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Ross & Yerger is a full-service insurance company, specializing in a broad range of business needs, including healthcare, energy, manufacturing, property management, business, personal insurance and several other areas of interest. With 85 employees, they are an underwritten group with benefits through Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. Ross & Yerger began their workplace wellness initiatives in 2008 and are building on the Healthy Workplace program with a committee of 12 dedicated employees. The committee works to keep peers motivated and interested in making healthy living a priority. Their company President has been on board with the wellness program from the beginning, actively promoting it to the employees. This group has been able to maintain year-round targeted programs supported by an excellent leadership team, on-site resources and sound incentives.
Ross & Yerger's goals include helping their clients develop the best solutions for their risk management needs. First, they needed to address this among their own employees. Through the partnership with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, the group developed a wellness committee with employees representing all areas of the company, including the Chief Executive Officer, Human Resources and Claims. This created a welcoming atmosphere to help all employees understand the importance of their health within the company, while providing support and opportunities for improvement.
Ross & Yerger began its wellness program by offering employees a Personal Wellness Profile and Health Screenings. Once employees began to understand their role in being healthy and managing the company's healthcare costs, they began taking an active role in wellness opportunities. In 2010, the program became more structured with communication from company leadership, participation guidelines and the introduction of employee incentives. In 2011, additional program elements were added including on-site flu shots and the tracking of physical activity. An on-site fitness area was developed to allow employees the opportunity to exercise during work hours twice a week for 30 minutes. Employees were asked to log their workouts in an online fitness journal. Now, employees are eager to participate in any wellness challenge offered and have a more clear understanding of the health habits necessary for a healthy life.The Results
In 2008, 66 percent of employees participated in the PWP and health screenings. The employees reflected feelings of hesitation to participate not knowing how the data would be used. Once employees began to understand the program goals and its significance, the company began seeing positive results. In 2012, participation results exceeded the expectations of the wellness committee with 84 percent participation in the PWP and Health Screenings. Over the course of four years, the group's overweight BMI dropped from 46 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2012. Lifestyle changes reflecting good nutrition habits improved from 19 percent in 2008 to 55 percent in 2012. There are still many opportunities to improve lifestyle habits and the overall health of Ross & Yerger employees. The wellness committee continues to work to develop even more creative opportunities for wellness challenges within the company.