2013 Healthiest Employers: Borshoff

Tom Harton
August 15, 2013
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winner OR finalist 2-99 EMPLOYEES

logo-borshoff-258.gifBorshoff’s wellness program is called “The Good Life.” Leave it to an advertising/public relations firm to brand its fitness initiative. But call it what you will, Borshoff’s program is making a mark at the 50-employee firm.

Kassie Mills, an account manager who spearheads the wellness initiative for Borshoff, said the name is a reflection of the program’s holistic approach. “Everyone’s journey is different,” said Mills, noting that there’s more to wellness than hitting the gym.

For Holly Havener it all started with the free pedometers that were handed out when the program started about four years ago. Logging a certain number of steps per month is one of the things employees can do to get $50 a month shaved off their health insurance premium. That financial incentive and some heart issues a close relative was experiencing motivated Havener, 40, to start moving her feet.

After high school she got out of the habit of walking any significant distance. That has changed, to say the least. By early this year, Havener was walking the equivalent of nine miles a day and had lost more than 65 pounds.

She hit those lofty marks by setting and achieving “step goals.” She started by parking in the outer lot at the grocery store, and progressed to walking to the store, walking to get a haircut and pacing while talking on the phone. “It’s become part of my life in a way that I never thought it would,” said Havener.

Last spring she began working with her family doctor to coordinate her diet and her fitness goals. While she’s expanded her own program beyond the workplace, she credits Borshoff management and coworkers for creating an environment that supports good health.

Borshoff’s program started thanks to a convergence of events. Company leadership was considering starting a program as a way to control the agency’s health insurance costs. Another group of employees was investigating the idea of having a yoga instructor come to the office. Meanwhile, Mills, the account exec and self-described health enthusiast who ended up leading the program, was noticing some unhealthy habits, like doughnuts at staff meetings.

When Mills took the idea of a wellness program to management, they were already onboard. And with the help of Borshoff’s outside vendor, American Health & Wellness Group, the program has become a game changer for the firm.

Employees get corporate membership rates at a gym located in Borshoff’s downtown Indianapolis building. There are semi-annual biometric screenings and health assessments, yearly flu immunizations and personalized web portals. If employees don’t like the web resources that are offered, they are free to use others, such as MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople, Mills said.

Mills is actively involved in planning regular wellness seminars that happen on company time. She surveys staff to find out what topics they are interested in and reviews a collective biometric report to find out what the employee group as a whole needs to work on. Between 25 and 30 people typically participate, she said.

The key to making the seminars a success is to make them interactive and somewhat unique. “You want to make sure they aren’t things you can just find by going to Google,” Mills said. One of the most popular seminars this year was a session about sleep. “Sleep is more scientific than I realized,” Mills said.

Attending a seminar and logging steps-per-month are just a few of the ways employees can earn points toward the $50 monthly health-premium discount. Logging meals and/or workouts, maintaining a gym membership, joining a diet program such as Weight Watchers and participating in a community walk/run are other paths toward what could top out at a $600-a-year premium savings.•


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