Illinois Businesses Recognized for Successful Workplace Wellness Programs

by: Nichole Gunn October 17, 2011

Due to the unending rise in healthcare costs, organizations worldwide are adopting employee incentive initiatives to support employee wellness and corporate health. On the U.S. front, recognition and award events are becoming more and more popular to acknowledge those organizations that are taking measures to implement effective wellness programs.

One such event is the Illinois State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, and it recently held its second yearly WOWIE Awards, which recognizes the effective implementation of incentives that encourage healthy lifestyles, along with establishing a workplace that supports physical activity.

The WOWIE Awards are divided into two categories: businesses with ‘more than 200 employees,’ and businesses with ‘fewer than 200 employees.’ Within those two categories, the awards are divided into: Platinum, Gold and Silver.

Six Illinois based businesses were honored at the 2011 event, one of which was Bloomington’s State Farm Insurance. The insurance firm received the ‘more than 200 employees platinum award’ for its “Live Well, Be Well” program.

In a press release, State Farm’s wellness coordinator Sheri Gatto said, “Our Live Well, Be Well initiative encourages employees to make informed lifestyle decisions in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation and preventive screenings. We made a business case for our wellness initiative and sought buy-in from our executive team in 2007.”

One of the ‘gold award’ recipients, also in the ‘businesses with more than 200 employees’ category, was Vernon’s Hills CDW, Inc. Receiving the ‘silver award’ in this category was  Mokena’s Provena Health Systems.

For those businesses with ‘fewer than 200 employees,’ the ‘platinum award’ went to South Holland’s Robinson Engineering. The company has been in the Chicago area for close to 75 years and is in the professional civil engineering industry. It is the only business to receive that award two years in a row.

Robinson’s director of organizational development Denise St. Pierre noted in the press release, “We most recently participated in the 100-day challenge through a 12-month grant that focuses on wellness in the workplace, awarded by the Chicago Chamber of Commerce.” The company had a 67 percent employee participation rate in the ‘Live Healthy America – Chicago 100 Day Challenge, and “employees reduced their BMI 4% per person and body fat decreased by 11 percent on average per person."

In addition to this, Robinson was cited as one of the 100 healthiest companies in America by Interactive Health Solutions and received a Worksite Innovation Award in 2011 by the American Heart Association.