Saturday, 2 July 2016

Bama Companies invests in its people through employee wellness

Rather than just providing a discount on a gym membership or access to an employee assistance program, Bama Cos. took a holistic approach to employee wellness for its 900 Tulsa employees.

“We want our employees to have good coverage that they can afford, but the second piece of that is the health and wellness part,” said Amy McKee, senior benefits analyst. “We’ve taken a holistic approach to employee wellness. Not only do you have to eat well, you have to exercise and be mentally strong to navigate life.”
The company has put several plans into place, and team members have affordable access to counseling and nutritional counseling.

“That is something we really had to work with our provider to include because it isn’t a normal benefit,” McKee said.

Bama has three fitness centers, one at each facility along with a team member on site who organizes classes that focus on that individual plant.

“The classes are based on feedback from the team members,” McKee said. “Do they want yoga? Do they want Zumba and at what time of the day? We’ve really been able to pull team members into the facility at a 20 percent utilization rate. We expect to see that number grow.”

They’ve also started a new program called Bama Fit.

“We’ve seen a 100 percent success rate with that program,” she said. “What it entails is we do health assessments feedback. Based on that analysis, you can tell what areas need improvement — blood pressure, waist circumference — and we reach out to people who have out of normal results from their assessment.”

Bama offers them a six-month program that gives them free visits to Nutritional Consultants of Tulsa, free visits with the trainer, free visits with the mental health councilors and free visits with the doctor at the company’s health care provider, CareATC.

“They get a broad variety of help dealing with their health issues,” she said. “It’s a very intense program and they have to meet certain guidelines along the way, working with all of the professionals in the groups that we’ve had have achieved a 100 percent success rate.”

Currently, they have approximately 40 people in the program who are on track to meet their goals. A follow-up assessment checks for improvements and that is how they base their success rate.

Incentives are also offered to encourage excitement with the participants.

“We want to make it to where they are not scared and not shamed or judged about their health,” she said. “We can all improve no matter how healthy we are.”

Bama also partnered with a local vendor that delivers healthy wraps, sandwiches and salads every day. To make the items more affordable, the company subsidizes $1 on each of the healthiest items.

In 2012, Bama received an award from McDonald’s for “Global Best of Sustainable Supply Award for Health and Wellness,” and CEO Paula Marshall was recognized by the Tulsa County Health Department as the Healthy Executive of the Year.

“Another thing that I know our CEO would say if she were here is that we are actually net positive on our cost,” said Isaac Rocha, strategic outreach and inclusion officer. “It was a significant investment when we started this program, and we didn’t know when we’d get that return on investment.... I asked her ‘How are we going to pay for it?’ and she said, ‘It doesn’t matter. If we invest in our people, we’ll get it back. I don’t know if it will be in six months or four years. But I know what I’m paying to retrain people and that’s $5,500 per person.’ We’re going to invest in our people because it’s the right thing to do.’”

Rocha said it’s taken five to seven years, but the wellness program has paid off and become profitable.

Lesa Jones

SOURCE - tulsaworld