McCarthy Building Companies

By testimonial

Twenty is the number of wellness awards McCarthy Building Co. has received for its healthiest employer initiatives. Ninety (93% as of the 4/30/2013 report) is the percentage of McCarthy employees who have participated in at least one Vitality activity. Four million dollars is the estimated savings in 2012 as a result of our wellness program. In just a short period of time and with Vitality’s help, McCarthy Building Co., a 150- year-old construction company that is 100% employee owned with offices nationwide, has become a champion for wellness programs.

Vitality spoke with Lisa Sanders, Director, Compensation & Benefits, about their Vitality program and to find the keys to their success.

 VOP: How did you choose a wellness program? Why Vitality?

Lisa: We actually had a wellness program in place before we started Vitality that dates back to 2010. Healthcare claims were going through the roof.  We started looking at what we could do to help contain the costs. We decided to roll out a wellness program based on the feedback.  After year three, we said long-term we really can’t manage this in house so we went out to bid. (We were tracking and doing this all manually.) We started with 10 wellness vendors and narrowed it down to interview four wellness vendors. During the demo with Vitality, our controller walked out of there saying, “Yep, we need to do it. We need to spend that money. I think it will work.”

And so far we’ve been ecstatic with our success. 93% of our people have done at least one activity through Vitality.

Since we introduced wellness in 2010, we’ve seen a steady decline in our health— medical and Rx costs— per covered employee. And we haven’t taken away benefits in fact; we’ve added a few benefits. In 2012, we changed our plan year and did not reset the deductibles and still realized a negative medical trend.

One of the [other] reasons why we selected Vitality is because we shared a lot of the same philosophical values: acknowledging where someone is at and giving them an individual plan to help them meet whatever their goals are and making it rewarding for them to take the right actions. Some of the wellness programs we looked at just focused on physical activity and while we would love everyone to be active, not everyone can be an ironman athlete.

Is your leadership engaged?

Lisa: Our President and COO is an ironman athlete and he feels strongly that people need to take personal accountability for their own health and wellness. We had 82% participation by our VP’s and above. That’s about 85 people. It starts at the top.

In addition, safety is a huge focus. We want our employees to go home safe every night. In the construction industry, there is something trying to prevent that from happening every single day. But it’s not just what you are doing on the job, it’s how you are eating, what is your stress level, how much sleep are you getting, it’s looking at the whole employee.

What results are you most proud of?

Lisa: We have seen an increase in our preventive cancer screenings. We are above bench mark for all of those numbers.  Our large claims, the dollar impact has gone down dramatically. And we know for a fact that we have individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer earlier than they would have been otherwise. From an employee perspective, of course it’s important to catch these things early and from a health claims perspective, it is substantially cheaper to pay for something that is a stage one or two than it is a three or four.

 Looking ahead, what’s your greatest challenge?

Lsia: Probably the biggest one is that lots of our employees don’t sit at their desks. They are on a job site and they may not have access to a computer for days or weeks at a time. So that was one challenge we had with the Health Risk Assessment.

We also had to overcome the concept that we would get information about an employee and use that in a negative way. And I think that’s why we are seeing participation increase; people are now seeing that we are not using it in a negative way in any shape or form.  They are starting to take advantage of the resources.

The great thing about Vitality is all the information and all the different ways you can earn points. You can talk to ten different people and all ten have done different things to earn points through Vitality.

What have you liked most about Vitality?

Lisa: One of the things I really like about Vitality is that it is continuously evolving. It doesn’t stay stagnant. And given the pace of technology, it’s quite impressive. We’ve only been with Vitality a short while now and we’ve already seen several new programs introduced: mental wellness— which we really liked, some additional nutrition classes— and those are really well done, too. Also, I love Vitality Squares. It forces people to go back on the website at least once a month and that’s what we want.

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