Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Illinois State Council of the Society for HR Team Up on Wellness

Chicago — April 23

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) and the Illinois State Council of the Society for Human Resources are teaming again for the Third Annual WOWIEs’ Award to recognize excellence in employee wellness programs among Illinois businesses.

The WOWIE Awards honor Illinois-based organizations that take a creative approach to inspire employees to make healthy, active choices during working hours.

In 2011, State Farm Insurance and Robinson Engineering took home top honors in the “More Than 200” and “Less Than 200” employee categories.

Workplace wellness programs have been shown to be effective and contribute to a company’s bottom line. A $1 investment in wellness programs saves $3 in health care costs, according to the Wellness Council of America. For businesses, there is much at stake, according to Donna Rogers, director of the ILSHRM. She cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control that attributes more than 75 percent of employers’ health care costs and productivity losses to employee lifestyle choices.

A Duke University Study found a correlation between a worker’s body mass index (BMI) and the amount of money spent on worker’s compensation programs claims for that worker with costs approaching $51,000 for obese workers compared to $7,500 for workers with normal or average weight.

Criteria for the awards were developed by a team of ILSHRM and BCBSIL wellness experts. According to Rogers, to be recognized for a WOWIE award, organizations must develop and implement a measurable, easy-to-follow program to achieve the recognition criteria. Initiatives must be ongoing and in place for 30 days prior to the date of submission.

The WOWIE Award program has Silver, Gold and Platinum categories. The Silver award will be given to organizations that demonstrate a solid foundation for success. The Gold award is given to select worksites/organizations that meet the Silver criteria, as well as organizations that develop comprehensive programs producing results.

These programs are strategic and aligned with the organization’s mission, vision and values. The Platinum award recognizes organizations with well-defined and well-executed worksite wellness programming, and who meet the following criteria:

• Offer employees physical activity support.
• Increase health eating options at work.
• Promote a wellness culture.
• Employ a minimum of 5 people.
• Offer a variety of physical activities for employees.

Companies that achieve any level of WOWIE award recognition will receive:

• An official recognition letter from ILSHRM and BCBSIL.
• A recognition plaque for display.
• Recognition on ILSHRM and BCBSIL program website.
• Recognition by ILSHRM and BCBSIL at local events and in communication materials supporting the recognition program.

Deadline for submission is May 31. Winners will be announced at ILSHRM’s Annual Meeting in August.

Source: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois