Nebraska company enjoys five to one ROI on wellness initiative

Metal-finishing company Lincoln Industries has seen significant improvements after implementing a corporate health and wellness program for its 400 employees, according to CFO magazine.

Nebraska-based Lincoln Industries' employee wellness efforts began more than a decade ago, and have significantly expanded since. Following the hiring of a wellness manager in 2000, the company's corporate wellness initiatives have included instating a tobacco-free campus, implementing a system of quarterly employee physicals and health metrics checks, and providing on-site physical therapists and masseuses. Since 2005, the company has also offered mountain-climbing expeditions on at least an annual basis.

According to Andy Hunzinger, chief financial officer of the company, the corporate wellness program reaps a five-to-one return on investment – including the cost of hiring a wellness staff and providing employee rewards to those who achieve fitness goals.

Hunzinger estimates that Lincoln Industries saves approximately $2 million per year as a result of the program – half of which comes as a result of below average health insurance costs. According to the news source, the company is consistently about $3,000 below the national health insurance average per employee and saves approximately $4,000 per year for every employee who quits smoking. Additionally, Lincoln Industries has also enjoyed lower than average rates of worker absenteeism and turnover.

"We really believe in (wellness), and that's who we are," Hunzinger told the news source.

He credited part of the program's success to the fact that senior management also gets involved in the initiatives, which range from group exercise classes to 12-mile hikes.

"At least once a month, the senior team does some sort of rigorous physical exercise," he said. "Senior leadership buy-in and action are vital. If you're a three-pack-a-day smoker, don't expect your company to be wellness focused."

Elsewhere in the country, Boca Raton, Florida-based NCCI Holdings used an employee incentive program to promote a healthier lifestyle to its workers, according to TCPalm.

As part of an initiative inspired by National Employee Health & Fitness Day, employees were allowed to wear their workout gear to the office, and collected stamps for participating in healthy activities such as using the stairs, taking a group fitness class and choosing a healthy lunch from the company's cafeteria. They then entered a raffle for prizes such as yoga mats, gym bags and sporting goods store gift certificates, the news source reports.