Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In
Work Well Massachusetts
Blog Home All Blogs
This is a general blog that is available to everyone and available to any visitors to our site. However, to post comments or interact on the blog you must sign in as a member. We are always looking for guest writers, experts, and bloggers. Email us at communications at


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs  Workwell Massachusetts  wellness programs  workwell massachusetts awards  Employee Engagement  Human Resources  Q&A  WWCMA  AwardsMassachusetts  Wellness  wellness ambassadors  wellness champions  HR  Massachusetts  WWCMA Annual Conference  Annual Conference  Keynote Speakers  Working On Wellness  Alkermes  athenahealth  benchmarking survey  Borislow Insurance  Boston  Cambridge Health Alliance  CHA  Cities  Em?s  Employee Benefits  February 

Building A Career In Worksite Wellness: Panel Event Recap

Posted By Melissa Matheson, 5 hours ago


An evening full of insight and inspiration, the panel held by the Worksite Wellness Council of MA and the Massachusetts Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics had a clear theme: networking is everything.  Panelists included Valerie Machinist, MS, RD, LDN, Deborah (“Deb”) Gorhan, MS, MCHES, Philip Swayze, MS, CWPD, and Catherine (“Cathy”) Theodore, RN, BS, CWPC. Each panelist spent some time talking about what they do in their current role and the path they took to get there. Though the panelists all work in different areas of worksite wellness, they shared a similar message about persistence, passion, and getting involved.

“Follow your heart, follow your dreams.”  Catherine (“Cathy”) Theodore, Regional Director of Health Strategies for UnitedHealthcare of New England, shared these words of wisdom with the group. Cathy first entered the health and wellness field as an oncology nurse, knowing from a young age that she wanted to pursue a career helping others. She credits her success to have a passion for wellness, keeping an open mind, and never closing a door on any opportunity. Cathy also told the attendees to believe in themselves, encouraging them to apply for jobs even if they don’t feel they meet the qualifications. She emphasized making a connection with those in charge of hiring to separate yourself from other candidates.

Deb Gorhan, Wellness & Health Promotion Manager for Johnson & Johnson – Americas, says, “Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t do something.” When she first started at J&J, Deb had a vision for the job she ultimately wanted and took it upon herself to write out a description for the role.  Over two years, that exact role finally became her job. She feels that both culture and environment are key to building a successful worksite wellness program. Leaders should represent wellness, and the built environment should be constructed to encourage healthy habits such as walking and taking the stairs. Deb’s career advice is to, “go for it,” and to stay connected with people and groups in the industry to ensure success.  

As the sole Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) on the panel, Valerie Machinist spoke to the role of an RDN in worksite wellness and noted that opportunities for RDNs are growing in the field. Valerie is currently the Product Director for Optum’s On-Site RDN Services and the President of the Massachusetts Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, previously working as a health educator and a consultant. Her path to her role at Optum began with a realization that she did not want a career in clinical dietetics, but rather a career where she could help others make the changes to stay out of the hospital in the first place. Valerie said that the importance of volunteering and being connected cannot be understated, and to “never burn bridges.” She also encouraged attendees not to feel “boxed in” by job descriptions, referencing a previous experience in which she crafted a new program assessing environmental factors and breast cancer risk. Finally, Valerie urged current and hopeful wellness professionals to do everything possible to meet people and learn.

A “meandering path” is how Philip Swayze, Director of Health and Performance for HUB International New England, describes his eventual entry into the world of worksite wellness. He credits that path for making him a better consultant and encouraged attendees to parlay their skills and interests into jobs as he did. Like Deb Gorhan, Philip also once created a new role for himself based on both his strengths and the needs of the company. He says, “it’s about being open to suggesting ideas and solving problems,” and encouraged attendees to not be afraid to speak up and raise their hand. Another recommendation was to volunteer to get access to more opportunities. Philip credited his personal and professional connections as being directly responsible for helping him secure at least three jobs in his career.

The panel, though made up of professionals from varied backgrounds, clearly had a consistent theme of networking for success. Each participant credited networking and volunteering as being integral to their success and noted their continued involvement in volunteer roles. Success in the world of worksite wellness, it seems, is about having a passion for the subject, the persistence to pursue your goals, and the personal connections to foster opportunities.

Tags:  wellness  wellness careers  wellness consultant  wellness coordinator  wellness director  wellness program manager  wellness programs  Worksite Wellness  worksite wellness programs 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

WWCMA Strategic Planning Update 2017

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Tuesday, February 28, 2017

WWCMA completed our strategic planning process with the assistance of Health Resources in Action (HRiA), a public health nonprofit consulting firm in 2016. The goal was to develop a strategic plan to guide WWCMA work over the next three years and help guide organizational efforts to achieve the Council’s mission to provide high-quality effective and sustainable services for its members. HRiA helped us identify organizational strengths, areas of need, and build consensus and excitement around the Council’s goals and objectives. We were able to complete this important initiative with the input of our Board of Directors, WWCMA members, committee members, sponsors, and Council volunteers.

Participants provided input through one or more discovery mediums that included focus groups, online surveys, and interviews to explore perceptions of the internal strengths and weaknesses of the Council, as well as the external opportunities and threats in the environment in which the Council operates. The key findings from the data gathering were used to develop priorities and inform the goals, objectives and strategies for a day-long strategic planning session.

Through our strategic planning efforts, we have revised the WWCMA vision and mission statements and developed priority areas and action plans.The outcomes of our work are below.

WWCMA Vision Statement

The Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts (WWCMA) is the preeminent, independent and objective resource for health promotion in the workplace and champions wellness programs to help employers encourage healthy employees, healthy families, and healthy communities across the Commonwealth.

WWCMA Mission

WWCMA provides networking, education, tools, and other resources to help employers cultivate and sustain a culture of health and wellness for employees and their families. 

WWCMA Priority Areas for 2017 

We will be working to create and deliver innovative programs and resources that address the diverse needs of our audience to advance the best practices of worksite wellness. The marketing team will continue to position WWCMA as the industry leader to attract, engage and retain members, sponsors, and partners, and promote the advancement of worksite wellness throughout our state. We will work to strengthen and sustain a collaborative and diverse council governance structure and ensure financial sustainability and growth by delivering value to our community. 

The Council thanks, HRiA and our wide array of members, sponsors, and volunteers who provided their time and valuable insights and feedback to the Council to make our strategic planning process a success. The Council will keep our members, sponsors, and volunteers up-to-date on our progress in meeting our strategic goals and will communicate improvements and new initiatives in our four priority areas. We are looking forward to an exciting 2017!

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

A New Perspective on Managing and Measuring Your Wellness Program's Success

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Imagine two local entrepreneurs are both opening new restaurants in the same neighborhood. The first entrepreneur, Sue, has decided to hold a soft opening to meet the community and see how her dishes are received. The second entrepreneur, Bob, considered holding a soft opening but wasn’t sure it would be worth the cost. He has lived in the neighborhood for a few years and hopes to bring in new customers through word of mouth.

One month after opening their respective restaurants, Sue and Bob both decide to make a change in an attempt to increase revenue. Sue sits down and analyzes her sales for each menu item with the intent to eliminate unpopular items. Meanwhile, Bob decides to ramp up his marketing efforts by launching a promotional coupon. He feels that poor visibility may be the reason for sluggish sales. Which restaurant owner do you believe has the greater likelihood of success?

Though restaurant ownership and employee wellness programs may not seem to have much overlap, many of the same principles apply. Just as a savvy entrepreneur would not open a new restaurant without research and planning, an experienced wellness program manager or director would not roll out a new program without appropriate data to guide decisions. Sue chose to collect data by holding a soft opening and then analyzed additional metrics after the first month to help guide her decisions about the menu. Bob, on the other hand, did not use data to drive his decisions and instead used his personal opinions about the customers to guide his choices.

While both Sue and Bob may ultimately be successful, only Sue will have the data to understand how she got there. The same is true for employee wellness programs. Successful programs should be thoroughly planned prior to implementation. The needs, interests, and preferences of employees should be taken into consideration. Additionally, a clear goal should be established from the outset. What do you hope the program will accomplish? How will you know if your program is a success? The most successful wellness programs are those which were implemented strategically, are assessed regularly, and have buy-in from employees at all levels of the organization.

Join our educational program, Workplace Wellbeing: Measuring and Managing Your Program Investment on February 7th to learn more about data-driven employee wellbeing programs.



This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

2016 Partner Blog Posts You Won't Want To Miss

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Wednesday, December 28, 2016

In preparation for 2017, here are some great blog posts from this past year from our partners and other industry professionals that you won't want to miss!

Advancing Wellness
Three Ways You are Doing Worksite Wellness Wrong, and How to Get It Right

Most wellness programs are designed while looking through the lens of money. Who are the most expensive employees? What can we do to change those employees so they will cost less? These are the wellness programs where very little changes in overall employee health and the money you were hoping to save goes down the drain along with the additional cost of your failing wellness program.
Here are three common mistakes companies make in their wellness program design and solutions to turn them around.

Read the full blog post here:


Soft Benefits Growing In Importance

The article reviews six emerging benefits that are increasingly being implemented as ammunition in the talent wars, and it should come as no surprise that five of the six benefits are related to employee wellness.  The five wellness benefits that made the soft benefits list were: Subsidized gym memberships, Activity tracker competitions, Incentives for bicycle commuting, Healthier food and beverage choices, and Flexible work arrangements.

Read the full blog post here:


Virgin Pulse
How To Build A Network Of Employee Wellbeing Champions

One of the key elements of a successful employee wellbeing program is a robust network of Champions. More often than not, programs with defined Champions result in higher levels of enrollment, engagement and sustained participation thanks to the involvement of these vital contributors who promote their wellbeing programs and actively rally their peers.

Read the full blog post here:


The Value of Mindfulness & Meditation at Work

If you haven’t been seriously considering mindfulness and meditation as an initiative, it might be time to think about it. Here today to give us insight is Noel Coakley, an independently licensed mental health counselor, yoga instructor and trainer and consultant for mindfulness and meditation practice. Noel provides meditation training to a variety of companies across the Greater Boston area.

Read the full blog post here:


Wellness Workdays
3 Key Benefits of Worksite Wellness Programs

There may always be individuals who don’t believe worksite wellness programs provide a return on investment (ROI), but those individuals are missing out on major benefits for their employees. While ROI is important, and a well-designed program can deliver a solid return, keep in mind that worksite wellness programs are all about employees. These programs generate invaluable results and have a real impact on bringing teams together, fostering trust, and boosting morale and motivation.

Read the full blog post:

Tags:  mindfulness  wellness  worksite wellness 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Are Your Employees Sleep Deprived?

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Tuesday, December 20, 2016
The Top 3 Signs Your Employees Need More Sleep
It's no mystery that sleepy employees are often less productive than their well-rested counterparts. Make yourself familiar with these signs that your employees need more ZZZs:

1. They make more errors than usual. 
When a productive, reliable employee begins to make more frequent mistakes this may be a sign that they are not getting adequate sleep.  While no organization would knowingly welcome mistakes, the possibility of them should be especially concerning to the healthcare industry. The Joint Commission reported that medical residents working 24-hour shifts made "36% more serious medical errors" than those working 16 consecutive hours.

2. They are dependent on caffeine. Though caffeine in small doses (100-250 milligrams) has been shown to increase alertness, a dependency on caffeine may be a sign that an employee is fatigued.  Look for employees consuming energy drinks or multiple cups of coffee, especially in the afternoon. Once daily caffeine intake exceeds a certain level (usually 500-600 milligrams), adverse effects, including irritability and insomnia, can occur. This can lead to a worsening of the sleep/wake cycle and further dependency on caffeinated beverages.

3. They are late to work or calling in sick more frequently. Identifying patterns of behavior can help pinpoint employees suffering from sleep deprivation. A 2015 analysis of data from an employee wellness program found that higher levels of sleep disturbance were associated with a greater likelihood of absenteeism, and that over time this was directly correlated with a decline in performance and an increase in health care costs. 


Want to learn more about how to help your employees sleep?  Attend our webinar on January 12th: Maximize Your Employee Health and Performance - Help them Sleep!


Tags:  Lack of Sleep  Sleep Deprivation  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Q&A with 2016 Bronze Level WorkWell MA Award Winner, Flexon Industries

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Wednesday, December 14, 2016


2016 WorkWell MA Bronze Award Winner, Flexcon Industries
Interview with Kim Smith

Tell us about yourself and your organization. 
Flexcon Industries, a member of the Swan Group, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of pre-pressurized diaphragm tanks used in water storage applications. Focusing on quality, innovation, and customer service since 1989 they have positioned their products at the forefront of the industry. Flexcon is the first company to offer a stainless-steel water connection on a well tank, a union connection, the first flow thru tank for constant pressure systems, and the first diaphragm composite tank.

I am the Administrative Assistant/Wellness Coordinator and, along with Vicki Scopa, run the wellness program.  We organize seminars, challenges and bring in vendors from the health and wellness industry. We also handle all program communications including newsletters, postings and emails.

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for team you/your team?
We have worked hard to organize and maintain our wellness program so this means a lot to us and shows us that our efforts are worthwhile.  Vicki and I both do this in our spare time so winning an award is validation that our program is on track and working. 

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
Wellness programs are important because it reflects on the company. It shows that they care for their employees, not just for the work that they do for the organization, but also on a personal level.  The program is not enforced and it’s not a numbers thing, meaning it doesn’t tie back to our insurance. No one is punished or rewarded for participating or not in the program, rather it is done to engage employees and help them on all levels.

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
Our ongoing programs include the healthy snack of the month, we are involved in the Nourish to Flourish program, and we have a weight loss program called Weigh-to-Earn. 

We don’t currently have anything new planned but we are hoping that in conjunction with our new insurance broker we will be trying out some new programs.  We would like to bring in a vendor each month for a workshop or class for our employees to take advantage of such as a fitness classes, an ergonomics class, a nutrition workshop, etc.

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
We believe the program is good for morale. Giving people knowledge and ways to help them be healthier is the first component and then some of our wellness challenges bring everyone together so it’s great for employee morale and engagement.

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
The healthy snack of the month is unique because we provide our employees with different types of food that they might not normally eat. In the past, we have given out different kinds of fruits, veggie cups and we recently have teamed up with Snack Nation, who will be providing us monthly with unique options such as plantain chips, sweet potato chips and other healthy alternatives.  We have a diverse group of people so we try to find things that are beneficial for everyone.

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 
Just myself and Vicki, who is our Document Control/Wellness Coordinator.

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
Keep it simple to start. If you make it to elaborate to begin with it is hard to keep up.  But don’t give up – you might get a lot of resistance in the beginning but it will pay off!


Tags:  AwardsMassachusetts  Employee Engagement  Flexcon  HR  Human Resources  Q&A  Wellness  wellness ambassadors  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards  WWCMA 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Q&A with 2016 Silver WorkWell MA Award Winner, athenahealth

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Tuesday, December 13, 2016

2016 WorkWell MA Silver Award Winner, athenahealth
Interview with Kate Farren


athenahealth was featured on our blog on June 8, 2016 during a Q&A session about being a 2015 WorkWell MA Award Winner.  Much of the information remains the same about their wellness program which can be found here, however, there was one additional question that was answered this year. 


Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for you/your team?
Being recognized among so many top Massachusetts organizations is a true honor. Our fellow award winners are strong innovators who clearly have a passion for the health and wellbeing of their employees; a passion demonstrated in the programs these employers create and experiences they provide for their population. Partnering with the WWCMA and getting to engage with so many other likeminded individuals and organizations is such a benefit and provides a platform from which we can both teach and learn from one another.


This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Q&A with 2016 Silver WorkWell MA Award Winner, Pegasystems

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Monday, December 12, 2016


2016 WorkWell MA Silver Award Winner, Pegasystems
Interview with Crystal McDermott

Tell us about yourself and your organization. 
Pegasystems (Pega) develops strategic applications for sales, marketing, service and operations. Pega’s applications streamline critical business operations, connect enterprises to their customers seamlessly in real-time across channels, and adapt to meet rapidly changing requirements. 

Pega is a global company with offices in 19 countries, serving many of the world’s leading and most sophisticated Enterprises.  

Together with Eve Gao, Pega’s Benefits Specialist, I develop and support robust benefit offerings to our North American employees, including the wellness program.   Some of our wellness programs are offered to our employees worldwide.  

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for you/your team?
This recognition is yet another objective measure of the success of our program.  We hear regular feedback from our employees and their families about the positive effects that our wellness program has.  This honor demonstrates that our program measures up against all of the best and brightest.  We are thrilled to receive this honor and share this success with our employees who strive every day to improve their lives and make Pega an amazing place to work. 

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
While the tangible benefits such as an increase in preventive care and physical activity are clear, the team building and improvement to organizational health are less easily quantified, but equally beneficial.  These programs serve to both improve the overall health of our employees and their families while at the same time helping to create an atmosphere filled with comradery, healthy competition and a strong focus on positive outcomes.  

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
Currently our wellness program, PegaUP!, is constructed of three parts including physical health, financial health and mental and emotional health.  We regularly engage employees in various initiatives around physical health, encouraging increased activity and preventive care. An example of these include our global fitness challenges, an engaging Health Risk Assessment for employees and spouses, onsite yoga and HIIT classes.  Pega has also implemented a fun points-based system for earning a cash-incentive; “the more you do, the more you earn”.  

Supporting our employees financial health has included seminars on planning for Medicare, Retirement planning and Eldercare.  Programs to help with stress relief, time management and onsite massages help to manage our employee’s mental and emotional well-being.  In the coming year, we will continue to focus on all of the above as well as investigating expanded options in the area of mental and emotional health as well as planning for retirement. 

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
We have received direct feedback from employees that significant and sometimes serious issues have been caught early as a direct result of the employee engaging in preventive care. We’ve had numerous employees’ state that because of our wellness plan, this is the first time in years that they had an annual physical, dental or vision exam.  

These are the type of results that make us the most proud.  When an employee, inspired by the wellness program, makes the decision to take better care of themselves, the program is having a clear and measurable effect on the life of the employee and by extension, the Pega community.   

Additionally, many of the initiatives result in employees coming together to compete with or against each other in healthy challenges.  This creates opportunities for individuals to meet and build even stronger working relationships.  These benefits extend beyond wellness, creating a cohesive Pega team.  

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
We feel our PegaUP! wellness program is unique in that we focus on total well-being.  While we offer many wellness programs to encourage a focus on physical activities, we also offer other initiatives focused on financial well-being and emotional well-being.  We think this is important to help our employees feel “emotionally fit” which has had a positive impact on our company culture.  

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 
Our entire leadership team supports our wellness activities.  Our greatest wellness champion is our CEO and Founder, Alan Trefler.  Alan has always supported our wellness activities and continues to support us offering a new Fitbit to our new hires.  This gets employees engaged from Day One!   

There are wellness champions throughout the Pega community including many of our top leaders.  A Vice President regularly attends our on-site yoga classes, many take advantage of our on-site biometric screenings, and others encourage their teams to participate in the wellness challenges.  In each of the functional areas of the wellness program, there are many different members who help us to promote the initiatives and encourage other employees to engage to improve their own well-being.   

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
Start small.  Focus first on low hanging fruit. Deliver initiatives that your employees are immediately interested in.  As you earn credibility with your employees, you can then introduce more challenging and niche programs.  

Communicating to your employees is critical.  Be prepared to say your message numerous ways and times.  Most of all, remember that for many people, health can be a scary thing and something they can easily put off in place of work, family and other distractions/stresses in their life.  By making your program fun, and interesting, you have a great opportunity to engage your employees in initiatives that will improve their overall health and well-being while creating a positive company culture which can strengthen your company.


Tags:  AwardsMassachusetts  Employee Engagement  HR  Human Resources  Pegasystems  Q&A  wellness ambassadors  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Q&A with 2016 Silver WorkWell MA Award Winner, Kronos, Inc.

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Monday, December 5, 2016


2016 WorkWell MA Silver Award Winner, Kronos
Interview with Tori Kulungian


Tell us about your yourself and your organization. 
I am a Benefits Specialist working in HR and focusing on benefits administration in the U.S. as well as the creation of our national and global wellness programming.  I have been with Kronos for 1 ½ years, beginning as an intern, and then transitioning to working as a full time employee in 2016 upon graduation from college. 

Kronos is a global provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions based in Massachusetts. About 40 years ago we were the first to put a microprocessor in a timeclock, and today have grown into a $1.2 billion global software provider that helps organizations manage their most strategic asset: their workforces. We have tens of thousands of customers around the world in all different vertical markets, and more than 40 million people use a Kronos solution every day. We’re also proud to be consistently named a best place to work for our award-winning WorkInspired culture. We’ve been recognized by the likes of The Boston Globe, Forbes, The Globe and Mail, and the Great Place to Work® Institute in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and India. 

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for you/your team?
We are extremely excited and honored as a WWCMA WorkWell Award recipient. We have worked hard to grow and develop our wellness program and our efforts have been recognized by the WWCMA by raising our rank from a Bronze to Silver award recipient. We are thrilled to have our LiveInspired wellness program recognized as a one of the best in Massachusetts and we look forward to continuing its growth in the upcoming year. 

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
Wellness programming is a key component of our WorkInspired culture at Kronos. LiveInspired wellness encompasses a wide range of financial, physical, emotional, and mental wellness benefits and programs for Kronites and their families. Kronos understands that happy and healthy employees are more satisfied with their jobs and therefore more engaged in their work – which translates into better products, better services, and happier customers. This virtuous cycle belief is the foundation for LiveInspired benefits. Our robust wellness plan is designed to empower Kronites to take the steps necessary to improve their personal wellness through offerings such as informational webinars, group competitions, and personal wellness plans. 

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
We have implemented various programs in different areas. We have a full-time Wellness Specialist and Coach that sits on site, as well as a part-time trainer for our employees to meet their health and wellness goals. We have an onsite gym with extended weekend hours, as well as many group exercise classes. We host quarterly wellness challenges, and aim to engage our global population when possible. These challenges include our annual walking challenge, a stress reduction program around the holidays, and a 12-week weight loss challenge. Some of our new wellness offerings include a Wellness Ambassador program, nationally offered meditation classes onsite and through webinars, and an online fitness class pilot for our remote employees. The Ambassador program has taken off and will begin to expand to other locations.  It includes a network of employees throughout the United States who are passionate about wellness. These ambassadors spread our wellness programs and knowledge to other employees. 

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
We have seen various outcomes from our wellness programming throughout the years. The Wellness Ambassadors are able to push out wellness programs coming from the corporate office in Massachusetts out to our other U.S. offices and remote employees. The Ambassadors understand the wellness wants and needs of these populations better than corporate does and are able to effectively generate engagement and awareness. They also are encouraged to make wellness unique at their local offices. For instance, our Indianapolis innovation center, which has close to 200 employees, has been able to do this by generating participation in a local race, as well as implementing a water drinking challenge. 

Additionally, our meditation program was aimed to not only impact HQ-based employees, but to further engage our remote population. We have had positive feedback that the webinar sessions are extremely valuable and are alleviating stress in many of our employees. 

Overall, our Wellness Specialist and Coach has seen outcomes in the health of our population from individual and group coaching. Some recent coaching “wins” include employees lowering A1c levels, blood pressure, weight loss over 50 lbs., and navigating life transition without crisis.

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
Our wellness program is unique in the fact that we value work-life balance and focus not only on physical health, but also the mental and emotional health aspects that often are overlooked. We tackled the tough topic of the growing Opioid epidemic in our “Not In My Backyard” live webinar, which included resources for employees that may be facing this growing crisis at home with family members.  We coordinated with our EAP, local resources, and an employee that has lived through the experience supporting a loved one.  The session was a groundbreaking success and Kronos was invited by the Massachusetts Health Council to present on what we did.

Adding to our WorkInspired culture, we have a corporate giving initiative, GiveInspired.  which urges employees to give back to the communities in which Kronites live and work. They can do this by using their open myTime paid time off hours for volunteering, coordinate team-based volunteering initiatives, and take advantage of our charitable matching program for individual contributions. We view this as yet another part of our overall wellness. 

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 
Our executive team, led by CEO Aron Ain and Chief People Officer David Almeda, strongly believe in creating an inspired place to work where family and health come before the job. They set the tone for our WorkInspired culture, but our culture is fortified by Kronites each and every day. Specific to wellness, it’s our group of 15 wellness ambassadors throughout the various Kronos offices around the U.S. that share corporate wellness with their teams in the form of corporate wellness content as well as unique programs they are inspired by. 

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
Robust wellness programs are not built over night, and they are never finished – be patient and persistent in your efforts. We have been growing our wellness program for around 7 years now, and we continue to adapt our offerings to the needs of employees. Wellness programs are never one-size-fits-all, either. Take a look at the market and see what programs other companies are implementing, and the success they have seen. Then, when implementing your own programs, find a balance that will best support your company’s culture, strategy, and employee preferences.



Tags:  AwardsMassachusetts  Human Resources  Kronos  Massachusetts  Q&A  wellness ambassadors  wellness champions  Worksite Wellness  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards  WWCMA 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Q&A with 2016 Bronze Level WorkWell MA Award Winner, Tocci Building Companies

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Friday, December 2, 2016



2016 WorkWell MA Bronze Award Winner, Tocci Building Companies
Interview with Lila Tocci


Tell us about yourself and your organization.  
Tocci Building Companies is a family run construction company. For over 90 years, we have taken great pride in what we do, but we also like to have fun.  We combine our building experience with a unique collaborative process to optimize the cost, design, and assembly of buildings that perform efficiently and delight users.

Tocci has taken a holistic approach to wellness.  We wanted to make it simple and memorable with our three main goals being to educate employees to eat better, exercise more and stress less.  Our program began back in 2011 at the suggestion of three of our female employees.  We created a survey to determine what employees were looking for in a wellness program.  Exercising more was very popular and surprisingly employees also wanted to create an onsite garden.  

We then explored finding the right wellness company to help educate our employees.  Our first session included a cooking demo with a taste testing that featured grains and greens. The dishes were easy to prepare using reasonably priced ingredients bought at the local supermarket.  Everyone saw how quinoa and garbanzo beans could be used to make delicious yet simple meals. Employees were then given the recipe to try at home.  Everyone really enjoyed and appreciated the event!

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for your team/you?  
It is a great honor to be chosen as one of the healthiest companies and it means that all our hard work and effort to create a holistic approach to wellness has been validated.  We took on a wellness initiative because we felt it was the right thing to do but recognition from the wellness industry confirms our work.

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
We feel they are important for a few reasons.  Today, everyone is so busy both at work and in their personal lives.  Many have set personal goals for themselves and we, as an organization need to give them the opportunity to reach their goals not put up barriers.  For example, some employees set a goal to workout 3 or 4 days a week, but fitting that in can be a challenge.  We recognized this and built an onsite gym with showers.  Now they can come in early, workout at lunch or stay a little later and not feel stressed that they won’t have the time to exercise. 

Wellness takes on many forms and although we know exercise and nutrition are important so is our employees’ mental health. Finding fun ways to de-stress is also key.  In an effort to reduce stress we have offered the following:
Garden Activity- Join us in the garden to plant, harvest, or pull weeds to let off some steam!
Financial Wellness- In June we held a Lunch and Learn: Personal Financial Literacy 101 and that spawned interest in our 401(k)s, so we’re planning a workshop with Fidelity in January 
Rest & Relationships-  A facilitator led a workshop a couple years ago, on “Making time for what matters most”.
Last winter as a way to break from work midday we hosted a couple reading lunches where people read for pleasure and we served soup. 

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
We have offered cooking demos, created an onsite garden, and provide “Healthy Breakfast Fridays” each week.  Feeding people is a very personal experience and one we feel is important.  People feel cared for and we recognize that someone’s emotional state is as important as their physical state.  If we can take one task off our employees “To do” list each week, we know it has an impact.  Our kitchen also has a LeanBox stocked with healthy foods which our employees really appreciate.

Another initiative we began was a Fitbit Challenge.  Each week the person with the most steps received a balloon and trophy.  We couldn’t believe how competitive employees were (all in fun) to display that trophy at their desk for the week!
In the months leading up to the Rio Olympics, we initiated a company “Walk to Rio Challenge”. Everyone could participate and they saw that small changes add up to big changes.

We also provide information to employees through our Tocci News- a bi-monthly newsletter that includes recipes and tips on staying healthy.

We try to combine social activities with Wellness and Giving.  We’ve sponsored group activities outside of work including Paintball, Dodge Volleyball, Sporting Events, and a Mobile Blood Drive.  We’re planning an Escape the Room which is a team building exercise and a Souper Bowl Challenge to share soups and chili to celebrate the Super Bowl. 

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees?
When we were launching the “Walk to Rio Challenge” one employee said, “I can’t work out in the gym but I can walk!”  and promptly joined the YMCA and has lost 20 lbs.  To create a foundation for that kind of change is very rewarding.

The overall feedback to our program has been very positive.  We know it is working when we see employees using the onsite gym on a regular basis and attending onsite fitness classes with the personal trainer we bring in weekly.

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share?
We have taken a team approach to wellness.  We have made wellness part of our culture along with safety and communications.  We follow a “lean” philosophy which is creating more value for customers with fewer resources. A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to respect people and reduce waste.

We are always interested in feedback from our employees.  Our suggestion box is one way to determine what is important to our people.  One employee recently made the suggestion to listen to Podcasts as a way to reduce stress while in traffic or in the car for long periods of time.  We have a team curating podcasts.

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc.) 
We have a whole team and always invite visitors. Our champions include our Marketing Manager Vanessa Rhodes, a Marketing Associate Joanne Castner, Planning Coordinator Tammi-Jo Gott and I: together we lead a team of 12.  It’s important to have several people promoting the program on all levels, and we’re glad our CEO John Tocci is a strong supporter.

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
Don’t be discouraged if initially what you are trying to achieve is not working.  It takes time to facilitate change.  Listen to your people- they will guide you and also try different things.  If you put the effort in and are consistent you will see the fruits of your labor!


This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 1 of 5
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5

Corporate Sponsors