A guide to School Employees' Well-Being

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1 A guide to School Employees' Well-Beig Backgroud The public school systems i the Uited States employ more tha 6.7 millio people. This large workforce is charged with oe of the atio s critical tasks to prepare youg people to become successful ad productive citizes. Public school systems are i a uique positio; they ot oly have the ability to ifluece the actios ad beliefs of their employees, but also those of the childre they serve. A recet study by the Commissio to Build a Healthier America foud a direct correlatio betwee educatio ad health status. 1 Those who have more years of educatio exhibited better overall health tha those with fewer years of educatio. The commissioers also reported that educatio policy is health policy ad by positively ifluecig the behaviors ad kowledge of educators ad studets, America ca expect a overall improvemet i health status i the ext 10 years. Why Targeted Welless Programs for Employees of School Systems? Numerous studies o the health of the workforce idicate that a sigificat umber of workers i the Uited States have chroic diseases ad other health coditios. May of these coditios are ot oly prevetable, but also iterfere with work productivity. 2 By igorig the health of their employees, school districts put a valuable asset of the atio's schools at risk. This asset has the potetial to either improve or dimiish studets learig. Cosider these facts: I the U.S., approximately two-thirds of all deaths of adults aged 25 years ad older ca be attributed to cardiovascular disease, cacer ad diabetes. 2 Metal disorders are the third most limitig health coditio i terms of performig major daily activities followig cacer ad stroke percet of health care expeditures are attributed to modifiable health risks icludig high stress, tobacco use, body weight, physical activity level ad utritioal habits. 3 Stress is the oe health coditio that research has show to be promiet i teachers. Itese stress leads to low employee morale ad high turover /11 1

2 Establishig a School Employee Welless Program Welless programs i the workforce have take a leadig role i helpig people maitai healthy lifestyles. A well-developed employee welless program provides idividuals with a itegrated approach to improvig their health, creates a eviromet that reduces exposure to health threats, ad icorporates health promotio ito the culture of the school systems. At CIGNA, we believe that by keepig school employees healthy, the school systems will beefit from lower expeses ad higher productivity. Ivestmets i the improvemet of health reduce the developmet of chroic health coditios, thereby reducig the total costs for medical, pharmacy, behavioral, detal, visio ad disability. Four Strategies to Implemet a School Employee Welless Program I order to establish a successful welless program i the school systems, CIGNA suggests that the followig four major steps be implemeted: 4 1. Lay the Foudatio G e t t h e Suppor t of School Leaders Talk to key idividuals (e.g., School Board, Huma Resource/Beefits departmet, stakeholders, bargaiig etities, etc.) to lear the issues that are of most cocer to the school admiistratio (e.g., health care costs, abseteeism, turover, disability claims, etc.). D e termie School Distric t Co r e Beliefs A Core Beliefs sessio will help defie maagemet s guidig priciples related to employee health beefits, such as: their (the employer s) role, the health service parter s (CIGNA s) role, cost ad quality, icetives, outside activities ad other strategic areas. E stablish a We lless Co m m it tee Recruit represetatives from all areas ad levels of the school system. Choose people with a variety of skills, such as evet orgaizers, motivators, data aalysts ad writers. Choose a leader for the committee who uderstads maagemet's priorities ad the visio of the team, ad ca itegrate the two. The Huma Resources/Beefits departmet should be represeted o the welless committee as they are able to provide iformatio about the beefit pla ad resources. 2

3 D o a N e e d s A s s e s s m e t t o G u i d e Yo u r E f f o r t s A key characteristic of successful welless programs is that they are set up thoughtfully ad logically, with a focus o collectig measurable data to determie what employees are iterested i, ad areas of opportuity for health improvemet. Examples of data to iclude whe determiig busiess eeds: o Health assessmets o Health screeig data o Medical/health care claims o Orgaizatioal assessmet o Short-term ad log-term disability ad Workers' Compesatio claims o Turover/retetio rates o Exit iterviews Data to iclude whe determiig what employees wat: o Olie survey questioaire o Patters of utilizatio of previous welless offerigs o Focus groups with employees from differet departmets, locatios ad levels of hierarchy 2. Pla for Success Now that the ecessary iformatio has bee collected, the welless team will eed to assess the data, use it to desig a strategic pla, ad idetify measurable goals ad objectives. Cr e ate a Writ te Operat ig Pl a This pla will help develop a set of measurable goals ad objectives that ca be used to quatify program successes. This pla should iclude the followig: o Program goals o Specific objectives o Implemetatio strategy, timelies ad persos resposible o Methods of commuicatio ad promotio o Budget o Evaluatio pla 3

4 Choose Appropriate Ac t ivities There are umerous activities that are appropriate for a school welless program. The particular eviromet ad culture will determie the methods that are best, ad the committee may fid that multiple chaels may help reach the most employees. The followig are some examples of programs that ca be offered i school settigs: o Educatio, awareess ad support programs o Prevetive health screeigs (blood pressure, Body Mass Idex, etc.) o Lifestyle or behavior chage programs o Disease maagemet programs o Stress maagemet o Physical activity o Demostratios (healthy cookig, fitess, relaxatio, etc.) o Safety ad prevetio B o ost Par t icipat io The key to ruig a successful welless program is a effective method of promotig the welless activities ad evets. The followig examples are importat to esure employee participatio at evets: o Get the active, public support of maagers at all levels o Implemet a strategic icetive program o Use multiple meas of commuicatio ad repeat the message ofte o Make participatio easy ad coveiet o Most importatly, make it fu ad simple! 3. Build a Culture of Well-Beig Make welless part of the school system s culture. Creatig a healthier workplace ca be a challege. These steps are keys to success: Top maagemet should promietly proclaim that health is a importat value ad resposibility for the orgaizatio ad its employees. Hold maagers at all levels accoutable for facilitatig a healthy work settig ad reward them for success. Implemet ad eforce policies that support healthy practices. Implemet policies that reduce stress ad icrease job satisfactio where feasible. Provide opportuities for exercise durig breaks, ad before ad after work, such as a walkig or joggig path ad luchtime walkig or ruig groups. Thoroughly oriet ew employees to all aspects of the welless program. 4

5 4. Evaluate A sig of a successful welless program is its ability to adjust to the chagig eeds of the target audiece. Periodic, objective evaluatio of the welless program is a importat aspect of a successful program. It is also the time for the committee to ot oly look at the methods that were the most or least successful, but also a time to determie the most effective way to utilize resources, reach more employees ad measure the impact of welless o health ad health care spedig. Summary A Guide to School Employees' Well-Beig is a tool that ca be valuable i developig a school employee welless program ad buildig a culture of health ad well-beig. E stablishig the We lless Pr o g ram Icludes: Layig the Foudatio Get the support of seior maagemet Determie school district core beliefs Establish a welless committee Perform a eeds assessmet Plaig for Success Create a writte operatig pla Choose appropriate activities Boost participatio Buildig a Culture of Well-Beig Cosistetly Evaluatig ad Improvig the Program Visit the well at for additioal tools ad resources for Buildig a Culture of Well-Beig. R e s o u r c e s : 1. Commissio to Build a Healthier America Briefig. 15, May Washigto, DC. 2. Directors of Health Promotio ad Educatio (2007). School Employee Welless: A Guide for Protectig the Assets of Our Natio's Schools. Retrieved o April 1st, 2010 from 3. CIGNA Corporatio (2008). Prohofsky, J. Creatig a Culture of Welless. How to Motivate Employees to Chage Eve if They Are t Sure How. Retrieved o April 23rd, CIGNA Corporatio (2010). The Well Source of health iformatio for you ad your employees. Retrieved o April 30th, 2010 from CIGNA ad the Tree of Life logo are a registered service mark of CIGNA Itellectual Property, Ic., licesed for use by CIGNA Corporatio ad its operatig subsidiaries. All products ad services are provided exclusively by such operatig subsidiaries ad ot by CIGNA Corporatio. Such operatig subsidiaries iclude CIGNA Health Maagemet, Ic, CIGNA Behavioral Health, Ic. ad vielife Limited. All models are used for illustrative purposes oly / CIGNA

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