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Missing Out on Workplace Wellness

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Grocery chains have responded to customers’ increasing interest in healthy foods by expanding their product offerings, encouraging manufacturers to create more choices, and designing nutrition guidance programs.

At the same time, supermarkets face escalating healthcare costs and rising insurance premiums. Consequently, they continue to explore which options help them stay within their benefit budget, provide an appropriate selection from which associates can choose, and identify which offerings will promote employee health.

To assist business in coping with this economic reality, many insurance companies propose customized wellness plans, nutrition and lifestyle coaching as well as other strategies aimed at holding down employee health costs.

While it is understandable that corporations cannot mandate healthy lifestyle choices, insurance premiums are geared more and more toward personal health improvement. So, employees are feeling the consequences of “non-healthy living” in their wallets. But if a grocery store already has a nutrition guidance system, a nurse or nutritionist on staff, in-store pharmacies, educational store tours for diabetics or other initiatives that focus on health, why not design a comprehensive approach that incorporates these existing resources into a strategy that includes educational materials and encouragement for employees?

Such an approach would permit a company to more fully utilize current programs and personnel, contribute to the health improvement process of the organization’s workforce and educate the employee base on the unique, health-related offerings available at their employer. If this additional knowledge enables even a small percent of employees to improve their health, thereby contributing to lower healthcare costs, and engages employees more fully in their work because of enhanced “product knowledge,” it’s curious as to why more supermarket aren’t taking advantage of connecting these two goals.

With Workplace Wellness Week soon here, it seems as if this is a question we should ponder. In fact, you may want to check out an upcoming Business Civic Leadership forum in which Campbell Soup Company and Wegmans Food Markets will participate. The focus is on workplace wellness strategies, trends, challenges and opportunities.

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