Elements Financial: Maximizing Its Chamber Investment Through Wellness

Shickel_ToddWhen people want to be healthy, they usually consider a balanced diet and regular exercise. Too often, though, they do not think of how their personal finances are part of their health.

Todd Shickel, assistant vice president of business development at Elements Financial (a Chamber member since 1999 with 150 employees), believes companies should take a more holistic approach to wellness. Elements Financial’s partnership with the Wellness Council of Indiana (WCI) has allowed it to reach a new audience as an expert in the field of financial wellness.

“We found that sometimes employers have been hesitant in supporting their employees’ financial wellness,” Shickel explains. “We have been able to demonstrate to them the effect it has on their (employees’) performance at work. The stressors connected to that can impact physical health, which affects productivity and performance.”

Elements Financial is a credit union which works with businesses to help employees plan and manage their personal finances. The company is a premiere sponsor of the WCI and Shickel is a member of its board of advisors.

Shickel worked with Chuck Gillespie, executive director of the WCI, to learn about the five components of well-being: physical, financial, community, social and personal wellness. These components guided a company wellness program at Elements Financial that has improved the workplace. Elements Financial has been named as one of Indiana’s Best Places to Work for six years running.

“If you look at the five components of well-being, our company definitely has something in place for each of those and we can talk to other employers about it,” Shickel says. “We are practicing what we preach, and it gives us credibility.”

Shickel’s workplace also incentivizes wellness for its employees by giving “wellness points” that may add up to a gift or a reimbursement to employees’ health savings accounts. He says employees have really incorporated wellness into the office culture.

“Wellness doesn’t have to be this huge mountain that is impossible to climb,” Shickel assures. “If you reach out to the Wellness Council, you are going to find there are a lot of resources out there and ways to keep the costs down.”

Maple Leaf Farms: Maximizing Chamber Investment Through Wellness

Christy_BobWhen Maple Leaf Farms’ facility took over the space occupied by an old elementary school in the small town of Leesburg, the building was nearly entirely gutted and changed, but one room remained the same: the gymnasium.

With the on-site gym and fitness center already in place and remodeled, Bob Christy, benefits manager, began to set forth a competitive wellness plan with a little help from the Indiana Chamber.

Chuck Gillespie, executive director of the Wellness Council of Indiana, provided a wellness consultation to Maple Lead Farms to help the company determine how to move forward with its wellness program and answered questions from employees.

“I would highly recommend the consultation,” Christy asserts. “I think it should be a requirement. You need to do it once a year and have somebody (from the Council) talk to your whole group.”

For the past year and a half, Christy says Maple Leaf Farms has done “everything from poker walks to health challenges to biometric screenings.” The business’ efforts have earned it a Three-Star AchieveWELL certification from the Wellness Council of Indiana.

“When I started, (it took about the first year) to get most of the health programs set up,” Christy says. “Before that, the wellness program was kind of nonexistent. I spoke at the first annual meeting on portions … and that’s when I really got started.”

A wellness program that once was “nonexistent” now even has its own jackets – emblazoned with the words “Wellness Protection Program” and a picture of a duck, a very important symbol for the company.

Maple Leaf Farms is a family-owned business that raises and processes ducks; today it boasts 17 locations. The wellness plan now extends to all employees, regardless of their whereabouts, and each year, Christy spends two weeks on the road encouraging employees to complete biometric screenings and the Anthem health assessment.

Because Maple Leaf Farms leads the nation in the duck market, it often works with a lot of celebrity chefs and cooking initiatives. With its large kitchen and focus on healthy eating, Christy saw an opportunity to promote healthy eating through lunch-and-learns or quick dinners, meal prep demonstrations, vending machines with nutritious options and the upcoming fresh fruits on Fridays.

“We’re trying to do ‘Fruitful Friday,’” Christy explains. “We eat so much food here because there are always things going on in the kitchen.”

The wellness program continues to grow, with presentations from nutritionists and dieticians, new partnerships with the Warsaw YMCA and the potential of on-site chair massages. Maple Leaf Farm’s partnership with the Chamber and its attendance at Chamber conferences has improved its offerings for employees.

“The biggest thing with this (Chamber) membership is the resources that they have,” Christy says. “It’s some of the best you can get. It’s in Indiana, and it’s about Indiana. These people all work here just like us, and we deal with the same laws, the same tax codes, the same everything. It is about Indiana.

Wellness Council of Indiana Recognizes 35 AchieveWELL Companies

Wellness-Indiana-LogoThe Wellness Council of Indiana recently announced that 35 Hoosier organizations across the state have qualified for new AchieveWELL certification.

Groups working toward creating a corporate culture that encourages and supports employee health through worksite wellness programs are eligible for the designation. AchieveWELL provides an independent assessment of wellness processes and is divided into three levels: Three Star, Four Star and Five Star. The standards are progressive through the Five-Star Award.

New Three-Star recipients:
• Bona Vista Programs, Inc. – Kokomo
• CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions – Indianapolis
• Gregory & Appel Insurance – Indianapolis
• Hamilton County – Noblesville
• The Indiana Rail Road Company – Indianapolis
• Indiana University – Bloomington
• Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation
• Katz, Sapper & Miller CPAs – Indianapolis
• Lenex Steel Corporation – Indianapolis
• LHD Benefit Advisors – Indianapolis
• Monarch Beverage – Indianapolis
• Muncie Delaware Co. Chamber of Commerce and Horizon Convention Center
• Muncie Indiana Transit System
• MutualBank – Muncie
• Open Door Health Services – Muncie
• Riverview Health – Noblesville
• Shindigz – South Whitley
• Simon Property Group – Indianapolis
• State of Indiana – Indianapolis
• Taghleef Industries, Inc. – Terre Haute
• Walgreens Pharmacies – Carmel

New Four-Star recipients:
• Apex Benefits Group, Inc. – Indianapolis
• City of South Bend – South Bend
• Covance Central Laboratory Services, Inc. – Indianapolis
• Hancock Regional Hospital – Greenfield
• IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital – Muncie
• Margaret Mary Health – Batesville
• Mulzer Crushed Stone, Inc. – Tell City
• The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – Indianapolis
• Walker Information, Inc. – Indianapolis

New Five-Star recipients:
• Ball State University – Muncie
• Citizens Energy Group – Indianapolis
• Ontario Systems – Muncie
• Vectren Corporation – Evansville
• Youth Opportunity Center – Muncie

Without dictating how worksite wellness programs are conducted, the AchieveWELL process offers a clear understanding of the necessary components of successful worksite wellness and recognizes excellence in the field of health promotion. Helpful tools, templates and personal coaching are offered to those aspiring to become AchieveWELL organizations.

The AchieveWELL program is free to members of the Wellness Council of Indiana. For information on joining the Wellness Council, visit www.wellnessindiana.org or call (317) 264-2168.

The Wellness Council of Indiana is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

Stephanie Arne: A Global Perspective on Wellness

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Stephanie Arne is the first-ever female host of the iconic show “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” She will be the opening presenter at the 2015 Indiana Health and Wellness Summit (October 7-8) discussing the connection between human health and planetary health.

Indiana Chamber: The definition of “wellness” can be pretty broad. What is your fresh perspective on what wellness truly is, and what does that mean for the average person?

Stephanie Arne: “Wellness” means achieving “a state of healthy balance.” When you eat nourishing food, get appropriate levels of exercise, avoid stress triggers and take proper personal time for emotional well-being – each of these actions moves the body into greater states of balance.

The part I think has been missing from the “wellness” concept up to this point has been how much these things are truly connected to each other, and furthermore, how much these things are connected to that which is external to us – specifically, our environment.

We have, so far, missed the bigger picture – to see our global interconnectedness, and how this translates to personal health. For all of us, this means opening up to the tremendous opportunities afforded by taking a global perspective to ones’ health, which I look forward to discussing further at the Health and Wellness Summit in October.

IC: What do you hope attendees take away from your presentation specifically and the summit as a whole?

SA: I hope attendees will walk away feeling uplifted and empowered to effect change, whatever that may mean for them personally. One person may feel empowered to reduce the amount of processed foods they consume, which ultimately benefits their own health, but also has a global impact by reducing the demand for chemically-made, environmentally-polluting products. Another person may feel empowered to start a community garden where they can share fresh, organic produce with their neighbors, creating a space for simultaneous recreation and community connection, as well as a place to obtain healthy food. Either way, both people will be making immediate changes that will result in long-term benefits.

IC: Why should every company/organization take an active role in promoting healthy lifestyles and engaging employees in wellness strategies?

SA: Companies have a lot of power – both within AND outside of the corporation.

Within the corporation, they decide what the corporate culture will be. Outside, they decide what ideals to support through their channel partners and resource suppliers.

At this point, we have seen the statistics proving that a healthy employee is a happy employee, and that healthy/happy employees are more productive. Companies know unequivocally that to invest in the health of their employees by supporting corporate wellness initiatives is the surest way to guarantee the highest levels of productivity, and therefore profitability, of the employee investment.

In my opinion, the other major way to retain a competitive edge is by providing services in an increasingly sustainable manner. Consumers are still consuming, but they are looking for ever-increasing ways to do so with less waste and less pollution. If your company is operating from a perspective of total wellness and health, then it will be doing so with a global perspective. This is where the true change, inspiration, progress and reward come into play.

Get more information or register for the 2015 Indiana Health and Wellness Summit online.

WellCert Level 1: A Must for All Employee Wellness Professionals

Wellness-Indiana-LogoYour wellness career didn’t come with an instruction manual. Let’s face it, creating sustained behavior change is hard.

Professionals like you need specialized skills to create effective wellness programs for the organizations they serve. We are passionate about empowering wellness professionals with the tools they need to succeed. That’s why we’re bringing you WellCert.

WellCert Level 1, Certified Wellness Program Coordinator (CWPC) is a professional certification training course with a unique skill-focus that ensures graduates can immediately put their knowledge to work on the job. Designed by Chapman Institute founder Larry S. Chapman MPH, WellCert synthesizes 40+ years of experience with over 1,000 organizations.

WHAT: WellCert Level 1 Certified Wellness Program Coordinator (CWPC) training course
WHEN: October 29-30, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WHERE: Indiana Chamber Conference Center
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
– Worksite wellness professionals
– Presidents, CEOs, CFOs and COOs
– Brokers
– Benefit managers
– Wellness committee members
– Human resource staff
PRICE: $1,350, Wellness Council member price: $1,050 with code WI-Member-15

Drawing from best-practice solutions and proven industry research, WellCert provides the skills needed to plan, implement, manage and measure employee wellness programs that improve health and reduce employee costs. Register for the October course today to ensure you’re well-equipped with cutting-edge expertise to create programs that deliver results.

Pacers Bikeshare Partners with UST Global to Kick Off One Million Calories Campaign

Photo 2Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc. (ICT) announced a partnership this week between the Pacers Bikeshare program and UST Global, a leading provider of end-to-end digital solutions and IT services for Global 1000 companies. The One Million Calories Campaign challenges the Indianapolis community to burn one million calories using Pacers Bikeshare bikes during the month of August. To kick off the campaign, UST Global is providing free access to the bikeshare program this weekend. A release has more:

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard officially launched the campaign on July 29 outside of City Market, recognizing the critical role of technology in healthcare.

“I’m thrilled that UST Global has selected Indianapolis as the place to launch the One Million Calories Campaign,” says Mayor Ballard. “Our Pacers Bikeshare program is a healthy way to travel and experience downtown, and it will be exciting to see just how many calories our community can burn by using the bikeshare next month.”

Individuals wanting to take advantage of free access to Pacers Bikeshare, complements of UST Global on August 1-2, can do so by checking out a bike at any station kiosk. A credit card must still be used when checking out a bike and usage fees for trips over 30 minutes will still apply. More information about how to use Pacers Bikeshare is available at www.pacersbikeshare.org.

“The impact of technology on advancing breakthroughs in healthcare is undeniable, whether observed through mobile applications, medical devices, or online services. We’ve worked tirelessly to remain at the forefront of healthcare’s digitization movement, and the past few years have yielded tremendous success for UST Global’s healthcare practice.” explains Nikki Arora, Chief Marketing Officer at UST Global. “We are thrilled to invest in the Indianapolis community, and our partnership with Indianapolis Cultural Trail and its Pacers Bikeshare Program will help us more clearly understand the needs of customers and bring better innovation to market at a faster pace.”

The digital health sector is exploding, as 2014 saw $6.5 billion dollars invested in the industry – a 125% increase from 2013. From activity trackers to app-focused wellness portals, technology is redefining the way consumers take charge of their health and how healthcare companies meet patients’ needs. UST Global is committed to empowering healthcare communities around the country by helping providers improve accessibility to healthcare services and insurance. Cost-efficient, easy-to-use systems make it possible for everyone to monitor their health, stay active and maximize the use of their healthcare services.

“Our community burned over nine million calories riding Pacers Bikeshare bikes last year,” concludes ICT, Inc. Executive Director Karen Haley. “Our partnership with UST Global underscores that bikeshare plays a vital role in making Indy an active and healthy community.”


Pictured are (left to right) Eric Ellsworth, president and CEO, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis,  Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Kären Haley, executive director, Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc. and John Seitz, healthcare transformation strategist at UST Global.

Steinberger Construction: Maximing Chamber Investment Through Employee Wellness

Blayne-HammelSteinberger Construction began building a wellness program nearly a decade ago, but its partnership with the Wellness Council of Indiana (WCI) is adding to its success.

WCI members can take advantage of benefits such as coaching, discounts on educational training, networking opportunities and more.

In 2014, Logansport-based Steinberger Construction (which focuses mainly on steel and concrete work) earned Three-Star certification through the WCI’s AchieveWELL workplace analysis and recognition program. It has three levels: Three-Star, Four Star and Five Star.

“For us, that’s where we stepped up our wellness initiative and kind of refocused our goals,” explains safety and wellness director Blayne Hammel. “The main thing I feel they helped us do was utilize our data (related to health risk assessments and biometric screenings, for instance) more efficiently.”

He also values networking at Connect and Collaborate luncheons (the 2014 statewide tour, which stopped in eight cities, emphasized wellness), employee training and the opportunity to seek guidance from WCI executive director Chuck Gillespie.

“We started a monthly wellness newsletter, and he helped us develop our focus,” Hammel comments. “Typically, when people think about wellness, they think about nutrition and staying fit, but don’t really look at the financial wellness portion of it and stress management options. Utilizing that for some of our articles has been great.”

Q & A: A Healthier Vending Evolution

domination concepts with apples

John Whitlock is Project Analyst with Compass Group North America, though he is informally referred to as “Avenue C Champion.” Avenue C is a micro-market concept, where beverages, snacks and even meals are available in an open kiosk rather than a traditional vending machine. Whitlock operates out of Lafayette and covers mid-central Indiana. (Read the full story in BizVoice.)

Indiana Chamber: Has there been a recent evolution in the vending industry with more focus on the health-conscious consumer?

Whitlock: With the health regulations coming in for grade school children, when this generation grows up, they’re not going to be looking for the Mt. Dew and Snickers bar. The younger generation is already starting to snack healthier. We also handle university settings and without making any real effort, the healthier options sell much better on campuses.

One of the misconceptions is that the vending industry has been reluctant to go to the healthier options, and it’s really not the case. It’s market-driven. While the number of people who want baked Cheetos has increased significantly, that number still doesn’t compare to the demand for regular Cheetos.

IC: What are the hurdles for offering fresher, healthier options, like fruit and sandwiches?

JW: We’ve found that people tend to shy away from fresh food out of a vending machine. If you have a vending machine with an apple in it, people are reluctant to buy that apple because they can’t look at it and touch it. The Avenue C concept addresses that issue.

Avenue C is expanding very quickly. It is the most current thing in vending. In the past eight months, we have had just shy of 100% growth. The projection between now and the end of our fiscal year, which is October 1, we’ll be close to an additional 50% growth on top of what we already had.

IC: What vending innovations are on the horizon?

JW: Smartphone technology. We’re in the process of implementing it here in this area. We’ve had our pilot programs already start. We’re adding QR barcodes to the vending machines. With a smartphone you can scan the barcode and then gain nutritional information through an app on your phone.

Q & A: Cultivating a Wellness Culture Shift

domination concepts with apples

Linda LeCour is the health and wellness manager – North America at Taghleef Industries in Rosedale. I interviewed her about the company’s continued push to enhance the wellness of its staff. (Look for the full story about companies encouraging wellness in the July/August edition of BizVoice.)

Indiana Chamber: What prompted Taghleef Industries’ increased focus on wellness and healthy workplace snacking?

Linda LeCour: We analyzed our claims data to identify the biggest health issues that are contributing to our costs. Around 2010 we really started to pay attention to the numbers and seeing what we could do to move the needle. Our health care costs were going up, our renewal rates were high. Rather than shifting the cost to the employees, there was more and more interest in how an employee’s lifestyle impacts the costs that we incur at work.

IC: What was the process like for making the change to healthier snacking and food sales?

LC: We don’t have any cafeterias in our plants, and we’re a 24/7 operation, our employees work 12-hour shifts. We are 20 minutes away from any restaurants. Up until last summer, we had traditional vending machines. The employees would often refer to them as “Wheels of Death,” because they recognized that the foods in there were not the healthiest choices, but they’re kind of a captive audience when you’re out in the middle of nowhere.

Fox Canteen is our vendor, and I was talking to them about how we could provide healthier choices for our employees. They had implemented a new system at a couple other locations in the Wabash Valley and thought it would be profitable enough for us to do that at Taghleef. It’s called Avenue C. Basically it’s a vending service where everything is out in the open. It’s like going into a convenience store where you can actually open the door, take out the product, and look at the nutrition label, if you want and decide whether or not you want to eat that and put it back if you don’t like it.

IC: What is key to making a change like this work?

LC: Our goal is to treat people like adults and let them make decisions, not necessarily just wipe out any product that’s not within the healthy standard. We’re saying, ‘Here’s your healthier choices, here’s some that aren’t so healthy if you want to incorporate that into your overall food choices for the day.’

IC: Are you starting to see a culture shift?

LC: One day an employee came to me tongue-in-cheek, pointing a finger saying, ‘It’s all your fault. You need to come see what everyone is bringing in for our birthday parties now.’ I went over there and there were fruits and vegetables and healthy foods that people were starting to bring in as a result of education and awareness and realizing people need to have healthy choices.

Wellness Summit Preview: Your Employees’ Financial Stress is Your Financial Stress

19151085Hopefully you know by now that your employees’ financial problems are your financial problems. The financial stress that comes with financial ills can wreak havoc on productivity and worksite decision-making. As an employer, not only should you know this, but you should have a financial wellness plan in place to help your employees get back on their feet and get their head back in the game. But what if your corporate policies are the cause of financial stress?

Employers don’t realize that some seemingly benign corporate decisions can turn their employees’ financial lives upside down. At this year’s 2014 Indiana Health and Wellness Summit, I’m going to teach you exactly what corporate decisions to avoid and how to identify whether or not your current financial policies are a problem. Employees are fully responsible for their own financial success, but you can support them in their journey by having a great financial wellness strategy. Don’t miss my session on October 7 as we have a very frank and poignant conversation about your employees’ financial lives.

Peter Dunn, a.k.a. “Pete the Planner,” is an award-winning comedian and an award-winning financial mind. He released his first book, What Your Dad Never Taught You About Budgeting, in 2006 and is the host of the popular radio show “The Pete the Planner show” on 93 WIBC FM. Pete is also the resident Fox59 News personal finance expert and has appeared regularly on Fox News, Fox Business, CNN Headline News and numerous nationally syndicated radio programs.