Diversity Journal - Jul/Aug 2012

Page 89

Wellness Integrate with D&I

Metlife: Helping those with Chronic Conditions, Offering Incentives for Checkups

By Robert Polk, Director, Environmental, Health and Safety, Northrop Grumman Information Systems Sector DL


HEN OUR COMPANY embarked on an

By Thomas Ferraro, Vice President, Health & Welfare Benefits, MetLife


employee engagement initiative, our business sector sought to develop a broader, more holistic approach to the engagement model. We recently implemented a new strategic approach to our Wellness programs that held the premise that an emphasis on employee health boosts morale and enhances performance, decision making, creativity and innovation. As an information systems and technology company, this was critical for us. At the same time, reducing health care costs would allow us to reinvest in both our business and our people, strengthening our performance culture. With over 20,000 employees to engage, we saw the opportunity to create a strong synergy with Wellness and our D&I initiatives to leverage the great talent of that team. We ensured our Wellness programs were designed to promote inclusiveness across gender and cultural issues. Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) actively helped our wellness team identify topics and activities of broad interest and often helped provide planning support and logistics. Our activities evolved to be as broadly inclusive as possible, culturally appropriate, and integrated with the diverse comprehensiveness of our employees. These activities met many unique needs. Successful Wellness programs integrate with D&I by forming collaborations between our leadership and employees, lowering the barriers to participation, and significantly increasing engagement. A large employee base is efficiently included by leveraging the support and enthusiasm of ERGs, since they are a key component of our D&I framework. As we move forward this year with a long range Wellness plan, our activities will begin to reflect more green and sustainable concepts associated with health and fitness which our employees, across our diverse representation, have expressed enthusiasm about. We are also exploring aspects of wellness that support the company’s philanthropic goals, such as walks to raise donations for health issues. PDJ

t MetLife we believe that good health enables associates to be their best personally and professionally. We’ve made wellness a priority, helping associates modify risk factors and minimize complications of chronic conditions, improving their health while helping us avoid costly medical claims and boost productivity. Here are two recent examples of actions we’ve taken to support a healthier workforce: We designed our benefits to offer additional support for associates with chronic conditions, and we removed barriers and provided incentives to encourage primary prevention and risk reduction. Supporting Associates with Chronic Conditions In 2010, we integrated our disease management programs with the clinical case management services already offered by our national health plan providers, with a goal of engaging more associates and their family members who could benefit from these programs. As a result, more associates and family members with chronic conditions are receiving education and support to aid in reducing risks and managing their conditions more effectively. These positive changes are helping participants better manage their conditions and this is reflected in their claims. In fact, we’ve seen costs drop substantially for individuals with cancer and circulatory conditions. Removing Cost Barriers, Enhancing Rewards In advance of health care reform, MetLife moved to first-dollar coverage for eligible medical preventive care services. Simultaneously, we redesigned our wellness incentives to reward associates for seeking these services. We also added incentives for participating in disease management and clinical care programs. We are pleased that our approach is working. We have seen higher usage of preventive services, such as annual physicals, screenings and immunizations. Equally important, our engagement surveys tell us associates strongly agree that MetLife provides benefits that they value. PDJ

“Biggest Winners” Lose lbs. at Irell & Manella


HE LAW FIRM of Irell & Manella re-

cently implemented “Be Well@ IRELL,” a firm-sponsored wellness program. The goal was to inspire employees to do something that would translate into tangible results and in

turn spark enthusiasm for living a healthy lifestyle through exercise and eating right. They offered two competitions, “I&M’s Biggest Winner” (to encourage weight loss) and “Step It Up” (to encourage walking). July/August 2012

I&M’s Biggest Winner, Season 1, was a 16-week weight loss program with teams of two. The program started with a Biggest Winner-themed kickoff, followed by weekly weigh-ins and motivational diet tips. There were 26 teams WWW.DIVERSITYJOURNAL.COM


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