NORWALK, Conn., Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- HEI Hotels & Resorts (HEI), a socially responsible investor and employer in the hospitality industry, last week announced the success of its associate wellness program and the launch of new company-wide associate wellness initiatives, which includes a variety of health and wellness programs that are free and accessible to all HEI associates across all of the company's 42 hotels and corporate offices. The new initiatives are part of the company's continued focus on leading the industry in associate wellness and, consistent with HEI's culture, creating a higher standard of excellence. The new programs are being offered by health service company Cigna in collaboration with HEI. All elements of these programs are available for free to every associate, even if the associates are not enrolled in HEI's insurance program.
"We are a company of people, and there is nothing more important than our associates' health and well-being," said HEI CEO Gary Mendell during the announcement. "Health and wellness spans so many things in life and touches so much. It affects us at home, and at work. It affects our relationships, the quality of the time we have with our families, and the choices and opportunities we have in the future. We achieved huge success in improving associate wellness in 2010 and 2011, which is truly wonderful. With the new 2012 initiatives, we are committed to providing the support, resources, and encouragement to allow our associates to achieve even greater wellness in 2012," Mendell said.
HEI's success in improving associate wellness in 2010 and 2011 was enormous. To facilitate awareness and allow associates to change behavior or seek necessary healthcare, HEI increased its focus on preventative wellness and screenings. In 2011, HEI associates had a health risk assessment participation rate of nearly 95 percent, compared to the Cigna average of 13 percent. As a result of the preventative wellness plans and screenings, 39 percent of higher risk participants took steps and achieved a lower risk rating in 2011, a key milestone in improving overall wellness.
In collaboration with Cigna, the new wellness programs are being offered for free and include the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), the Lifestyle Management Programs (LMP), and an online health risk assessment. The Employee Assistance Program is a comprehensive solution that matches associates with resources and assistance related to a portfolio of issues – from physical health issues such as addiction or sleep disorders, to mental health issues such as grief/loss or post-trauma stress, to personal issues like assistance with adoption or divorce counseling. Participants also get 24 hours a day / 7 days a week telephone and internet assistance and up to three face-to-face counseling sessions. The Lifestyle Management Programs (LMP) help associates through 12 weeks of telephone and online coaching through issues like weight management, smoking cessation, or stress management. The free health risk assessment is an online tool which surveys and measures current health and creates an action plan for the user.
In addition, HEI has encouraged associates to make voluntary "Commitments to Action" for their own health. In a recent company-wide survey, 86 percent of associates said they were willing and want to make a change in their lifestyle, to improve their future health. With the goal of 3000 associates making a "Commitment to Action" to better their health and wellness through direct action and lifestyle change, the new wellness initiatives are designed to help associates achieve their personal health and wellness goals.
HEI is already making great strides in achieving the voluntary "Commitment to Action" for 2012. Associate Gerry Mendoza said he is committed to quitting smoking because his children asked him to: "'Pa, can you stop smoking please? It's a new year.' So I said, 'Okay, let's give it another try.'" Associate Vickie Motter, decided to take control of her own health decisions in order to fight diabetes: "I just came to the realization that, Vickie, you know, you need to take control of your life, and you're the only one that can do it, and you have to do it for yourself."
HEI has a wellness committee that includes associates from across all HEI properties and corporate office. This committee is in charge of driving the company's and its associates' continued focus on leading the industry in associate wellness. The committee is also responsible for forming and enacting company-wide challenges as well as selecting associates for a Quarterly Health Award.
About HEI Hotels & Resorts
HEI Hotels & Resorts, headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut with 42 properties in 16 states, creates socially responsible investment and employment opportunities through the ownership and/or management of real estate portfolios of upscale destination properties throughout the United States. HEI takes a holistic approach to creating value for its investors and employees by setting the highest standards across all aspects of hotel management and operation and focusing on the central principles of excellence and continuous improvement. HEI prides itself on some of the highest employee satisfaction scores in the hospitality industry, fuels local economic prosperity by investing in communities and is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability.
For more information about HEI, visit the company's website, www.heihotels.com.
 "Cigna" is a registered service mark. All products and services are provided exclusively through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation.
SOURCE HEI Hotels & Resorts