Working Well – Healthy Workers Make for Healthy Business

June 9, 2014

At Cambia Health Solutions, we’ve long recognized the value of employer-based wellness programs.  What’s been less clear is why traditional wellness models were not working for many employees.  Despite significant investments of time and money on corporate health and wellness program, two-thirds of the U.S. population remains overweight or obese.  Employers foot the bill for decreased productivity and higher rates of absenteeism to the tune of $13,000 per hourly employee per year.

So Cambia decided to rethink the traditional approach to corporate wellness.  We started by asking workers what they did and didn’t want in a company wellness program.  We learned that many workers thought wellness programs were old school and not relevant to their daily lives.  Others had such busy jobs and lives, they didn’t have time to participate in traditional site-based wellness programs. 

So we thought: what if we offered wellness opportunities that engage employees to participate on their terms?  What if we take advantage of where employees spend time already - in online social networks, and playing online games?  What if we made employee wellness fun?

Our Direct Health Solutions group, led by a creative team which we now call hubbub, set out to develop a corporate wellness platform that motivates employees to adopt healthy behaviors through a combination of social networking and gaming. This online platform poses challenges that employees can join in on to improve well-being through fitness, healthy nutrition and overall life balance.  Employees can create their own challenge or participate in ones created by other members.  A hundred or more challenges are running at any given time and they run the gamut, from quitting smoking to doing squats and pushups, committing to more family meals or flossing daily.

For added social support, users can invite their friends and family to join for free.
hubbub enables interaction between co-workers, friends, family and other users.  It recognizes that members of communities motivate other members, and that people can turn new, small and easily implemented actions into long-term habits.

Case in point:  in September of 2012, Goldenwest Credit Union in Utah chose hubbub as its wellness solution. To date, 98 percent of the company’s employees have whole-heartedly embraced hubbub and use it regularly. Of their 400 employees, 393 have completed 13,500 wellness challenges, logging 519,000 minutes of exercise. Having the right tools to motivate and maintain the interests of Goldenwest Credit Union’s busy employees was crucial, and hubbub’s online gaming platform was the answer.

Cambia has also invested in Retrofit, an online program to help people with busy lives lose and maintain weight.  Retrofit uses data-driven programs, paired with wireless devices to track data.  With dedicated teams of experts providing support and advice, more than 90 percent of Retrofit clients lose weight.  Some employers even offer Retrofit at a discounted rate.

Cambia’s vision is to transform health care so that it is both economically sustainable and person-focused.  While there is much more to come on the wellness frontier, improving corporate wellness programs is one important way we can promote the health and well-being of our members, and increase consumers’ engagement in their health care decisions.

Topics :