a top concern for employers, but slightly less so than it was two years ago. In 2017, 29% of employers found obesity to be a burden on health plans. In 2015, 32.4% cited obesity as a major cost driver.

2. Cancer (all kinds) – Cancer has become more expensive for employers. Now, 35.4% of employers report cancer increasing the costs of health plans, compared to 32% in 2015.

1. Diabetes – The king of rising health costs, diabetes has topped the list both in 2015 and 2017. In the most recent report, 44.3% of employers say diabetes is among the conditions impacting plan costs.

If you or your client is struggling with trying to manage the costs of expensive chronic conditions, our wellness consulting and services company, CF&H, has the guidance and support to help. With over 30 years of experience, Corporate Fitness & Health helps businesses and agencies identify the risks that drive healthcare costs and implement a wellness program that can improve employee health and productivity.

Healthcare costs continue to rise. Let Corporate Fitness & Health ensure you’re taking every cost control measure possible.

Corporate Fitness & Health