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

Keeping Up With the Evolving Workplace

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????With the age of Millennials gaining a stronghold in the workforce comes the dawn of the modern workplace. Times are changing surrounding how we hire and train, what we do to retain employees, and the dynamics within the office environment itself. Employees are seeing companies through different lenses these days, and employers have to rethink their employee strategies in order to attract and retain the best new talent.

Change is good, and if you want to keep up it’s time to let go of the past, embrace the present, and see into the future. The business landscape is evolving, and we’re going to discuss some things you can do to make sure you’re positioned to grow with it.

The Office in 2016

Increased technology, a path for growth, and a fresh view from management of workplace dynamics are what employees are expecting in today’s modern office. Millennials are vetting employers more deeply than ever and making choices on where they want to work based on culture, values, perks, and growth opportunities. Millennials want more than just a paycheck, and to attract the best up and coming talent, employers have to offer more. Let’s talk about what that means.

Keeping Up With The Times

One of the top criteria that Millennials use for deciding whether or not to sign on with a company is the quality of the management. Quality of management comes in many forms and is relevant on multiple levels. Here’s what I mean:

Technology: Does it seem like technology developments are moving faster and faster with each passing year? It seems that way, because it is that way. A company that doesn’t embrace and leverage new technology sends a message to employees (and potential employees) that you’re ok remaining stagnant and not so interested in embracing growth and change. This is a red flag for discerning Millennials who are ever-so-searching for upward growth.

Flexibility: As the workplace changes, so do our workdays. The traditional 9 to 5 is a thing of the past in many business settings, and employers are embracing more unconventional methods like implementing 4 day work weeks and allowing more telecommuting. This tells prospective employees that management takes a smart approach to cutting costs and streamlining operations which also allows for a more balanced work-life dynamic for the employee. It’s a winner with Millennial for sure.

Wellness: Employees expect more from the workplace in terms of personal development. They ask the question: If I spend 8 to 10 to 12 hours a day at my job, what am I getting out of it besides a sense of achievement and a paycheck? Wellness programs are an essential part of any companies’ employee strategy. An investment in the health and wellbeing of employees not only improves the quality of life for workers, it’s proven to increase productivity and it lowers insurance rates for the business.

What can a company do to keep up with the times?

Don’t be Fred Flintstone: Nothing is more frustrating for employees than outdated technology that slows down their day. Provide the right tools for your people and it goes a long way in improving their happiness and increasing their productivity. Assess and upgrade equipment as needed like; Phones, Computers, and Printers and if they say “Made in Bedrock” on the bottom, get an upgrade.

Limber Up: Consider some alternatives to the 8 hour workday if they make sense for your business model. Will a four day week work fly? Can some of your people telecommute part of the time? If the answer is yes, test out some of these options, they could save you money and increase productivity.

Take Care of Your People: If you don’t have a dedicated Wellness Program, get one started. A comprehensive wellness program is an attractive benefit for prospective employees and it will pay you back in spades, by way of:

  • Lowered health care costs.
  • Reduced absenteeism.
  • Higher employee productivity.
  • Reduced workers’ compensation and disability-related costs.
  • Reduced occurrences of injuries.
  • Improved employee morale and loyalty.

Step up Your Game: If you have a wellness program in place, great, you’re on the right track. Consistent growth and improvement of your wellness offerings tells employees that they mean something to the company and are worth the investment. Think about expanding your program and even throwing in some lifestyle benefits in the office like; Yoga classes, fitness areas, and even allowing pets in the office.

Millennials love to see that a company is invested in their personal and professional growth; I think we all like to see that. So, especially in this age of the evolving workplace it’s important for employers to stay up with the times, embrace the changes, and provide a culture that’s attractive to up and coming talent.

At Sinclair we’re dedicated to Employee Wellness. We look at an organization from every angle and we will customize a wellness program focused on developing a healthier and happier workforce in your business. Get in touch with us today to see what we can do for you.

Matt Bauer

11 Smart Financial Moves You Have to Make

Millennials and Healthcare — What Are They Looking For?

MillenialsAs the fastest-growing generational group, millennials (people born between the mid-1980s and the turn of the century) are a vital part of a strong workforce. If you want to attract millennials to your business, it’s important to understand what they need and more importantly, what they want.

In addition to a good salary and a positive work environment, the benefit millennials are most interested in is healthcare. In fact, since the Affordable Care Act came into force, the number of uninsured millennials has fallen from 23% to just 11%. Insured millennials are better for your business too — Insured millennials are more likely to report being in good or excellent health (79%) than uninsured millennials (62%).

With health insurance being front and center, and increasing options for employment, how do you attract and retain the best young talent? An important part is providing the right health benefits. Let’s explore a few options.

The health services millennials are most interested in

It’s important to provide health insurance plans to cover the main concerns millennials have about their health, this includes:

  • Accident and emergency coverage — Catastrophe can strike at any time. Millennials are less concerned with insurance against long-term, chronic illnesses than they are against accidents and other critical emergencies. A health plan that has good coverage for emergency room visits and treating acute conditions fits in well with their needs.
  • Doctor visits — Reasonable copay amounts for doctor and specialist visits rank highly with millennials.
  • Immunizations and wellness — Staying healthy is near the top of the millennial’s agenda. This includes vaccination for flu and human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV). wellness programs also play a part in helping to keep people healthy and reduce stress.
  • Alcohol and depression screening and counselling — Depression, anxiety and other mental illness affects a disproportionate number of young people. Access to therapy, treatment, and counsellors is critically important.
  • Sexual and reproductive health — Contraception, birth control, and sexual health are vital to millennials. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding support, and infant care are also high on the agenda for millennials wanting to start families.

 Keeping health premium costs down for millennials

Another important consideration is the cost of premiums, and the trend here is clear — Millennials much prefer low-premium, high-deductible health plans. For many millennials, cost is the most important factor when it comes to health insurance. In fact, two thirds of them said a premium of more than $200 a month is unaffordable. Clearly, with a premium that low, high-deductible plans are really the only choice.

Another option is to give millennials various options in terms of their overall benefits package — Perhaps they can trade off some vacation days for a lower insurance premium?

Addressing other health concerns

It’s not just premiums and coverage that are important to millennials. Many are concerned that being ill or injured for an extended period of time would mean they would get fired. Make sure you have clear employment policies in place that address these concerns — What are implications for someone’s employment if they are unable to work for the medium or long-term?

Another benefit you can offer is making it easier for millennials to transfer off of their family health plan. Children can stay on their parent’s plan until they’re 26 years old, so providing a convenient and easy way to switch will definitely help.

Make it clear that the Affordable Care Act requires everyone to be insured by law. Being uninsured just isn’t an option unless they want to pay yearly fines when they report their taxes. Clearly explain the benefits of health insurance and make it easy for people to start paying their premiums and enjoying their coverage.

Jill Goulet
Risk Management Consultant

Sinclair 7-22-15-14

Wellness programs in the workplace: How to get started

Matthew-BauerI’m passionate about helping businesses keep their employees healthy, happy, and on the job, contributing to their organization’s success.

As I’ve written about previously, wellness programs provide measurable ROI that keeps business owners happy. Nearly all owners who started a wellness program in the workplace agree that these programs are effective in mitigating the risk of rising health care costs and worker’s compensation claims.

Wellness programs include a range of services that certainly help the individuals who participate. Examples include biometric screenings, tobacco cessation support, and education about healthy eating habits. The individual benefit is without question, but these programs also create a healthier, less illness- and injury-prone workforce. With a healthy team in place, healthy (read, low) rates of worker’s compensation claims are sure to follow.

Now that you’ve seen the wellness light, how do you get a wellness program started in your workplace?

Successful implementation requires buy-in through leadership and education. This is a top-down initiative. You and your senior management team must embrace the program and make it practical and rewarding for employees to participate. Consider these tools and best practices:

Kick it off with gusto — Once you’ve got your program plans in place, announce it with a big, in-person splash, not a carefully worded e-mailed memo. Call an all-hands meeting and show excitement and enthusiasm about the new initiative. Explain how participation will benefit each individual in the room. Point toward the fun and rewarding ideas you’ve cooked up as part of the program.  Managers should follow up with regular team meetings devoted to the wellness program.

Aim high — There’s a competitive streak in all of us…even if we’re just trying to beat our own record! Set overall organizational wellness goals and tiers of goals for individuals and teams. Keep it fun and lively. 

Make it count — When employees and teams reach their goals, it’s time to award and reward! Companywide recognition and tangible signs of achievement are huge motivators.

Make it fun — Sure, healthy habits are mostly individual pursuits, but organized team events with wellness themes let staff provide each other with support and encouragement. Remember the overall big picture and take time out of your workplace’s busy calendar for these events. Again, keep it fun and lively.

A wellness program requires a significant commitment of time and resources, but it’s oh so worth it.

Matt Bauer





How to Implement a Successful Connecticut Employee Wellness Program

How to Implement a Successful Employee Wellness Program Implementing a Successful Employee Wellness Program

Some businesses may eliminate their employee wellness program or avoid starting one all-together to control their finances, without realizing that poor health among employees causes work absence, which can cost two to three times greater than the direct medical expenses for companies. Integrating a wellness program into your employee benefits will be beneficial to both employee morale and your bottom line. So, how do you create an effective Connecticut wellness program?

Ensure That the Program is Comprehensive:  Cover all your bases. You should focus on healthy habits not only in the workplace itself, but also in the community. Consider creating a softball league or something similar for your office.

Encourage Employee Engagement: A recent Gallup study found that engaged employees are 21% more likely than disengaged employees to be involved in a wellness program offered by their company. Use social media tools such as Facebook to form teams, inspire each other to lose weight, challenge each other, and share healthy habits and recipes.

Market the Connecticut Wellness Program to Employees: Instead of just casually mentioning the program or putting a blurb in the company newsletter, make it a point to promote a culture of well-being around the office. Post flyers on bulletin boards, and consider sending weekly emails to share results and info.

Promote Healthy Eating: Encourage healthy snacking by bringing in fruit bowls or granola bars in place of the donuts and cookies you often see on the break-room table. If possible, consider organizing an after-work healthy cooking class for the office.

Promote Financial Health: You don’t have to stop at physical health. Teach your employees tactics and strategies to become knowledgeable savers, spenders, and investors.

Together with you, Sinclair can create a well-thought-out Connecticut Employee Benefits Plan that’s properly controlled, efficient, cost-effective, and individually tailored to the needs of your Connecticut business and your employees. Give us a call at 203.265.0996 to find out more about our successful approach.

Employee Wellness Plan: Americans Living, Working Longer

Employee Wellness Plan Americans Living, Working LongerEmployee Wellness Plan: Americans Living, Working Longer

Americans are working longer and living longer than ever before. According to Newsmax, last year 18.5 percent of Americans 65 and older were still punching time clocks.

Some simply like their jobs. Others are concerned with finances and the cost of retirement. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 13% of workers who delayed retirement in 2011 did so because of inadequate finances, they are unable to afford to retire, or making up for losses in the stock market.

But longer hours can also take a toll on health. And although many Americans are working and living longer, they aren’t necessarily healthier. In fact, studies have shown that Americans are actually less healthy than the previous generation.

One study in Medical News Today reported that the 78 million baby boomers who were born between 1946 and 1964 were less healthy than most of their parents. The newest generation to hit retirement age is found to have more elevated levels of certain chronic conditions than the previous generation, including higher rates of obesity, cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension.

As we work longer but struggle with chronic health problems, it could escalate health costs and lower the quality of life for older Americans. One option to counter that movement is promoting wellness in the workplace to develop healthy habits that can improve health and longevity. Employee benefits and wellness plans can help employees live happier, healthier lives. They can reduce health care costs, live a higher quality of life and preserve their health.

At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we offer a wide rand of Employee Benefits, including Group Benefits, Retirement Planning and Employee Wellness Plans. We’ve developed a comprehensive branded risk management platform that integrates approaches to property and casualty and employee benefits. We’ll help you strike the right balance in offering employees a benefit plan that is attractive, offers more choices, customization and flexibility with the organization. Contact us today for more information. (877) 602-2305

Employee Benefits: Health Perception Vs. Reality

Employee Benefits Health Perception Vs. RealityEmployee Benefits Health Perception Vs. Reality

A new survey indicates that many American workers and their families have inaccurate perceptions about their weight, health condition, and how much their healthcare actually costs, according to Employee Benefit News.

Over 2,800 employees and their dependents were asked question about their thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors regarding health and wellness. Eighty-seven percent of respondents reported being in good health. However, half of those who reported being in good health (53%) had a body mass index that would fall in the overweight or obese categories. Only 23 percent believed they were overweight, compared to an actual value of 34 percent.

This staggering gap between reality and perception can have a significant impact on a company’s healthcare costs. It has long been agreed that preventative methods, such as regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet, can lower an individual’s risk of disease and improve their overall well-being. They are less likely to miss work due to illness, and their overall health costs are likely to be lower.

In the survey’s analysis, the total healthcare costs per employee were $10,522 last year, according to the survey. Employers paid approximately $8,318 of that. However, when asked how much of the bill their employer assumed, employees guess about half the amount.

This is where employers come in. Part of the challenge in offering healthcare and wellness services is engaging employees to ensure they utilize the resources available. Offering tools and resources to employees to give them a realistic picture of their health has benefits both for themselves and the company.

At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we’ve developed a comprehensive risk management platform that integrates different approaches to property and casualty and employee benefits. We understand that an effective employee benefits plan is key to retention. We’ll help you find the right balance in offering an attractive plan with multiple choices, flexibility, and customization for your employees while still maintaining a price point that works for your budget. Contact us today for more information. (877) 602-2305

Tax Credit Incentive for Massachusetts Wellness Program

Tax Credit Incentive for Massachusetts Wellness Program

Tax Credit Incentive for Massachusetts Wellness Program

Tax Credit Incentive for Massachusetts Wellness Program

With all the healthcare reform changes beginning to roll out, individual’s health and well-being has been a hot topic lately. A Massachusetts Wellness Program is a great resource for companies to boost morale and keep their employees healthy, but they can be difficult and expensive to implement. Now, Massachusetts has passed legislation to help out small business owners establish a Massachusetts Wellness Program.

On January 1, 2013, new tax credits for Massachusetts Wellness Programs will become available to Massachusetts employers. The tax credits are part of healthcare reforms included in Senate Bill 2400, signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick earlier this year, according the Society for Human Resource Management.

The credit covers 25% of the costs to implement a Massachusetts wellness program, with a maximum credit of $10,000 per fiscal year. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has been charged with eligibility criteria and establishing guidelines for the wellness program. Criteria may include a required minimum participation rate to qualify for the reduction, healthy workplace programs, promotion of health prevention and screenings and health education requirements.

Massachusetts Wellness Program are a great way to confront chronic conditions and try and stave them off before they start. They help employees make lifestyle choices to lead healthier lives. But while most employers see the value in Massachusetts wellness plans, small businesses are lagging behind. 82% of small business owner supported the idea of wellness plans, but only 47% actually installed some sort of wellness program. In contrast, almost 90% of large employers saw the value in wellness plans, according to Benefits Pro.

Massachusetts wellness programs should ease this disparity. The credits are designed to aid smaller businesses in implementing wellness plans, and help them to take advantage of cost savings. At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we understand that human resource issues are an important component in your company. We can help you implement employee wellness plans, in addition to HR consulting services to help you streamline administrative services, training programs, and more. Contact us today to take part in this great tax credit for Massachusetts Wellness Program. (877) 602-2305

Employee Wellness Plans: Heart Attacks Costly on all Sides

Employee Wellness Plans Heart Attacks Costly on all SidesEmployee Wellness Plans: Heart Attacks Costly on all Sides

Heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases are tragic, costly, and painful. The goal of employee benefits and wellness plans is to reduce risk of chronic disease and improve employees’ health. But what exactly are the costs? Why are employee wellness plans so important?

According to Employee Benefit News, a study presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Los Angeles reported that every short-term disability claim cost employers about $7,943 on average in lost productivity. Long-term disability claims cost $52,473 on average. That’s approximately 60 days of work for short-term disability claims, and 379 days for long term claims.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Acute coronary syndrome costs Americans $150 billion on average. Of that group, 47% who have the condition are working adults under 65 years.  With its status as a top killer in the United States, heart disease is also one of the most preventable afflictions.

Wellness programs that help employees to reduce pressure, improve their diet, exercise more, and maintain their blood sugar levels can all help reduce the risk of heart disease. More than ever, employers are playing a crucial role in helping employees stay healthy and manage chronic diseases more effectively. Both the company and individual 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 health employee lifestyle choices along with a strategy to create and sustain these behaviors.

Wellness programs have significant benefits for employers and individuals, boosting retention and driving loyalty. Let Sinclair help enrich your benefits plan with a wellness program designed to promote your employees’ health. Contact us today for more information. (877) 602-2305

Recruitment & Retention: What Do Employees Want?

Recruitment & Retention: What Do Employees Want?Recruitment & Retention: What Do Employees Want?

When recruiting employees for your company, it is not enough to find and hire the best. In fact, it is after they sign on the dotted line that the real work begins- developing and retaining quality employees who can contribute to your company. This post is brought to you by Sinclair Recruitment Consulting Services

High turnover can rack up training costs and hurt business growth. Just as a candidate presents their best skills and qualifications in the job interview, it is the company’s responsibility to provide a job and work environment that will keep them there. Below is a summarized list of what employees want most from their job, according to Inc. magazine. Hint- it’s not only about the money.

Defining their role. Employees want a sense of purpose and distinct goals that they can pursue. It comes down to a basic psychological need- humans want to feel appreciated. If they clearly know their role in the company, feel like they are making a contribution and their ideas are being heard, they will be much more motivated. And that motivation will show in the quality of their work.

Autonomy & flexibility. Micro-managing indicates that an employee isn’t trusted, and that they need constant supervision. No one likes that feeling, and it puts unnecessary pressure on the employee. Giving your employees the freedom over how they work can make them more productive. They want to come in early on Wednesdays so they can make their kid’s soccer game? Let them. They will be happier employees overall. And, as a business owner, it will help you recruit and maintain top talent.

Compensation. Obviously, salary and bonuses are enticing for a company. But other factors can have huge pull. A comprehensive benefits package, wellness plan, or an extra week of PTO can be enticing factors for employees. Wellness programs can also be a draw.

Identifying and recruiting quality employees is no easy task. Retaining them is even tougher. Creating an environment they want to be in will boost loyalty and retention. Sinclair Risk & Financial Management provides companies with recruitment consulting services to effectively and economically identify, screen, and acquire executives and staff. We understand that an effective Employees Benefits program is key in hiring and keeping top talent- we’ll help you strike the right balance in offering an attractive plan that is flexible with your organization’s financial ability. Contact us today for more information about our recruitment consulting services.