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
jgoulet@srfm.com

Jill Goulet

Employee Benefits: Benefits of a Healthy Workplace

employee-beenfits-Benefits-of-a-Healthy-WorkforceEmployee Benefits: Benefits of a Healthy Workplace

There is a flurry of activity regarding our health. Between the healthcare reforms, obesity crisis, fast food availability, there are thousands of articles, experts, and institutions all discussing healthcare, our health, and what can be done to improve it. But what exactly are the benefits of maintaining a healthy workplace?

The cost of employee health benefits has grown by double-digit percentages. As a workforce, we are expensive to hire, train, and retain. A healthy workforce holds huge benefits for employers and employees. Healthy employees reduce absenteeism, are more productive, and enjoy a better quality of life overall.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention almost 75% of our health-care spending is for control of chronic diseases. Of those chronic diseases, four health risks- tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, poor nutrition, and lack of physical activity- are responsible for much of that disease.

The heavy costs put pressure on both the public and private sector to rein in health costs and help keep a healthier workplace. For example, several states are implanting wellness incentive programs- in Rhode Island, 65% of employees chose to work to reduce their health insurance costs, according to Governing. They are costing the state less than half of what those who chose not to participate have.

The incentive program relies on employee participation to reduce their risk of chronic disease. It involves not only health treatments, but encourages overall lifestyle changes. Other approaches include offering fitness classes to workers, or nutritional education courses.

At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we can help provide you with a proprietary Wellness Program designed to promote health employee lifestyle choices along with a strategy to create and sustain these behaviors. Our program also augments consumer-directed health plans, such as HSAs, which reward participants for making more consumer-oriented health decisions. Contact us today for more information employee benefits & the benefits of a Healthy Workplace.

Source: MSN Money

Employee Wellness: A Prescription for Fruits and Veggies

Employee Wellness A Prescription for Fruits and Veggies 241x300 Employee Wellness: A Prescription for Fruits and VeggiesEmployee Wellness: A Prescription for Fruits and Veggies

With bad cholesterol, depression, high blood pressure, and obesity all steadily threatening America’s well-being, some healthcare professionals are trying a new, simpler prescription- eat your fruits and vegetables by starting Employee Wellness Programs.

In a partnership between health care providers and farmers market partners, the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx) provides daily $1 subsidies to buy produce at local farmers markets. Each family member gets the $1 prescription, so for example a family of five would get $35 per week to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables.

A primary care physician and nutritionist meet with each participant monthly to discuss and reinforce the importance of healthy eating. The patient’s progress is tracked over the period of the description, monitoring their weight, blood pressure, and Body Mass Index at each visit.

The program is designed specifically to assist overweight children and pregnant women who are at risk of developing preventable diseases. In the 2011 pilot program, FVRx participants reported a 38.1% decreased BMI over a four month intervention period. The program yielded economic benefits for local farmers as well- participating farmers markets saw an average increase in revenue of 8,129, as well as an influx of new and repeat customers.

The FVRx is one component of an increasing trend in health care that take a preventative approach to healthcare. The cost of medical care is rising, and preventable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity rates only place additional burdens on medical costs. Initiatives such as the FVRx, wellness programs and education target lifestyle changes, including improved diet and exercise, that improve an individual’s well-being and can stave off preventable diseases.

The growing importance of employee wellness programs in the workplace reflects this same dynamic. Employers are helping employees work harder at staying healthy and manage chronic diseases more effectively, so that they and the company benefit from lower health costs and reduced absences. Sinclair Risk & Financial Management is at the forefront of this approach, providing employers with a proprietary Wellness Program designed to promote healthy employee lifestyle choices along with a strategy to create and sustain these behaviors. Contact us today for more information about our employee wellness programs.