Since 1985, I have been working with employees, employers, occupational health providers, insurance brokers both P&C and A&H, ergonomists, safety professionals and health coaches to coordinate, implement and deliver safety, health and wellness initiatives to enhance safe work environments and healthier workplaces. For the past ten years, I have been fortunate to work as the Chief Commercial Officer for Sargent & Associates developing worksite wellness programs for an array of customers including private companies, non profit organizations, municipalities, and insurance companies ranging in size from 50 – 10,000+ employees.
Cynthia Causbie, Chief Commercial Officer, Sargent & Associates
My career has been focused on helping individuals maintain good health. In 1993, I became a Certified Case Manager (CCM) and worked with individuals to recover from workplace injuries. Since, entering the field of worksite wellness, I have continued with my professional development through obtaining the following certifications.
Certified WELCOA Faculty – 2011
Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) – 2012
WellCert Certified Wellness Program Coordinator (CWPC) – 2013
Certified Worksite Wellness Specialist (CWWS) – pending 2014
All certifications have enhanced my knowledge; however, the WELCOA’s 7 Benchmarks taught by WELCOA are the core in developing worksite wellness programs.
A major challenge in developing and implementing worksite wellness programs for Sargent & Associates’ clients is time, where to begin and cost. My overall philosophy on development, implementation and evaluation is to design a program to reduce the behavioral and lifestyle risk factors, that without prevention measures, may cause and increase in health insurance claims, workers’ compensation claims, absenteeism and loss of productivity. Therefore, based on that philosophy, I strive to develop customized worksite wellness program to fit each individual client’s vision and mission based on their culture, health and wellness interest and monetary needs. Wherever they are on the health and wellness spectrum and whatever their budget, Sargent & Associates has a program for them.
I begin with completing the WELCOA interest survey and cultural audit. The results, along with the review of health insurance utilization reports provide me with the build blocks in developing a program and assisting the company with a vision and mission statement. By working with our Wellness Coordinator, each program is branded with logo and tagline. CEO and management support is critical and they are required to launch the program with a personalized letter to their organization. The development of a wellness committee and an internal wellness ambassador is identified and operating plan complete with goals and measurable objectives are established. From here I may coordinate a biometric screening event and offer the Sargent & Associates’ online Health Assessment complete with aggregate reports and one on one result counseling sessions by a Certified Health Coach. Themes based ongoing monthly health coaching visit program, challenges and lunch and learn events are provided based on the needs of the client. I introduce and train employees on our comprehensive licensed computer software program – Choose Health – a personalized wellness program that the employee and the Certified Health Coach would utilize in tracking and analyzing to optimize a fitness, dietary and wellness plan. These programs have been successful in achieving cost savings, and demonstrating behavior and cultural change in many of our clients.
For example, a manufacturing company instituted a branded health and wellness program in 2010. Today, it includes an annual biometric screening event, annual completion of health assessment, monthly onsite health coaching visits, challenges and lunch and learn series. At our annual stewardship meeting we were able to compile testimonials which demonstrate the success of the program, show the increase of engagement to 85% and report a ROI of 3:1. The following testimonials from some of the participants speak for themselves:
“I am enjoying this challenge. I've been wanting to go out for a walk during my lunch break for some time now but never did it.”
“I love this challenge. And not only is it good for me physically, it makes me feel good too. It's a win - win situation.”
In 2011, I founded and continue to Chair the Greater Merrimack Valley Human Resource Association (a SHRM Chapter) Wellness Committee. The Committee is compiled of a team of human resource professionals, benefit brokers, a financial health manager, and an occupational health administrator to educate GMVHRA members of the benefits of a wellness program. We conduct an annual survey which allows understanding the needs of the members and most especially their role in their company’s wellness program. We host a monthly Wellness Tip Corner on the Association website and maintain an online health and wellness library. We organize an annual Wellness Forum Half Day to include biometric screenings; healthy food demonstrations; panel discussions of successful workplace wellness programs; legal issues on such topics as pending incentives available under HIPAA and PPACA and HIPAA privacy and implementing a compliant wellness program. In order to instill the “walk the talk” I have lead a pre-meeting walking program at the monthly GMVHRA meeting.
Sargent & Associates provides me innovation with each and every client. Since all programs are customized and geared to the interest and cultural needs of the organizations based on monetary needs each every one of them are original. We evaluate our programs by participation, engagement and cost savings. We constantly seek new initiatives, enhance our online health coaching tool and improve our health coaching program. I work closely with our Wellness Coordinator to develop communication campaigns to include “gimmicks” to keep programs fresh and new. Our best asset is our ability to listen to our clients, and be creative. One customer comments, “You all had some great ideas to enhance our program for next year. I look forward to implementing these ideas to keep our program improving all the time. Thank you for building this program and for our ongoing relationship as our health partner."
The Health Promotion industry will continue to grow for the next five years and beyond, which is good for customers. It offers competitive choices when developing worksite wellness programs ranging from compliance software programs to health coaching vendors. Customers will need to be savvy in understanding what they are seeking with a health promotion partner, and because of the many options, vendors will need to be knowledgeable and qualified to deliver the services. Customers and vendors will become more involved in national and local organizations i.e. WELCOA and Worksite Wellness Councils to share ideas, keep current on federal and state regulations and encourage best practices. As for myself, I will continue to be involved locally with the local SHRM Chapter Wellness Committee and the Worksite Wellness Council of MA, and continue to maintain and enhance my professional development through conferences, courses and continuing education.