MADISON, Wis. (11/17/14)--After first acknowledging that wellness programs can benefit credit union employees, it's now time to learn whether these programs are impacting credit union bottom lines.
In a follow-up to a 2012 paper on the subject of wellness programs at credit unions by the CUNA Human Resources, Training and Development (HR/TD) Council, a new white paper digs in to whether wellness programs make good business sense.
"A Deeper Dive Into Credit Wellness Programs: Are They the Solutions They Were Meant to Be?" features several contributors from the last paper, some of which are used as case studies, to examine the bottom-line effects of these programs and the factors shaping those results.
The paper also discusses:
After examining the case studies, the paper states that participating credit unions have in fact seen bottom-line benefits in health care cost savings, in addition to less absenteeism, greater productivity and reduced turnover because of wellness programs.
For example, Maps CU, Salem, Ore., with $483 million in assets, has experienced a steady decrease in health care claims since 2012, largely thanks to the wellness program it uses.
"Before 2012 and 2013 our claims were 125% of what we expected and one year ago they were 120% of what we expected," said Barbara Cecil, Maps CU human resources director. "By July 2013 they were at 100%, at the end of December at 91%, and by the end of May 2014 they were 66% of expected claims. At our last staff meeting the director of finance thanked the wellness committee for the programs we've rolled out over the last couple of years."
As far as effects on attendance and productivity, the paper calls on the example of Harborstone CU, Tacoma, Wash., with $1.1 billion in assets, which has experienced decreases in health care costs and sick time, which has correlated into a productivity increase.
"We're pushing healthy eating, teaching people how to shop, and we had a 30-day total food makeover challenge," said Bryan Gribble, Harborstone human resources administrator. "People are eating better, feeling better and showing up more."
According to the Credit Union National Association's recently released CU Staff Benefits Report, roughly 15% of credit unions with more than $5 million in assets offer wellness programs, compared with 13% in 2012.
The research found that the most popular programs at credit unions featured campaigns and contests that promoted wellness; overall health promotion; wellness focused newsletters; and health-risk assessments.
These types of activities are found in nearly half of all wellness programs, the research found, and about one half of all credit union employees where these programs are offered participate.