Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Illinois State Council of the Society for Human Resources Team Up to Promote Employee Wellness Contest

Apr 23, 2012, 17:38 ET from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois

WOWIE Awards Program Accepting Entries until May 31

CHICAGO, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amidst a backdrop of national health care reform and a sluggish economy, Illinois businesses continue to seek ways to control health care costs without shifting premium increases onto already overburdened employees.

Employee wellness programs are one strategy that has emerged in the last decade as a potentially positive way to improve employee wellness and productivity while keeping a lid on health care costs.   

Two of Illinois powerhouses- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) and the Illinois State Council of the Society for Human Resources—are teaming again for the Third Annual WOWIEs' Award, to recognize excellence in employee wellness programs among Illinois businesses.

The WOWIE Awards honor Illinois-based organizations or companies that take a creative approach to inspire employees to make healthy, active choices during working hours.

In 2011, State Farm Insurance and Robinson Engineering took home top honors in the More Than 200 and Less Than 200 Employee categories.

Workplace wellness programs have been shown to be effective and contribute to a company's bottom line.  A $1 investment in wellness programs saves $3 in health care costs, according to the Wellness Council of America.  For businesses, there is much at stake, according to Donna Rogers, SPHR, Director of the ILSHRM.  She cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control that attributes more than 75% of employers' health care costs and productivity losses to employee lifestyle choices.

A Duke University Study found a correlation between a worker's body mass index (BMI) and the amount of money spent on worker's compensation programs claims for that worker with costs approaching $51,000 for obese workers compared to $7,500 for workers with normal or average weight.

Criteria for the awards were developed by a team of ILSHRM and BCBSIL wellness experts. According to Rogers, to be recognized for a WOWIE award, organizations must develop and implement a measurable, easy-to-follow program to achieve the recognition criteria. Initiatives must be ongoing and in place for 30 days prior to the date of submission.

 "At Blue Cross Blue Shield, we strive to develop health plans for our employers and their employees that encourage prevention and wellness because we know that healthy workers are productive workers,' said, J. Todd Phillips, sales vice president, BCBSIL.

The WOWIE Award program has Silver, Gold and Platinum categories.  The Silver award will be given to organizations that demonstrate a solid foundation for success. The Gold award is given to select worksites/organizations that meet the Silver criteria, as well as organizations that develop comprehensive programs producing results. These programs are strategic and aligned with the organization's mission, vision and values. The Platinum award recognizes organizations with well-defined and well-executed worksite wellness programming, and who meet the following criteria:

  • Offer employees physical activity support
  • Increase health eating options at work
  • Promote a wellness culture
  • Employ a minimum of 5 people
  • Offer a variety of physical activities for employees

Companies that achieve any level of WOWIE award recognition will receive:

  • An official recognition letter from ILSHRM and BCBSIL
  • A recognition plaque for display
  • Recognition on ILSHRM and BCBSIL program Web site
  • Recognition by ILSHRM and BCBSIL at local events and in communication materials supporting the recognition program.

Applications can be found on the left side of this page:

Deadline for submission is May 31, 2012. Winner will be announced at ILSHRM's Annual Meeting in August.

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois