Best and Brightest In Wellness Set Healthy Pace

In a world where technology has made the pace of life -“ at home and work -“ increasingly hectic, there’s something to be said about the importance of taking care when it comes to personal wellness.

Thankfully, for employees and the companies they join, more and more have discovered just how profitable the initiatives to help with wellness can be, planned strategically and implemented with enthusiasm.

It may be a long-term investment, but as this year’s “Best and Brightest In Wellness” will attest, it doesn’t take long for even the most modest initiatives to begin to show up, if not on the accountant’s bottom line, then in the productivity quotient (smiles included) that may be hard to measure but not difficult to perceive.

Even organizations where the bottom line is more about looking up find an emphasis on wellness is paying off. One example is the Aijalon Baptist Church, where “mission” includes reaching out to their members and community with tools to live longer and better on this earth.

Perhaps no one knows better the effect of wellness than Altarum Institute, a leader in the research of healthy lifestyles, even as it “walks the talk” with its own employees.

As we see with Carson Health, a provider of rural health care from its home in Carson City, Mich., taking an integrated approach to improving the wellness of its team makes as much good sense as it does for Compuware, the software services giant where encouraging staff to make small lifestyle changes was key to its strategy.

Or at Cooperative Elevator, where prevention is seen as the preferred alternative to treatment. As its CEO points out, “We’re not striving for skinny employees. We’re striving for healthy conscious employees.”

Winners of the Best and Brightest in Wellness awards also competed for overall winners of the event categories. The winners, picked at the Wellness awards event and conference Oct. 3 at VisTaTech in Livonia, Mich., were the following:

  • Philanthropic: Peckham Inc.
  • Faith Based: Fellowship Chapel
  • School: New Haven High School
  • Small Business: Danboise Mechanical
  • Medium Business: Experi-Metal Inc.
  • Large Business: Walbridge Aldinger Co.

The strategies may be different, but the spirit of this year’s winners remains consistent.

Wellness is the right thing to do. A desire to keep employees as healthy as possible is simply good people business, with the bottom line benefits that accrue simply underscoring that first point.

Large or small, established or relatively new in the marketplace, more and more are discovering the age-old truths about healthy living.

Be encouraged as you read how these standouts are living the journey.

Aijalon Baptist Church

Clearly, there’s a distinct spiritual component to the work done by those who call Aijalon Baptist Church home. But one shouldn’t confuse “Mission” for something less than taking an interest in the health and wellness of those who seek out the church and what it has to offer. Indeed, as Sister Kim Lee explains, the Mission Ministry is the backbone of Aijalon. “Combined with the Outreach Ministry, these ministries devote endless hours to providing health and wellness opportunities to those in need. These include annual Back to School Fairs that provide the youth with necessities needed for the upcoming school year and we offer free nutritious meals during the fair.” The church opens its doors to various health care, wellness, and other community resource vendors during those events. The Mission Ministry has also hosted a wellness screening with free health care prevention tests (for glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure). “One of our very own members had diabetes and wasn’t even aware,” notes Lee. “Her blood sugar was so high they immediately transported her to the hospital were she was stabilized and released.” The Mission Ministry also holds a monthly feeding program, with meals always made from scratch using nutritional food groups. A cooking class is also held through the Youth Ministry to show children early on the importance of eating healthy well-balanced meals. The children learn to cook from simple recipes so they’re ready to replicate the lessons when they leave. Physical fitness goes hand in hand with eating healthy. “Promoting physical fitness is something that the Aijalon Baptist Church actively engages in,” adds Lee. “We think it’s important to find new and creative ways to stay active and stay fit and there are plans to add a fitness ministry to attract our older crowd while showing them very versatile exercises for any age.”

Altair Engineering

Troy, Mich.-¨
For Altair Engineering, the idea of wellness is all encompassing, not only reflected in the establishment of an in-house health clinic but also through initiatives like a yearly health fair that includes a no-cost mobile mammogram. But it gets better. The firm has integrated its wellness philosophy even beyond its doors by embracing technology that makes it easier to work remotely. And those who are working in the office can schedule a visit with an on-site massage therapist, as well as take advantage of fresh-food vending options or in-house exercise facilities. “We openly communicate this during our company day events at local universities as well as on our website,” notes CEO James Scappa. “By being flexible, open-minded, and adaptable, we help reduce stress, fear and uncertainty.” Altair also encourages employees to express their own customs in a casual, relaxed environment. Employees respond by sharing dishes at the occasional potluck or even taking time out to pray in one of the company’s vacant conference rooms. There’s also a series of monthly wellness presentations on a variety of subjects, among them stress management and dealing with lower back pain.

Altarum Institute-¨

Ann Arbor, Mich.
The first page of the organization’s website says it as succinctly as you could imagine: “Systems Research for Better Health.” But that isn’t the entire Altarum Institute’s involvement with wellness. The commitment to “walking the talk” runs deep, from its generous, comprehensive array of health and wellness benefits, including insurance for medical, dental and vision coverage. Yet Altarum’s Research Centers are at the heart of its contribution to wellness for all Americans. From the “Consumer Choice in Health Care” initiative that promotes an active involvement in the process of choosing health care options, to “Elder Care and Advanced Illness” or “Healthy Child and Youth Development,” this is work that matters and Altarum’s researchers are taking their commitment to wellness for all Americans very seriously indeed. Linc Smith, who joined Altarum in 2001 (becoming CEO in 2007) has accelerated Altarum’s growth in its health-focused mission. With organic growth that has seen its budget expand from $17 million in 2006 to today’s annual revenue of $87 million, Altarum continues to diversify while focusing on clearly-defined critical systems issues involving health care.


Allendale Twp., Mich.
At Bizstream, engagement is a big part of what drives its priorities when it comes to wellness. From informal surveys of employee goals, challenges, and interests to quarterly wellness “challenges” that may include weight maintenance, weight loss, exercise, and healthy eating, the idea is that everyone is encouraged to participate. Even as the company grapples with how to effectively measure its success in the wellness arena, a key point is how integrated the approach is to its day-to-day existence. As CEO Mark Schmidt explains: “We’re too busy working on being healthy and doing our jobs to document and formalize a lot of what we do.” Still, Bizstream has built a lot into its wellness culture, specifically talking about wellness and ways team members can benefit. Being a software development firm, it’s no surprise that BizStream has a technological component to its drive for wellness. He’s called “Wally”-”a program whose primary job is to manage the flow of customer requests and “announce” what’s going on. But Wally also helps keep team members healthy, becoming something of a virtual wellness coach. Periodic announcements such as “BizStream are you ready for a workout?” are often followed by requests for pushups, squats, lunges or similar exercises. And while it can lead to odd looks from visitors when employees get out of their chairs and drop to the floor, the important thing is that it works. Add to that the four or five times a day that someone calls out for a walk-”followed by a 5-minute break for a stroll around the building and you begin to see this could be a very catchy part of a wellness culture. BizStream has also installed height adjustable work surfaces and even “walking desks” combining treadmill technology. There’s also a room dedicated to fitness. BizStream is also incorporating group events such as golf outings and bike rides (some overnight). It’s also paying for genetic testing through, a service that helps identify inherited conditions and traits that may help an employee’s health team focus on preventive steps that could help along the way. “We want our employees to use all means reasonable to be as healthy, happy and as productive as possible,” notes Schmidt.


Adrian, Mich.-¨
When Brazeway talks about being the best, there’s an implicit understanding that this includes individual performance, including upgrading skills and talents to meet the demands of the job. That also means giving employees the tools and knowledge they need in order to live a healthy lifestyle, helping employees understand the advantages of living a healthier lifestyle, coaching to help employees to talk one on one about improving their health and finding creative ways to engage employees in different wellness activities. From the display of monthly health posters that give fun and easy tips on different health topics or the annual free flu shots and health screenings, these wellness initiatives are a regular part of a Brazeway culture that includes reimbursements for gym memberships, onsite fitness classes, and different challenges and activities. Brazeway also continuously looks for ways to make sure the current offerings stay relevant through twice-annual surveys that take the pulse of what’s working and what needs to change.

Calvin College-¨

Grand Rapids, Mich.
For the people responsible for making Calvin College a place where staff can take advantage of the school’s comprehensive, holistic wellness programming, the idea of setting up the facilities isn’t enough. It’s getting them to actually participate that’s key. And where Calvin shines: a six-year record of achieving overall participation of at least 60 percent, measured by the completion of at least eight health and wellness activities per year. Using a variety of strategies to break through any barriers to action, word of mouth is one of the most effective. The school also offers paid time off for exercise-”two half-hour blocks every week-”and even a cash incentive ($300 a year) that’s tied to participation. And staff who meet health standards related to exercise receive enhanced benefits (typically lower co-pays and deductibles). There’s no shortage of options to choose from in embracing the Calvin College culture of wellness. From two fitness centers (with 15,000-square-feet of equipment), an Olympic-size swimming pool, multiple gymnasiums, two dance studios, indoor track, indoor tennis, and even a 40-foot climbing wall, any excuses for not getting and keeping fit won’t be related to a lack of opportunity.

Carson Health-¨

Carson City, Mich.-¨
Carson Health has an integrated approach to improving the wellness of its team, including reducing sick leave (two percent annually) and embracing online tools to help staff meet their personal health and fitness goals, all the while reducing the cost of health care as it improves productivity in a smoke-free environment. With an Associate Wellness Clinic (staffed by a nurse practitioner) available at no cost to staff, Carson Health’s wellness strategy also includes an annual health risk appraisal/personal health evaluation for members of its team, followed by a report with follow-up recommendations. An annual summer wellness program is also part of the ongoing initiatives at Carson Health. Teams of four compete for weekly prizes, with points awarded for healthy living activities. Plans for an even more robust wellness program are under way, with an emphasis on group activities and various health events.


When the Michigan-based software giant set out to attract and retain healthy and productive employees, the idea of encouraging staff to make small lifestyle changes was key to its strategy. What flowed out of that was the Compuware Ultimate Challenge, a series of weekly events where employees can earn points they can redeem for rewards and prizes related to improvement in health. Tom Anderson, the firm’s director of worklife and wellness, says the “Ultimate Challenge” is among the most popular wellness initiatives in Compuware’s 40-year history. And more to the point, it’s a reflection of the company’s commitment to the idea of employee wellness. “It’s one that starts at the top and extends through every level of our organization,” says Anderson. The fact that Compuware is a self-insured company underscores the “bottom-line” effect of wellness initiatives. “We are particularly attuned to the fact that investments in employee wellness can greatly reduce demands for acute care,” says Anderson. With not only a 40,000-square-foot wellness center but also an urban garden setting where fresh, organically grown produce combine with seminars on healthy food preparation, Compuware has set the bar high. And seems determined to keep raising it even higher.

Consumers Credit Union

Kalamazoo, Mich.-¨
With an already high percentage of employees engaged in its wellness program (75 to 85 percent on a consistent basis), Consumers Credit Union knows its on the right track to wellness, one that focuses on helping employees find the intrinsic reasons to become and stay healthy. That strategy includes education, coaching, challenges and incentives, notes CEO Kit Snyder, although the firm doesn’t take a “stick” approach to those who choose not to embrace the wellness ethos. “We don’t penalize employees who don’t participate and we don’t offer insurance discounts,” adds Snyder. Still, there’s a sustained effort to keep those high engagement levels high, including weekly reminders, regular updating of the wellness website and quarterly challenges that tap into a competitive spirit among staff. The results are speaking for themselves: a lower claims loss ratio that keeps getting lower and lower health care premiums in 2014. “Keeping our employees engaged and healthy has been our focus and we’re succeeding,” says Snyder. “Wellness is part of everything we do and that’s never going to change.”

Cooperative Elevator-¨

Pigeon, Mich.
When it comes to creating and keeping a healthy organization, Cooperative Elevator understands the need to focus on prevention rather than treatment. “We want to provide our employees and their family members with informative information and challenges so they can attain a long and healthy life,” notes CEO Patricia Anderson. That means identifying risk factors and providing support for reducing those risk factors. “This gives employees more control of their health care dollars while being encouraged to live healthy lifestyles as they set personal goals.” A part of Cooperative Elevator’s wellness strategy is to increase awareness around lifestyle and behaviors and, when possible, remove those risk factors. “We’re not striving for skinny employees,” quips Anderson. “We’re striving for healthy conscious employees.” Company initiatives include an annual HealthCheck360 program that includes biometric screening as well as a dedicated website portal that allows employees to access customized wellness information. The firm also makes it easy for employees to learn even more about how to get and stay healthy. Plus training for CPR response, first aid and the use of on the job safety equipment (including AEDs-”automated external defibrillator) is all part of a wellness culture that’s thriving at Cooperative Elevator.

Custom Profile-¨

Grand Rapids, Mich.-¨
Although its wellness program is in its early stages, Custom Profile is committed to using the strategies it is adopting to build a healthier workforce, especially one that’s consistent with its “Total Customer Satisfaction” culture. With a mission that includes honoring its commitments, a pursuit of zero defects, quicker than its competitors’ response, and recruitment, development and retention of employees, Custom Profile is serious about its leadership strategy. “Ultimately our goal is to help make our workforce healthier and give them the tools they need to succeed,” says Sam Nicholas, president and founder of Custom Profile. “As a Wellness winner, we’re excited about learning the best practices from the other winners to enhance what we currently do at Custom Profile, including annual flu shots and offering the Employee Assistance Program.

Danboise Mechanical-¨

Farmington Hills, Mich.-¨
It takes a consistent effort to keep wellness front and center at Danboise Mechanical. But CEO David Boduch has no qualms about the work required. “We strive to maintain a constant message of health and wellness throughout the year,” says Boduch. “Reminders are everywhere you look and in every piece of communication. It is truly integrated in our culture.” So is the idea that the commitment is for everyone, even family of staff. Initiatives include regular walking challenges, paid annual health screenings, onsite exercise equipment and bicycles employees can use during working hours or check out to take home. Complimentary fruit, vegetables and water may be everywhere, but don’t look for sugared soft drinks. A dedicated Wellness Committee that generates a consistent message of health and wellness is another key to preserving the culture at Danboise Mechanical. “We’ve always promoted a proactive approach to health and wellness,” notes Boduch.


Advancing the cause of wellness at Digerati is part of the creative approach the company takes. “We look at things differently because our team is different,” says CEO Brian Balasia. “We are not just engineers. We focus on the choreography of people, technology and process to increase efficiency, maximize production, improve quality, and enhance customer experience.” As far as wellness is concerned, that translates into widely promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace, encouraging staff to eat healthy, exercise and reduce stress at work and home, and encouraging wellness by equipping staff with tools to foster digital wealth. An outside resource-””is part of that strategy. Digerati also belongs to the Compuware Wellness Center.

Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy

Flint, Mich.
In any given week, Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy has dozens of activities that help employees take better care of themselves. Among those are daily 10-minute yoga breaks designed to help employees reconnect mind and body, find better perspective and bring more energy and creativity into the workday. “If you visit our headquarters, you’ll always find employees walking our lengthy hallways,” notes CEO Phil Hagerman. “At Diplomat, four laps add up to a mile; we call it the ‘Diplomat Mile.'” The firm, which is the nation’s largest privately owned specialty pharmacy, offers more ways to help employees with their health goals, including Weight Watchers diet plans, courses designed to help participants quit smoking, “mini massages” that help relieve stress and fitness groups led by personal trainers. Diplomat also hosts annual events tied into the seasons and competes with area companies for top awards in a fitness challenge. “It’s our job to improve the health of our patients and it’s just as crucial that we strive to do the same for our employees,” adds Hagerman. “We believe happiness is key to good health and everyday success and we aim to make the most of every change to improve our employees’ experience.”

DTE Energy-¨

Empowering every employee to live with high energy, good health and a passion for life. That’s the heart of DTE Energy’s health and wellness strategy and it’s one that CEO Gerry Anderson says the organization takes seriously. And it’s one that extends beyond the employee. “We recognize that individual health is greatly impacted by family health,” adds Anderson. Offering programs that engage and educate the whole family include incentives for participating. The firm also partners with the Michigan Institute for Human Performance and its MoveWell program, one designed to increase the likelihood that employees will live pain free well into the program. Since the fall of 2012, when the program began, hundreds of employees have been assessed and the stories of pain elimination and improved mobility are plentiful. “We’re really excited about this program and the impact it has had on our employees,” says Anderson. Engaging employees may not always be the easiest thing to do but having the right environment helps, especially one where each employee willingly brings their energy and focus to the job every day. “Our health and wellness programs play a large role in our engagement environment,” notes Anderson. “They help employees see and believe that the company truly cares about their health and wellbeing.”

E&A Credit Union-¨

Port Huron, Mich.
You would expect a credit union like Port Huron-based E&A to have as its mission “to guide our members to a better financial way of life.” But that kind of thinking is clearly extended to those who work there, with the creation of a culture of wellness as part of its mission. That includes initiatives that include both physical and mental wellness, with a portal under development that will feature anytime access to various wellness topics ranging from disease management to at-desk exercises and even healthy recipes. The portal will also feature a blog where employees can discuss various achievements and challenges. The planned Web portal comes on the heels of a monthly wellness newsletter developed by the firm’s wellness team, but updating will improve through the portal. Other initiatives have included free onsite flu shots for employees and immediate family members (now taken over by E&A’s HMO). There’s also a number of other resources, including smoking cessation programs, a stress management workshop, and a series of free massages from therapists who will travel to each location. And yes, employees are on the clock even while they pause for the 15-minute massage. From free exercise programs for employees at the local YMCA, a “Biggest Loser” competition with two other local credit unions, and even a pedometer challenge, E&A is doing whatever it takes to help its team embed wellness in their lifestyle.

Easter Seals Michigan-¨

Auburn Hills, Mich.
CEO Brent Wirth acknowledges that plans to move the Easter Seals Michigan organization from a participation-based wellness plan to one that would focus on outcomes is getting a “rethink” based on the Affordable Care Act and plans by Easter Seals’ health care insurer to drop that particular option. “We’re going to be taking a harder look at imposing smoking surcharges as well,” notes Wirth. But encouraging employees to make better lifestyle choices and become more educated consumers of health care services is still very much the plan. Indeed, from the very beginning of the hiring process, staff hears just how important wellness is to Easter Seals. With weekly publications devoted to the issue, on-site classes in yoga and Zumba, and organized walks and a yearly race event, the message is getting through. Easter Seals also hosts on-site chair massages. The organization has also built in a feedback system that encourages employees to let management know whether the specific efforts are working.

Experi-Metal Inc.-¨

Sterling Heights, Mich.
Talking about wellness isn’t enough, says CEO Valiena Allison of Experi-Metal. “We not only talk about it, we actively practice it, tailoring our wellness program specifically to the primary challenges that our particular workforce struggles with.” Those include issues like obesity prevention, men’s health issues, how to live properly, sunscreen use and avoidance of sunstroke, and proper hydration in the summer months. Allison says Experi-Metal will continue offering what she calls “a robust health insurance package” to employees, regardless of changes coming with the Affordable Care Act. Part of that commitment includes an ongoing focus on employee education that encourages positive change. Initiatives include a wellness committee that meets monthly and regular communication of wellness topics.

Express Employment Professionals-¨

Grand Rapids, Mich.
While work is important, family and personal time is critical. That’s the essence of a wellness strategy CEO Janis Petrini has brought to her Grand Rapids franchise. “We try to pick topics that we can focus on at work to be able to encourage the lifestyle changes we can bring back to our family and communities,” says Petrini. That translates into picking different ideas and topics and setting goals, whether it be stretching at times set aside each day, daily water consumption goals or even pack a lunch goals. “With focusing on behaviors and topics we can implement at work, we typically will have the majority of our office participating,” adds Petrini. A wellness committee brings the perspective of the entire team and regular communications ensure that the topics match a wide range of goals. There’s little question changes brought forward from the Affordable Care Act will change the landscape. “We’re trying to focus more on implementing initiatives that will cover what is going to be missing from our future health plan as we meet the new guidelines. Knowing that a healthy workforce is going to be key, we will continually monitor and improve our wellness initiatives to try to ensure we are supporting our team to be healthy and well.”

Farbman Group-¨

Southfield, Mich.-¨
Having a team that is able to enhance Farbman Group’s mission of excellence in all facets of real estate services requires one that embraces wellness and this firm has put such a strategy in place. Helping to increase awareness of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle comes through corporate support and endorsement of the wellness program. Farbman has also added benchmark outcomes and folded in overall wellness topics into its “Farbman University” training environment, with as many as half a dozen classes on the curriculum. An annual (free) onsite flu shot clinic is another welcome tactic and the firm’s health and wellness committee coordinates walking contests between individuals, teams, and other companies. Pedometers are given to each participant and a healthy luncheon is provided at the end of the contest.

Fellowship Chapel-¨

Detroit’s Fellowship Chapel is another example of a faith-based organization taking the initiative to recognize that “peace on earth” can and should include a focus on physical wellbeing. Fellowship’s health ministry, overseen by Melissa Franklin, a registered nurse, is the conduit for this mission. “Promoting health education is our main purpose to help sustain and provide health resources that will be available to help improve your life,” notes Franklin. Through a variety of initiatives that include an annual health assessment, monthly health screenings, consultations and referrals in a number of key areas, Fellowship Chapel is committed to its mission, with volunteer nurses and allied health workers ready to step forward during church services. There’s also a number of physical fitness programs scheduled during the week. The pastor, Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, is a key part of the team, acknowledging individual accomplishments and leading the encouragement from the pulpit. As Franklin explains, Fellowship Chapel has seen the results of the effort. “We’ve seen a direct outcome in the consistency of participants exercising through out the week and participants taking advantages of the health screening every fourth Sunday.” Numerous other initiatives include a partnership with the American Diabetic Association and a variety of other providers committed to improving the health of Fellowship Chapel members.


Grand Rapids, Mich.-¨
In its quest to become a leader in its field-”conveyor belt systems are its specialty-”Flexco understands just how important employee health and wellness is to that mission. With elements that include ways to help nurture mind, body and generous spirit, the firm’s wellness program includes on-site biometric screenings that lead to even better results. A wellness library, online through its Intranet site, is a welcome resource for advice on healthy eating, weight management physical activity, diabetes management, prevention and self-care. Insurance providers (health and general) have added their own resources to the mix and Flexco offers a variety of onsite resources to help engage employees on a number of wellness topics. Regular lunch and learn topics on a variety of wellness topics are also scheduled. Through an onsite fitness facility, Flexco offers weekly group fitness classes ranging from Cardio Bootcamp to Pilates, all with consistently high participation.

G & T Industries

Byron Center, Mich.-¨
CEO Roland Grit is leading an organization that has helped bring a culture of wellness to everyone who works at G & T Industries. One key tactic is offering health insurance discounts for those who participate in various wellness activities, notably organized races, visiting a health club on a regular basis, completing a pedometer challenge and enrolling in a healthy food/diet program to name a few. The firm’s wellness committee is doing its part by keeping the lines of communication open when in comes to ongoing activity throughout the year. And there are incentives such as gift cards and extra vacation time to keep people motivated. Grit says a recent overhaul is evidence of the importance of the wellness program. “We are more aggressive and promote wellness more than we have in years past.”

Gentex Corp.

Zeeland, Mich.-¨
How do you improve wellness at work? One sure way is to have employees “own” their health and wellbeing. With a variety of initiatives undertaken since the Gentex program was transformed starting in 2007, CEO Fred T. Bauer has seen dramatic changes. Encouragement is part of the strategy but so is removing any financial barriers there might be to becoming physically fit. One example? An on-site Wellness Center fully stocked with high-quality equipment available to everyone. The company has also forged partnerships with local medical groups, again removing barriers to preventive health care and increasing workplace accessibility. Gentex is also targeting specific areas of concern, notably diabetes, with a voluntary initiative available to insured employees who either have the disease or who may be at risk. And through participation in the “Right Stuff” program, active participation in healthy activities can mean hundreds of dollars in premium savings for employees who take advantage of a wide variety of wellness initiatives.

Gordon Food Service-¨

Wyoming, Mich.-¨
Gordon Food Service sees as its purpose the serving of customers with the highest quality foods, a quest it achieves through innovative systems and the spirit and integrity of its people. With that in mind, GFS has established LiveWell, a voluntary wellness program that helps employees and their families lead a healthier lifestyle with programs, initiatives and incentives that inspire, motivate and support steps to optimal health. Through a monthly newsletter, with articles posted weekly to its Intranet, as well as video streaming, fliers, bulletin board postings and a variety of other initiatives, employees are able to take charge of their health. Even an annual health assessment is free and both employees and spouses are eligible through the firm’s health plan.

Grand Rapids Label Co.-¨

Grand Rapids, Mich.-¨
More than half the employees at Grand Rapids Label take part in company initiatives to improve physical, financial, emotional and overall wellbeing. And those initiatives are broad in their scope, with monthly wellness coaching presentations that are recorded and available for later use part of the plan. Throughout the year, cooking demonstrations teach employees how to cook with new foods, use quick/healthy recipes and offer tips and tricks for serving more health conscious meals. In the financial arena, empowerment seminars geared toward helping employees achieve financial wellness through saving and budgeting, understanding and improving credit, and identity protection. Grand Rapids Label also organizes grocery store tours, lead by a registered dietician who offers tips on reading labels, avoiding unhealthy shopping pitfalls and shopping for a well-balanced menu. The company also supports a 12-week personal weight management program that teams up employees with personal trainers for several coaching sessions.

Harbor Industries-¨

Grand Haven, Mich.
With an impressive 65 percent of employees enrolling in each of several wellness challenges set up by the firm, Harbor Industries is making waves when it comes to its wellness programs. The firm’s stated goal is to have two on-site speakers every quarter, with topics that range from healthy holiday alternatives, workplace ergonomics, benefits of yoga, healthy eating for less, and good nutrition. And the cost? Free to full-time employees. Harbor Industries also offers health screenings, some through its health insurance provider.

Hastings Mutual Insurance Co.

Hastings, Mich.-¨
For this regional insurance provider, wellness is a big deal. Indeed, moving from a “program” to a “culture” is one of Hastings’ key achievements as it continues to promote and preserve employee health, providing them with the resources to voluntarily make healthier behavioral changes. The health focus includes initiatives designed to improve employees’ health through increasing their physical activity, healthy eating, and stress management to help employees take more control of their own health, which should lead to reducing and/or controlling costs for health care. Weight management programs are also part of the mix, with the firm’s Why Weight program featuring one-on-one sessions with personal fitness trainers and registered dieticians. Several fitness classes include small group training with personal fitness instructors, with classes taking place at a variety of times, including during work hours, after work and during lunch. Lunch and learn sessions are frequently held covering topics such as healthy eating, stress management, disease management, and increasing physical activity. The company also offers annual no-cost health risk assessments and biometric screenings and nearly 100 percent of employees participate in at least one of Hastings’ wellness offerings.

Herman Miller-¨

Zeeland, Mich.-¨
Management at this worldwide designer and manufacturer of high quality office furniture understands the power of a workforce that embraces health and wellness. It’s why Health and Wellness Manager Heather Brazee remains committed to giving employees and families every opportunity to get and stay healthy. “We want our employees and their families to have the resources available so they can become as healthy as they want to be,” notes Brazee, who realizes the importance of education in that quest. “We’ve worked hard over the past several years to educate our employees on the importance of their health. Not just so they remain healthy and can be around for a long time for their families-”which is most important-”but also for the sustainability of the company.” Indeed, making sure employees understand the link between things like a reduction in healthcare claims and a quarterly bonus can be a key learning point. But so is storytelling. “We feel this is one of the best and most powerful tools of communication-”sharing successes,” adds Brazee. The use of a company Intranet to share those stories through blog posts and other forms of social networking is part of the mix. But so is the digital signage in most areas of the company, tools that allow for reminders to those who may not sit at a computer. “We’ve also recently began to use videos to tell more stories and promote programs, which have been very successful,” says Brazee.


Southfield, Mich.-¨
Founded in 1996 as a provider of innovative content management solutions, ImageSoft has quickly become a leader in the field with its systems for automating, streamlining and improving workplace processes. When it comes to employee wellness, ImageSoft is putting just as much energy into making sure its team members have the resources they need to keep their performance at optimal levels. An onsite workout room is certainly a popular option, as are the Wednesday yoga classes the firm sponsors. The company’s paid wellness initiative provides a comprehensive health evaluation and fitness assessment, monthly workplace lunch-and-learn sessions on a variety of health and fitness topics (free lunch included), personal nutrition and fitness consulting, prizes and rewards for achieving health goals.


Farmington Hills, Mich.
It’s not enough that JARC-”a non-sectarian, non-profit organization founded in 1969-”is in business to help meet the needs of children with developmental disabilities. For CEO Richard A. Loewenstein, meeting the wellness needs of employees is among the most important ways to attract those who are critical to the organization’s success. One of the initiatives is an annual health and wellness fair that showcases a variety of ways JARC staff can embrace a healthy lifestyle. Having a health and safety committee that focuses on ways to improve employee wellness is one of the initiatives, as are the incentives JARC uses to keep the momentum going. Think great raffle prizes for attending events, most of which are relevant to aspects of individual jobs, and payments toward Weight Watchers, a free flu shot clinic, lunchtime yoga sessions and a non-smoker premium discount.

Kadesh Baptist Church

The name “Kadesh”-”Holy Place-”can be as all encompassing as the members of the church desire it to be. From Christian education, civil outreach, evangelism and worship, the core of the church is its connection to people and that’s arguably one of wellness in its purest form. This community of worshippers clearly looks above and to one another to develop a sense of wellness, with numerous initiatives designed to grow together and to meet their needs where they are. Indeed, here’s where the role of ministry workers, one of five areas of involvement available to those who call Kadesh home, take root, all under the leadership of Rev. Gregory Lewis Foster Sr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School

When the 49-year-old former Martin Luther King Jr. school was replaced in 2011, the new state-of-the-art facility was one that emphasized a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum. The new nearly quarter million square foot space, a two-story building with six wings, hasn’t overlooked the importance of wellness in the development of its students. The school features an athletic complex with a swimming pool, upper level varsity gymnasium with a concession stand and locker rooms. With a view that the mind is a great resource that requires development beyond the sciences, the school features a performing arts area with a renovated auditorium, dance studio, band room, and choral room. The common theme: the wellness of a future generation of Martin Luther King Jr. students, equipped in every respect to improve the prosperity of those with whom they connect.

Masco Corp.-¨

Taylor, Mich.
A framework of benefits at Masco Corp., a manufacturer of home improvement products began by Alex Manoogian is constantly heeding its founder’s advice : “Don’t be satisfied with average performance. Strive for excellence.” With those words in the background, Masco has set out to develop on enterprise-wide workplace culture where employees and their families are truly accountable and supported for their health and wellbeing. One example is the incentives that reduce the cost of on-site weekly Weight Watchers meetings. An on-site 14,600 square feet fitness center, exercise classes, promotions for healthy lifestyle fit challenges, two walking tracks (indoor and out), ping pong table, basketball court, personal trainer and physical therapist are all part of the corporate commitment to wellness. Another example of the “excellence” commitment: the Masco café, an onsite facility that offers fit menu selections, subsidized to make it convenient and affordable for employees to choose from a wide variety of healthy foods. The company also has a medical kiosk to provide employees with access to a doctor and medical library. There’s also an Employee Assistance Plan available to employees and family members and an annual Masco Health Fair with on-site and off-site blood screening, and on-site flu shots.


Grand Rapids, Mich.-¨
You would expect a company as big as Meijer to be attuned to the importance of employee wellness, and you won’t be disappointed. The organization, led by president J.K. Symancyk (who reports to a co-CEO team, one of whom is a Meijer), has a variety of initiatives on its plate, including a weight loss challenge available to some 60,000 team members in five states. “Our goal of providing simple solutions to make healthy living easier has always extended beyond our customers to our team members, but this contest will help us take it to a new level,” said Amanda Senecal, a wellness program specialist at Meijer. Access to a health portal maintained by a wellness vendor gives team members the opportunity to track their physical activity, join team challenges and win prizes such as T-shirts and gift cards. The company’s success is being noticed by at least two external organizations: the National Business Group on Health, which calls Meijer one of the “Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles,” and the American Heart Association, which says Meijer earns its nod as a “Fit Friendly Company.” Ongoing initiatives such as offering healthy alternatives in cafeterias and vending machines, encouraging employees to take walks near their stores are all part of the wellness package at Meijer.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

Grand Rapids, Mich.
Leveraging peer influence is among the most important ways to trigger actions that promote a wellness culture. So says Bill Manns, the newly appointed head of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “Activities that require the participation of a pair or team are more successful than individual events, even while we keep the individual option open.” Whether they’re work groups or include a best friend at work or even a team of like-minded people, the idea is consistent: peers play a significant role in motivating and supporting continued positive behavior change. So is sharing success stories, something that takes place in a variety of ways, including social media, the Web portal and regular communications throughout the organization. But it’s more than participation that is measured at Mercy Health. Important statistics such as body mass index, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels are all factored in when employees take steps to become healthier. As is the idea that ultimately it’s the employee who is the real “care giver.” Remember the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Those leading Mercy Health Saint Mary’s wellness program certainly do. “Every way that we are able to increase colleague accountability for personal wellness is a means to benefit from a healthier workforce and a healthier community,” says Manns.

Mercy Health Muskegon

Muskegon, Mich.-¨
It’s about choice. For Mercy Health, acknowledging staff’s ability and right to make healthy choices is part of a corporate strategy that includes a points program that rewards those who take the steps to improve their wellness. Providing ongoing information and advice from multidisciplinary experts (including those in the fields of financial planning, mental health, physiology, and spiritual care) is part of the organization’s wellness initiative. So is a “Live Your Whole Life” wellness website that Mercy has in place. Add in a series of sponsored events that include the area’s largest indoor bike race, a weight loss challenge, and an interactive wellness fair, and it’s clear that Mercy Health is on the right track. “We made the fair as interactive as possible by providing associates with the opportunity to assess their current health and wellbeing in specific areas and then consult with experts who had tips and tools to help them improve,” notes Greg Loomis, chief operating officer at Mercy Health Partners. It’s also very much a two-way street: when a tip appears on the website, employees can reach out with questions or a request for coaching.

MSU Federal Credit Union-¨

East Lansing, Mich.-¨
Not every organization out there has a “healthy mission” but the MSU Federal Credit Union does: “to support and encourage a culture of health and wellness by providing resources, choices, and programs while motivating employees to secure ownership over the health, success, and balance in their lives.” One way to achieve that is by making healthy lifestyle goals and dreams attainable for employees by offering a variety of wellness programs and options. The result: employees who are better motivated, engaged, and happier in all facets of their life, including in their careers at the Credit Union. And it gets better. By investing in the health and well-being of employees, those same team members will invest in the Credit union and make their own positive impact. But let’s get down to the practical. The Credit Union offers healthy eating and weight management options through the reimbursement of half the cost of a monthly membership to Weight Watchers and participating in a co-op for Door-to-Door organics, where employees can have boxes of organic fruit and vegetables delivered to their office or home at a discounted rate. It’s also made an effort to offer healthy food options at meetings and at an on-site café. And there’s a fitness facility at the headquarters location, complete with treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and weights, as well as a walking/running trail around the building. In partnership with its health insurance provider, there’s also a wellness portal where employees can take a health risk assessment and set health-related goals based on their personalized needs, tracking exercise, food, and weight-”either on the site or from a mobile app.

Metro City Church-¨

Taylor, Mich.-¨
You might not think about physical fitness and the kind of “spiritual fitness” being promoted by Metro City Church as naturally going together. You’d be wrong. In fact, lead pastor Jeremy Schossou is himself something of a fitness buff and wants at least his corner of the world to embrace a healthier lifestyle. So it is that the church has a legacy of hosting a series of weight loss challenges, next year to be renamed “Metro Fit” in order to focus more on the idea of year-round fitness. And it’s not just about church members and visitors. The initiative includes an outreach to local schools and homes, made just a little easier with the purchase of a new facility that can handle an expected surge in participants. While there’s a “minimal” fee to take part, those fees are returned in the form of prizes based on results. A volunteer-run program, Metro Fit includes certified trainers as well as those who have seen their own transformation and want to give back.

New Haven High School

New Haven, Mich.-¨
The good news when you’re designing a wellness program for a high school is that there are lots of opportunities to make a difference. The challenge, of course, is there are a lot of people who need attention. But New Haven High School is running on all cylinders, thanks to an attitude of inclusion-”bringing not only students, but also staff and parents together in a united front that is having a positive impact on the overall health of the school community. From a school café run by the school’s business classes and serving nutritious food, and a partnership with St. John Health System, which provides Web-based software to track progress, the school is also identifying opportunities for improvement for its students and staff. New Haven has also instituted a yoga class, found to be a remarkably successful initiative. There’s also a team building class led by those at the nearby Selfridge Air National Guard base. Awards are a big part of New Haven’s wellness program, with a banquet for athletes and family celebrations as part of an ongoing initiative supported by local business. Students also get elective credit toward graduation when they complete the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge. Another plus to the wellness program is the partnership New Haven is enjoying with its neighboring district in Anchor Bay, with relationships developing among first responders, the health system, and even the faith-based community.

North American Bancard-¨

Troy, Mich.-¨
Starting small (one employee in a shared office) doesn’t mean you have to think small forever. That’s certainly the case with North American Bancard, which has grown to hundreds of employees located in a 100,000-square-foot corporate office. But it remains a close-knit group with a concentration on employee health. One proof of that is its “Fit Friendly” status from the American Heart Association, awarded for its comprehensive wellness initiatives. With plans for an on-site health fair and the ongoing hosting of lunch and learns throughout the year, North American Bancard does more than process credit card payments. It makes a tangible improvement to the health and wellness of its team.

North Central Michigan College-¨

Petoskey, Mich.-¨
Let’s start with the basics. A smoke-free campus. Filtered water fountains. Workday exercise breaks. North Central Michigan College is clearly taking the steps necessary to emphasize wellness as a core value. There’s also an educational component to the school’s initiatives, including lessons on osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity and nutrition. Plus worksite vaccinations and healthy snacks served at meetings and even a free running track for the entire community. An active wellness committee is in place, making sure information goes to all employees on health and nutrition, including sending healthy recipes by e-mail. The college even reaches out to the local farming community, providing fresh products with a low carbon footprint. And lest anyone think the school’s leadership isn’t adopting the changes, there’s also a series of “Beat the President” challenges in place at the fitness center.

OLHSA, A Community Action Agency-¨

Pontiac, Mich.-¨
Otherwise known as the Oakland Livingston County Human Service Agency, the key word isn’t even part of the OLHSA acronym. It’s “action” and from a wellness standpoint, it’s also all about engagement. As CEO Ronald B. Borngesser points out, that’s something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. “We overcome low engagement by asking our employees to take a bigger leading role in our agency’s overall health initiatives. A large health and wellness committee has representatives from every area of our agency and lets people truly feel like their voice and ideas are heard.” That effort is delivering. “We’ve gotten some great things started,” notes Borngesser, among them the formation of walking and running groups, and the spread of healthy recipes. Looking ahead, Borngesser points to momentum as being OLHSA’s “best friend” when it comes to embedding health and wellness into the organization’s culture. “We work as teams and employees stay motivated. It seems that energy builds upon itself as more and more employees take advantage of the initiatives we offer. And our community has come to know us for what we do around health and wellness.”

Peckham Inc.

Lansing, Mich.-¨
With the idea of “maximizing human potential” baked into its mission statement, it should be no surprise that Peckham Inc., a nonprofit community vocational rehabilitation organization, has extended that thinking to its employee wellness programs. Whether it’s an annual health and fitness assessment, the offering of cash-incentive payments, or the reimbursement of gym memberships, the intent is the same. “We want to keep our employees satisfied and engaged,” notes CEO Mitchell Tomlinson, who adds that the addition of a “Be Well at Work” program should take that effort to the next level. “We hope this will be the key to success in keeping our employees engaged by offering targeted programming specific to each individual’s needs. If we provide a diverse range of wellness options that include incentives, our programs tend to generate more participation.” Even today, all Peckham’s facilities have a fitness center with exercise equipment and there’s a “Meals Made Easy” cooking program that the organization says is helping influence food choices, not only for employees but their families as well.

Pennock Health Services

Hastings, Mich.-¨
One might be tempted to customize a favorite standup line this way: Look up “Wellness” in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of the Health and Wellness Center built by Pennock Health. Except it’s no joke. Built for the Hastings community, the facility (open to all Pennock colleagues) could be said to be the nucleus of an attitude toward wellness. The only hospital in rural Barry County (population 58,000), Pennock is serious about its responsibility to serve the community. And that means helping employees stay healthy. Key to that is its corporate wellness program (implemented in January 2012) that includes an on-site clinic staffed by a nurse practitioner. “We wanted to reduce the risk of chronic disease through evidence-based workplace health interventions,” notes CEO Sheryl Lewis Blake. “Having an on-site clinic allows colleagues to receive care quickly, with high quality, while at work, which then minimizes absenteeism.” Pretty sound thinking, an attitude that flows through other initiatives, including encouraging lunchtime walks, and participation in a bevy of healthy community events, among them a United Way Day of Caring, March of Dimes Walk, and a countywide cycling race. And don’t forget about the Green Street Café, a company cafeteria that features fresh food (locally of course) as well as a heart healthy bar, yogurt and fruit bars and sugar-free beverages.

Quicken Loans

A great idea is just the first step. The real magic is bringing that idea to life with great execution. Quicken Loans had adopted a culture of “Yes” that applies to its wellness programs. This doesn’t mean every single idea, question, suggestion or recommendation will ultimately be met with a big “thumbs up.” But it does mean responding to all curiosity with the mindset of “Yes” first. When it comes to wellness, assisting team members and their families to live a healthy lifestyle is the first of several objectives. A second is giving team members the opportunity to “know their numbers”-”revealing any potential risk factors they may have throughout the company’s annual health screenings/health assessment program. A third objective is to lower the percentage of chronic conditions that may exist throughout the organization-”validated through medical claim data. There’s also a commitment to provide a variety of onsite wellness activities for all employees. Examples include free on-site workout classes, monthly nutritional lunch and learns, monthly chair massages, free smoking cessation programs, Employee Assistance Program and stress management programs. The Quicken Loans wellness website hosts a plethora of wellness information dedicated to the health and wellness of team members and their families, with updates on some 80 onsite wellness events for team members.


Grand Rapids, Mich.-¨
At Ranir, a global manufacturer of oral and personal health care products sold under various brands, wellness starts with asking, “We survey our employees to determine their level of interest in wellness topics and then develop programming around those areas,” notes CEO Christine Henisee. Those “first steps” are followed by action in areas proven to be effective: better nutrition, incorporating more activity into the day, and even wellness of the financial type. “We try to focus on improving behaviors for a healthier lifestyle, adds Henisee. With a wellness portal as part of its integrated plan, Ranir offers up a wide range of options, many of them geared toward the entire family, not just employees. “We believe it’s easier to make changes when everyone in the household is making a change,” says Henisee, who adds that positive results are becoming the norm. And the future. “Wellness is incorporated into our value proposition, impacts our decisions on benefits design and feeds into many of the other activities and communication we do throughout the year.”

Rhonda Walker Foundation-¨

West Bloomfield, Mich.
Emphasizing healthy habits is a main focus of the Rhonda Walker Foundation, the main reason being that the teens served cannot realize their full potential without also learning to care for their wellbeing. As the Rhonda Walker Foundation website explains: “That’s why we stress physical exercise, self-defense, and a general awareness of observing a healthy lifestyle.” Whether it’s strenuous teambuilding exercises during Camp I Can, dancing, Pilates, yoga, and aerobics during 24-Hour Girl Talk, or walking in the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure, teens are frequently exposed to activities designed to reinforce the need to be active and stay fit. In addition, teens participate in workshops led by physicians, dentists, dermatologists, dieticians, and other health care professionals to learn the importance of physical fitness, proper oral hygiene, and good eating habits. They also learn to avoid the pitfalls presented by sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and emotional depression. For our teens to become tomorrow’s leaders, they first have to take care of themselves today. To further show its commitment to healthy living, the Rhonda Walker Foundation recently held its first fundraiser focused on bringing attention to health issues and uplifting the community.

Schupan & Sons Inc.

Kalamazoo, Mich.-¨
Schupan may focus on industrial recycling, but building its employee base into one where wellness reigns supreme is one of its most important goals. It starts by inspiring, creating and maintaining a workplace and environment that supports and encourages each employee’s healthy lifestyle choices. It’s also about encouraging and empowering employees to take responsibility for their own health. One way to accomplish this is by striving to provide a better understanding of the true cost of health care, strengthening the partnership between the company and employees. An annual biometric screening (done on site at no cost to employees) provides a wealth of information that can lead to better health and wellness. And a wellness coach follows up, based on an employee’s request. Complimentary flu shots are part of a comprehensive plan to help employees become healthier individuals.

Seco Tools Inc.-¨

Troy, Mich.-¨
Seco is always looking for new wellness sources to provide to employees. New in 2013 is a partnership with Vitality, a wellness vendor. Employees who attend Seco sponsored wellness events, use online programs for options on how to eat healthy, how to get started in exercise, calculators on their risk for a heart attack, and how to deal with stress. They can also participate in other healthy lifestyle choices such as annual physicals, walking, working out, going to dental checkups, getting vaccinations, or signing kids up for sports leagues, all while earning points redeemable for prizes from an online store. Seco continues to publish an annual Wellness Event Calendar that highlights quarterly health topics and at least three-to-six events each month, either on-site, webinar or after work events. Employees are supported in their efforts to adopt healthier behaviors by its no-smoking policy, healthy vending choices and fitness challenges. Progress is recognized and supported through celebration and incentives. A five-year benefit strategy plan that incorporates wellness initiatives has resulted in increase benefits at a decreased cost, putting Seco well ahead of industry trends.


Southfield, Mich.-¨
You might expect a company that has at its heart the discipline inherent in computer code (the firm is a premier provider of managed IT operations, hosting and cloud services) to be on the ball when it comes to developing a top-notch wellness program. Indeed, that’s the case at Secure-24: its wellness program is entirely employee driven, says CEO Mike Jennings. It’s just that it’s relatively new. Having acknowledged these early days, Jennings and his team aren’t standing still. “Employee motivation and engagement are key to the initiative, which focuses on education and events to engage employees.” Still, there are lots of things going on to support the wellness strategy, including a free gym and free fruit placed next to vending machines (providing an easy and healthy switch). Expect that kind of thinking to continue, says Jennings. “We’ve always maintained a strong focus on employee wellness for both mental and physical health. Today we continue that tradition by taking into account employee feedback and ideas in creating a program that works for everyone.”

Serenity Christian Church-¨

Hazel Park, Mich.-¨
It’s a church that takes its responsibility to members, and the community it serves, seriously. And that includes a commitment to promoting wellness, notes associate pastor Sandy Harvey (her husband, Apostle John Harvey, is Serenity’s senior pastor). “In our world of spiritual and community people engagement, we find that offering health information, healthy food alternatives, and as leaders committing to being healthy, that we are best able to encourage others to implement health and wellness alternatives in every aspect of their lives.” With examples as varied as Walking Out Our Faith, public sharing of health and wellness stories, and providing health screening to members of its congregation, Serenity remains keenly interested in doing even more. “Our innovation comes in how we share and disseminate information and as leaders, our personal support and engagement,” says Sandy Harvey, who says attitudes continue to evolve. “Our health and wellness culture has changed over the years and is being embraced at our church. For example, we have members posting healthy juicing ideas and dinner recipes on Facebook-”that didn’t happen 18 months ago.”

Shape Corp.-¨

Grand Haven, Mich.
A global leader in impact energy management systems that protect occupants, pedestrians and vehicles, Shape Corp. is also working hard to keep its key asset in the best possible shape it can be. Yes, we’re talking people, the heart of the firm’s culture of wellness. Chairman Gary Verplank, one of the private firm’s original owners, points to a Wellness Ambassador program that has employees serving as “eyes and ears” when it comes to spreading the word. “Most specifically, we want people to know how to encourage one another to seek help when life becomes ‘too much.'” From there, an attitude that recognizes employees who take personal responsibility for the change they want to achieve kicks in. Around weight management and nicotine addiction, as examples, employees who enroll in programs to help management of those issues benefit from lower health care insurance costs. “It’s our hope to encourage individuals to determine their own path in a pursuit of self-defined health and wellbeing,” adds Verplank. “And as our staff hears of wonderful change being made, we create ‘Wellness Spotlights’ to tell stories of what real people are accomplishing.”

Trinity Health African American Associate Resource Group

Livonia, Mich.
Trinity Health believes it’s not only important to do what it can to foster an environment where recruitment, retention and development of African-American associates can take place, but in an atmosphere where promoting the wellness of the body, mind and spirit is emphasized. While the resources are numerous, one highlight is taking part in the American Heart Association’s “Wellness Walking Challenge” at the Trinity Health Home Office. The six-week challenge included logging minutes and miles with friendly competition helping stir things up. During Black History Month, lunch and learn presentations on health and wellness topics were front and center. And a partnership with Fitness Motivators ( helped with even more resources.

The Ideal Group-¨

As a customer-focused construction services company, The Ideal Group takes the betterment of its neighborhood seriously through the creation of sustainable change in Southwest Detroit. But building structures isn’t its only focus. It’s also about motivating employees to make healthy choices to improve their overall health, educating those same employees on healthy lifestyles and, in the process, decreasing insurance claims. It starts with a five-week “Office FIT” course (a once weekly lunch (provided at company expense) where staff learn about healthy eating, shopping, ways to be active during office hours and other tips for better living. More than nine out of 10 employees take part.


Livonia, Mich.
Who says wellness can’t be fun? Not at Valassis, where the strategy is very much infused with fun and variety. But there’s also a measure of seriousness in it all. Consider the company’s year-long Journey to Wellness, which included various stages (healthy eating among them) that culminated in a 5K run. CEO Rob Mason is part of it all through his leadership team’s sponsorship of a challenge that pitted employees against executives to see who could shed the most pounds. Gift cards, Valassis-branded merchandise and vacation days were doled out to those who met program goals. One of the “secrets” to a successful wellness program is consistency, says Mason. “We reinforce it through the programs we offer, the events we host, and the behaviors we reward. Involvement occurs at all levels, which reinforces the culture. And we work hard to communicate this commitment.”

ViSalus Inc.-¨

Troy, Mich.-¨
With healthy eating at its core, ViSalus is naturally enthusiastic about those who make up its workforce to do what they can to carry the torch. And it does just that, offering a specialized kit that contains free of charge company products (all nutritionally formulated to help lose weight). There’s a cash incentive for employees who stay physically active and awards that go beyond the financial. “One way we keep things fun and fresh is by hosting on-site learning sessions,” says CEO Ryan Blair, who co-founded the company. “Employees are asked to participate in ways that excite their taste buds and engages their brains!” The firm has also put in place ways to help employees exercise regularly, quit smoking and earn discounts on health insurance.

Walbridge Aldinger Co.

Noting that the company has an ongoing and growing passion for employee wellness, Walbridge offers a robust health care plan that can be used around the world. With free health screening, employees can get data on some 25 components, including Body Mass Index, all of which can help them make informed choices when it comes to improving their health. The company offers discounted gym memberships and healthy lifestyle classes. From fitness challenges to stretching and mobility activities, Walbridge has incorporated numerous opportunities for better health. One of the most basic is where it chose to construct a headquarters building, choosing one where walking outside would be a natural choice. The company’s corporate directory even includes a feature to help team members create their own walking paths, calculating distance, average number of steps and calories burned.