A Texas Bank Discovers Wellness Pays Dividends in the Workplace

Have you heard of Wellness Incentives?  Does your employer offer any?  Did you know that employers save money with those incentives?  Want to know how?  Here’s what we learned from Amarillo National Bank (ANB):  “We pay them to work out,” Senior Vice President William Ware said. “If they meet certain goals and certain fitness targets, they’ll get paid a bonus and get a half-day off.”

According to an article in Amarillo Globe News, “In the first quarter this year, Amarillo National Bank paid almost $51,600 in incentives and awarded 216 paid half-days off to 280 workers who used the bank’s health clubs, participated in fitness assessments or did both, according to an ANB report…While ANB had a 5 percent annual increase in its total 2012 health plan cost, it is seeing a 6 percent annual decrease in its average claims per employee, according to a first-quarter update Ware provided.  Average claims per ANB health-club participant stand 30 percent lower than those of a nonparticipant, the report said.”

ANB found that “Simply providing fitness centers at the main branch location wasn’t enough, Ware said.  The question became, ‘How do you encourage people to use them?’ he said.  So the bank added incentives, but tied those perks to results, ANB Wellness Director Joseph Callahan said.”

“Everybody has an equal opportunity (to earn incentives),” Callahan said. “We just want to get everybody involved and buying into what we’re doing.”

The same article states that “Almost 230 employees received fitness assessments in the first quarter, collectively reaching a 2.5 percent decrease in body-fat percentage, when compared with the same quarter last year.  The group also made gains in aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and overall fitness scores, ANB information said.  More bank employees also underwent cholesterol and other screenings to “buy down” their health insurance deductibles, Callahan said.  ‘A lot of times, people just don’t go to the doctor for those regular health screenings,’ Callahan said. ‘They don’t know they have high cholesterol.  We want a healthy culture. We want to create a place where people see this as a benefit to work in a company that cares about your health.”

And congratulations are in order: “This year, ANB’s program gained Fit-Friendly Workplace Platinum Award recognition from the American Heart Association and it took Well Workplace Gold honors from the Wellness Council of America in 2012, according to those entities’ websites.  Amarillo National Bank is the only recognized Fit-Friendly company in Amarillo, American Heart Association spokeswoman Rosalyn Mandola said.”

The article closes with this: “Program overhead, salaries and incentives are covered by the bank’s health-care claims savings, Ware said.   ‘To our family, wellness is important,’ he said. ‘I think the biggest difference is that healthy employees are happy employees. Since we’re so customer-service oriented, we want all the employees to feel good because they offer better customer service.  We’ve also seen a boost in morale. People are happier. They’re taking better care of themselves.”

So, what are your takeaways from this article?  Please share them in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.

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