Julie Mallory, communications manager, added that Nautilus continues to see a significant decrease in health-related claims, which resulted in medical premium renewals well below the national average for the second year in a row.
“We’re really honored,” said Cazenave. “It’s a real tribute to the things we’ve put in place for employees in the last few years. We have so many individual success stories in weight loss and fitness, and they are continuing to stay with it. It’s really a good feeling to see that.”
At Cadet Manufacturing, the electric heater company’s 105 local employees inspire each other to fitness, said President Hutch Johnson.
“For 57 years, Cadet has been a local, family business. Dick Anderson, the owner, is in his eighties. He exercises daily and eats well. He brought that into the culture of the company,” said Johnson. “The healthier your people are, the healthier the organization is.”
The company has a small community garden where employees participate in planting, maintaining and harvesting produce such as tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and herbs. Their employee wellness program offers monthly weight loss and “Move It” trophies, with current holders choosing the next winner.
This, Johnson said, encourages people to find out what others are doing, find out more about each other, and discover new ways of staying fit and active.
“Our people often share their before and after pictures, too,” he added. “It wasn’t that popular at first, but now, four years later, it seems like everyone is doing it. We even have a few people who have lost 100 lbs or more, and kept it off.”
“Our annual health fair is very popular,” added LeeAnn Reader, Cadet’s CFO and vice president of operations. “We paid for biometric measurement and uncovered some serious health issues for some of our employees, which they did not know they had. This may have really impacted their lives positively.”
Washington State University Vancouver’s latest big health initiative to declare an entirely smoke-free campus was actually student-led, though certainly effecting more than 500 employees at the sprawling Salmon Creek campus, said Chancellor Mel Netzhammer.
“The health of the employees is the health of university,” he said. “There is something special about the Pacific Northwest, where people are engaged in the outdoors, healthy habits and healthy food.”
Netzhammer noted the enthusiasm of both students and staff for the campus hiking trails, covering more than four miles through 350 acres.
“We want to send the message to our employees that we care – from healthy food options in the café, to promoting mental and financial health,” said Randy Boose, human resource director at WSU Vancouver.
The campus fitness center, open to all students, staff and faculty, has grown in recent years, with students voting to support it through fees. The on-site facility offers personal training, equipment and fitness classes in more than 2,300 square feet.
Fort Vancouver Regional Library District’s 260 employees have seen healthy lifestyle options became part of their daily work life. With support from their insurance partner Kaiser Permanente, library management makes sure employees know about self-care measures as well as support classes to help them take charge of their wellness.
“We switched vending machine options to healthier choices, and our on-site Weight Watchers group has collectively lost more than 300 pounds,” said Sue Vanlaanen, FVRLD communications director.
On a daily basis, these four organizations are proving that a comprehensive health and wellness program is beneficial to both employees and businesses.
“There’s less absenteeism, reduction in health care costs and happier employees,” commented Tricia Mortell, Clark County Public Health (CCPH) chief of operations. “In fact, workplace wellness programs can reduce sick leave, medical costs and worker compensation claims by as much as 25 percent.”
The bottom line, according to Don Strick, CCPH communications manager, is that ongoing, comprehensive worksite wellness efforts are good for business.
The Healthiest Companies of Southwest Washington are selected by an independent panel of industry experts, based on submissions to the Vancouver Business Journal.