How to Get Your Truck Drivers to Actually Use Your Wellness Program

wellnessTruck drivers have unique health concerns. An NIOSH survey found that 50% are smokers and 70% are obese. They’re prone to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney failure, back problems, and motor vehicle accidents related to fatigue and stress. These problems can lead to a loss of their Medical Examiner’s Certificate and their CDLs.

You want your staff to be healthy, comfortable, satisfied with their jobs, and working regularly, so you’ve implemented a company wellness program. The problem is… Your drivers aren’t using it.

That’s not unusual. 60% of employees don’t use wellness programs because they aren’t aware of it or the company culture doesn’t truly support the program. (Most drivers who use wellness programs are women.)

So how do you get your fleet of drivers to take advantage of your wellness program?

Step 1: Gather input from your drivers

Wellness programs with the best performance and highest adoption rates are ones that meet your employee’s needs. If none of your drivers smoke, a quit-smoking incentive won’t be very effective.

Talk to your drivers and ask what type of program would make their lives better. It could be challenging to query your entire crew if you don’t see them often, but it’s worth the effort.

Step 2: Reward drivers for healthy behavior

A proper wellness program addresses a few key areas of people’s health:

  • Diet – Your program should not only instruct your drivers how to choose healthy foods, but help them acquire those foods when they are on the road. It’s not easy to eat well when your options are limited.
  • Stress – Deadlines and traffic cause stress, which can affect the body. Educate your drivers on methods to relax, such as meditation and exercise.
  • Exercise – Build your drivers’ schedules so that they have time to get some simple exercise.
  • Avoiding bad behaviors – Risky behaviors like drug use and smoking have terrible effects on our health and ability to work. 54% of truckers are smokers, so this is an important area to address.
  • Hygiene – On the road, there aren’t many places to stop for proper body care. Coordinate your drivers’ routes so they have chances to stop at facilities with the right amenities.
  • Sleep – Chronic sleep deprivation affects your drivers’ ability to work, as well as their safety. Your wellness program should reward drivers for taking adequate sleep stops.

Many programs educate their staff about these health concerns, but they fail to go far enough. You need to actively incentive your employees to take part. Award bonuses for achieving health goals like losing weight or visiting the doctor.

If your drivers have any unique needs that learned from step one, make sure to include them in your program as well.

Step 3: Get executives and managers to participate in the program

Instead of paying lip-service to the program, managers and leaders within the organization should participate as well. If your wellness program encouraged weight loss, follow the plans advice to take off a few pounds yourself so your employees can see the benefits of the program and that you’ve implemented practical solutions.

Step 4: Create a communication strategy

Your drivers can’t make use of your program if they don’t know about it, but traditional methods of communication can be tough for on-the-road people you rarely see.

Make use of text messaging and radio messaging (via CB radios, not FM/AM channels). Create a company Facebook page or group. Stuff messaging into their check envelopes. If you have access to their vehicles, leave information on the seat so they can’t miss it.

Furthermore, enlist “cheerleaders” who actively encourages other employees to sign up for your wellness plan. Choose cheerleaders who work in various departments and levels in your company. They should approach other employees like them in terms of position and pay scale, so that everyone is recruited by a peer (people feel more comfortable with the program when they enroll with others like them). You might need to incentive these persons with commissions.

Finally, never give up

Don’t expect to achieve your program adoption number in the first week. Your employees need time to become aware of the program and commit to using it. Be positive, sell the benefits, and always be available for wellness counseling and enrollment.

Jill Goulet
Risk Management Consultant

Jill Goulet

Building Healthy Habits — Beat Holiday Indulgences and Feel Fantastic

healthy habitsEating and drinking is one of the great pleasures in life, and the holiday season is the perfect time to indulge. Celebrating with family and friends makes it easy to just have one more serving, an extra slice of cake, or another glass of wine. Of course, that can mean putting on a few more pounds than you’d like, so what’s the best way to shift that holiday weight?

Rather than starting up a new diet or exercise regime, it’s all about making small, positive lifestyle changes and building good habits — Here’s how to do exactly that.

Understand what you want to change most to get healthier

You can only change your lifestyle if you’ve got a good reason. Think about what your goals are when it comes to getting healthier — Is it losing weight, lifting a certain amount, walking up a steep hill without being out of breath, or something else?

Your goals should be short-term and easy to reach — If you want to lose weight it’s much better to aim at losing a couple of pounds a month than 25 pounds this year. So, choose one goal, write it down, and commit to it.

Focus on making one small change to your health at a time

If you try to do too much too soon, you’ll lose focus, get distracted, and it won’t last. That’s why getting healthier is all about making small, incremental changes that together add up to you feeling fantastic. Look at your goal and think about the one small thing you could do today to get towards it. For example:

  • Reduce your mid-afternoon snacks.
  • Drink one less beer during an evening out with friends.
  • Walk for 15 minutes each day.
  • Have one “meat free” day a week.

Then, make the change and stick to it.

Take pleasure in what you’re doing to create a healthier lifestyle

It’s important to feel positively about the changes you’re making, rather than seeing them as denying yourself. Be “in the moment” and conscious of how and why you’re making your choices. If you’re taking a walk each day, spend the time really enjoying and noticing your surroundings. If you’re reducing how much you drink, replace the beer or wine with a delicious fruit smoothie. Think about ways to positively reinforce what you’re doing.

When it comes to getting healthier, don’t do too much, too quickly

As you make changes, wait for them to become a habit and “stick” before you move onto something else. Ideally, you want your positive lifestyle changes to become effortless and part of who you are. That way, it will never feel like a chore.

Really feel the benefits of a healthier lifestyle

Positive reinforcement is vitally important. That’s why you want to notice the changes you’re making and the benefits they’re having. Appreciate the fact you don’t run out of breath when you’re hiking up a hill, or that you look great in the new clothes you’ve been able to buy. Reward yourself for creating healthy changes in your life.

It’s amazing how much you can do for your health if you set realistic goals, turn small changes into habits, feel the benefits, and take pleasure in what you’re doing. Of course, you can still have “cheat days” and overindulge from time to time. Now you’ll have the confidence you’re completely in charge of your lifestyle and the healthy choices you’ve made.

Heather Sinclair
Risk Management Consultant

Healthly Habits

Waterbury Food Manufacturers Need Product Recall Insurance

Waterbury Food Manufacturers Need Product Recall Insurance Waterbury Food Manufacturers Need Product Recall Insurance

The risk of a product recall has increased exponentially in recent years for Waterbury food manufacturers as a result of the implementation of new product safety rules and manufacturing statutes. While designed to help protect consumers from illness and health hazards related to food contamination, these policies often create hurdles for food manufacturing operations struggling to comply with ever changing policies and requirements.

Governmental oversight of the production and distribution of food goods is increasing in strength and scope. Rigorous product safety regulations such as The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 are reshaping the way consumable products of all types are crafted, shipped stored and packaged. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) instigates the recall of thousands of products a year, and thousands more self-issued product recalls are issued by companies who identify issues through their own internal quality investigations.

The fact is that no organization is immune to the hazards involved with a product recall, even those with the preventative practices and quality assurance standards. Food manufacturing is multi-step, collaborative process. As such, each step throughout the food-supply chain can expose consumer goods to contamination and health hazards. Everything from supply ingredients to food packaging materials and processes can significantly influence the safety of these goods.

Product recalls can be a huge financial strain on Waterbury food manufacturers, as the expenses quickly mount due to the cost of managing the recall event.  The physical clean-up can be costly. In many situations products must be removed from the consumer market, destroyed or disposed of properly, and then replaced with unaffected merchandise. Additional expenses typically include public relations and brand management efforts as well as legal aim and counsel.

Product recall insurance is a supplemental business insurance inclusion that can help reimburse Waterbury food manufacturers for financial losses caused by a product recall. At Sinclair Risk and Financial Management we proudly server Connecticut food manufacturers by providing comprehensive business risk management solutions. We can provide the support and financial security needed to weather a product recall.  Our Waterbury food contamination policies can also help food producers recover from the devastating aftermath of a product recall and other food contamination related exposures. To find out more about any of our Connecticut food industry solutions, call us today at (877) 602-2305. 

Yelp Marketing Tips for Restaurants

Yelp Marketing Tips for Restaurants

Yelp Marketing Tips for Restaurants.

What is Yelp?

Yelp is part of a crowdsourcing movement that relies on anonymous volunteers rather than paid participants. Customers can post reviews on thousands of businesses across a wide variety of industries, ranging from jewelry and auto repair shops to restaurants and nightlife.

Why does Yelp matter.

Yelp has emerged as a huge influence particularly in the restaurant industry. The site itself commands 71 million unique visitors per month. Restaurants command the largest portion of Yelp traffic, nearly a third of all reviews.

Why is Yelp important for the restaurant industry.

As a restaurant owner, it is essential to take a proactive marketing approach to Yelp. Reviews will be written with or without your involvement. If you have a business account with Yelp, it will give you an opportunity to control the content that is on your review site, and to interact with reviewers.

How do I use Yelp business account?

Think of it as an online integration of traditional customer service. If a customer’s response with a positive review, saying they had a great experience, you thank them for their feedback and invite them to come again. For negative views, tread slightly more carefully. Thank the customer for their feedback. Apologize for their experience if necessary. If you have rectified the issues, let them know it has been fixed, and invite them to come back again.

Above all, continue to engage and interact with your customer. Post photos on your site, set up deals and encourage customers to check-in to your establishment when they visit. The same basic principle of customer service applies to Yelp as in your restaurant.

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management has innovative restaurant insurance and risk management solutions for Restaurants, food and beverage manufacturers, processors, packers, and distributors. Contact us today for more information about our Restaurant Insurance Programs.

For Additional resources, see Restaurant Engine.

Restaurant Business: Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

Restaurant Business: Decorating Mistakes to AvoidAs a restaurant owner, you want to create a unique, optimal dining experience for your customer that extends from the food to the atmosphere. It is the first impression a customer gets when they arrive and it can make or break their first impression. Here are tips to create the exact ambiance you want in your restaurant, and avoid traditional pitfalls.

Bad lighting. How a room is lit can make or break a diner’s experience. There is a fine line to balance in lighting; you want to make sure it is bright enough to read the menu easily, but not so bright that the light becomes harsh and unflattering.

Seating section. Having a private room or at least an areas sectioned off for large parties is a draw for groups looking host anything from family reunions to business meetings- and it’s a great opportunity to boost your income.

Temperature. No one ever likes to keep their coat on for dinner- being cold can mar a customer’s experience. Keep the dining area set at room temperature for optimum comfort level.

Music. This of course varies on your establishment (if you own a bar it will be slightly different). But in most dining places, the music should be a complementary addition to the dining experience, not the main focus. It should barely be noticed, but fit the theme of the restaurant.

Mismatched Décor. Make your theme cohesive and unified. If the building has changed hands in the past, make sure to remove any signs that there was an establishment before you. It will provide a more unique, enjoyable eating experience for your guests.

Sinclair Risk and Financial Management has innovative insurance and risk management solutions for the restaurant business. Our staff is knowledgeable about the specific issues that affect your establishment. We will craft a comprehensive insurance program that fits your needs. Contact us today for more information.