Productivity and Bottom Line Boost with Corporate Weight-loss Initiatives

by: Nichole Gunn May 23, 2011

Corporate wellness programs have been making a splash with organizations big and small. Today’s insight into employee productivity and healthcare costs demonstrates a strong link between a ‘well’ workforce and a company’s bottom line.

One such program that utilizes the healthy workforce strategy is Tangerine Wellness. The program focuses on corporate weight-management and motivates healthy behavior through employee rewards for weight loss and maintenance. And, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Tangerine Wellness kicked it up a notch and partnered with Young America (an engagement and incentive marketing company) to provide workers of Young America and its clients access to the initiative.

Young America offers reward programs as an incentive to help employees lose weight. Structured with a system of checks, points, and pre-paid cards, the program in intended to get workers into their peak weight; this in turn will help the organization to enhance the employees overall health, which in turn will enhance productivity and cut healthcare expenses.

Demonstrating the need for employee weight-management and wellness programs, an October 2010 study by Duke University found the approximate “cost of obesity to be approximately $73.1 billion a year among full-time U.S. employees.” The study metrics involved employee work related absenteeism, presenteeism (the loss of job productivity), and medical expenses.

Associate research professor of global health at the Duke Global Health Institute Eric Finkelstein told the paper, “These findings point to the need to identify cost-effective strategies that employers can offer to reduce obesity rates and costs for employees and families." He added, “Employers should consider both the medical and productivity costs of obesity when thinking about investments in weight management or other wellness programs.”

Finkelstein advised that business leaders motivate a culture of employee fitness by fostering ongoing healthy behaviors through rewards and incentives

Taking strong aim, Chairman and CEO of Tangerine Wellness Aaron Day noted, “We're offering employers the opportunity to pay for performance and results right now.” He added that the weight management program is simple to initiate, simple to follow through with, and has typical participation rates of over 50 percent.

According to the Bigelow Tea Company, ABC (the television network) asked ten Bigelow workers to participate in a corporate weight-loss contest against the Bridgeport Bluefish (a Connecticut baseball team). The participants were required to weigh at least 175 lbs. and had to agree to be weighed weekly. Bigelow’s incentive was a two-month free gym membership to workers who participated.

The results: at the end of the two months, challengers on both teams had weight losses between 13 and 31 pounds. To ensure long-term weight loss maintenance initiatives were implemented.

This is just one of many success stories of the effectiveness of corporate wellness programs.