As a Senior Client Service Consultant in Employee Benefits with Holmes Murphy & Associates, I have the privilege and opportunity to assist client employer groups with their wellness programs. I’ve spent 36 years in the insurance industry and 12 of those years have been in the wellness arena building wellness programs. The last 4 of those years have been with Holmes Murphy, based in Des Moines, but I am in the St. Louis, MO office.
I have a MBA and Bachelor of Science in Management/Marketing from Maryville University in St. Louis. I am a WELCOA Faculty member for the last few years and obtained a wellness certification with the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). Seeing employer claim experience for many years and the upward trajectory of health care expenses, employers need help to get their employees healthier – to get preventive screenings, reduce medications and be aware of the impact health has on their daily lives. WELCOA gives me the foundation with the 7 Benchmarks to help employers begin and continue their wellness journey.
As an employee benefits consultant, I’ve built and assisted in the building of employer wellness programs so below are a few examples of my accomplishments.
The WELCOA 7 Benchmarks have played a role with all of these employers with branding, establishing a wellness committee, having an operating plan offering initiatives/incentives based on survey results.
I believe in wellness. My co-workers in the St. Louis office consider me a wellness expert and ask me for information for their employer clients. I am a member of the Clinical Risk Management Team for Holmes Murphy and this allows me to work with other offices and find out about best practices to share with our office. With my goal everyday to “walk the talk” by eating right, moving, etc. (for example, I order healthy options at lunch meetings, have had a standing desk since January 2014, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get my annual preventive screenings) I show my co-workers and clients how important it is to have good health. My enthusiasm for wellness assists employers with building their foundation and program by making it a fun project. Gaining knowledge, talking to WELCOA members, taking courses/certifications and knowing what wellness area you want to pursue are good ways to gain leadership.
The two most important things for an employer’s wellness program is considering the data and making the program as customized for the employee as possible. Asking the employees what is important to them will greatly assist the employer with having a successful long-term wellness program. Many employers I start to work with have done a biometric screening and maybe had a health fair and then aren’t sure what to do next. They haven’t asked the employees for input and therefore have put in programs that are not well attended or have low participation. For example, an employer had no wellness initiatives and did an employee survey, receiving 74% response - employees were glad to be asked and are enthusiastic to participate. Reviewing data gives an overall picture of the group but a customized program brings better results. Following this strategy also shows the employees the employer wants to help them.
There are so many changes in the wellness arena that it is often difficult to keep up with the incoming information. A big opportunity will be in the area of wellness electronics – gadgets, portals, etc. In my daily role, I interview and work with a variety of wellness vendors to see how they can help our clients, not just for our office, but for all of Holmes Murphy. As a member of WELCOA Nation, I have support and resources to help me help my clients. It will continue to be important to help employers help their employees get healthier, not just from a cost savings perspective, but because it’s the right thing to do. My goal and hope is to continue to assist employers with their wellness initiatives – to have healthier and happier people.