A focus on creating a healthy workplace and offering employees opportunities to participate in diverse wellness activities has paid off in the form of national recognition for The Resource Center.
TRC learned recently that it had been named the 77th healthiest workplace in the United States. The recognition was made by Healthiest Employers, an organization that collects and measures corporate health data.
Each year, Healthiest Employers conducts events in more than 40 regions to identify local businesses that have excelled in creating healthy workplaces for their employees. This past spring, The Resource Center was declared the healthiest employer in Western New York in the Large Business category, a designation that qualified TRC for consideration in the Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America program.
Donna Trusso, the Manager of The Resource Center’s wellness program, said that for the national competition, 50 percent of a company’s score was based on how the company fared in the regional competition. The other 50 percent was based on completing an additional assessment. For that additional assessment The Resource Center relied on its third-party administrator, Buffalo-based Premier Consulting Associates, to provide much of the data based on TRC’s employee health care claims activity.
Trusso said The Resource Center was notified in July that it had been named to the Healthiest 100 list. She did not learn that TRC had placed 77th until she attended the National Healthiest Employers Awards Ceremony, which took place at the eighth annual Employer Healthcare & Benefits Congress in Washington, D.C., in late September.
“It was quite thrilling to be part of this celebration,” Trusso said. “The conference reaffirmed that we are on the right track and are having a positive influence on employee wellness.” She said the editor of the Employer Healthcare & Benefits Congress magazine approached her about publishing an article featuring The Resource Center’s wellness program, which is known as STARS.
“Employers across the country are making remarkable strides in worksite health, and we’re excited to partner with the EHBC to highlight their successes at the Annual Employer Healthcare & Benefits Congress,” said Phil Daniels, co-founder of the Healthiest Employer Award Program.
“We are proud to host the H100 Healthiest Employer Awards Ceremony to honor employers who are true pioneers in the corporate wellness industry, and we are excited to have the opportunity to reward them for their dedication to employee wellness,” said Jonathan Edelheit, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Corporate Health & Wellness Association.
To be considered for inclusion on the Healthiest 100 list, companies were scored using a metric that examined six elements of workplace wellness: culture and leadership commitment; foundational components; annual planning; communications and marketing; programming and interventions; and reporting and analysis.
“One unique thing about our program that sets us apart is that we have an internal wellness program fully dedicated to wellness, rather than contracting services from external sources,” Trusso said.
She said benefits of The Resource Center’s STARS wellness program include lower health insurance premiums, the opportunity to meet with an internal health coach a minimum of three times per year to develop and monitor a personalized wellness plan, the opportunity to participate in wellness activities for free or at a discounted rate, and the ability to earn incentive points that can be redeemed for prizes.
“Based on biometric results and claims activity, our top areas of focus this year have been on smoking cessation, weight/exercise, and overall heart health,” Trusso said. “Through our collaborations within the community, we plan various topics that address the social determinants of health and are based on the expressed interests of STARS employees.”
While TRC’s STARS program has only been in existence for a few years, the agency and its employees already have realized positive results.
“The success of our wellness initiatives are evident by the growth of our program, level of participation in wellness activities for incentives, self-reported improvements in the social determinants of health, and satisfaction survey results,” Trusso said. “Two of our more successful programs have been in weight loss and exercise. TRC has also seen a decrease in our level of risk for coronary heart disease and diabetes, according to annual biometric screening results. Generally, in terms of claims data, medical costs for employees enrolled in our wellness plan run lower than for those who are not.”
Weight-loss initiatives at The Resource Center have seen 130 employees shed a combined 1,450 pounds, said Trusso. She added that another possible benefit of the STARS wellness program is that the number of unscheduled absences among employees decreased 13.6 percent in 2015.
TRC officials are pleased with what has been accomplished thus far in the effort to improve employee health, and they are thrilled that The Resource Center’s program has been recognized by experts in the field.
“It has been a journey over the last several years as we have developed and implemented our STARS employee wellness program. So many people have become engaged in the project and have realized amazing results. We have such wonderful success stories related to a variety of health and well-being factors,” said Heather C. Brown, Assistant Executive Director.
“Being recognized on a local and now a national level is certainly a great validation of all of the hard work the wellness team, working side by side with our employees, has achieved,” she added. “I am both proud of what has been accomplished to date and excited to work toward the future as we continue to grow this program.”
For more information about The Resource Center’s STARS wellness program, phone Trusso at 661-4795.