2013 Healthiest Employers: Citizens Energy Group

Tom Harton
August 15, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

winner OR finalist 500-1,499 EMPLOYEES

logo-citizens-168.gifThe latest twist in Citizens Energy Group’s well-tested Healthy Citizens wellness program uses the same technology found in any smart phone.

The company is awaiting delivery of its first accelerometers, devices that take pedometers a step further. The accelerometer doesn’t just measure steps, it measures movement of all kinds, and it’s what Citizens will use to further monitor the collective activity level of its 1,200 employees.

With the data Citizens collects it can further fine-tune its 10-year-old wellness program, which, in partnership with Spectrum Health, offers a full menu of activities and education meant to make a difference in the lives of Citizens’ employees. Employees can use the results in conjunction with Spectrum health coaches to establish and reach individual goals.

Regardless of the offerings and incentives, employees come up with their own reasons for getting involved.

For Ann McIver, Citizens’ director of environmental stewardship, the motivator was her approaching 45th birthday.

She’s been with Citizens since late 2000 and has regularly participated in health screenings to get information about cholesterol, blood pressure and the like. But in January this year she decided to get more involved.

“I made a commitment to lose 45 pounds by my 45th birthday” in November, she said. McIver and a coworker formed a two-person team to participate in Citizens’ Biggest Loser weight-loss challenge. They were among 89 participants who safely lost a collective 625 pounds in eight weeks.

And McIver is one of 46 who signed up for a follow-up program, called Biggest Improver, in which employees are supported in their quest to keep the weight off. Those who meet their goals get a pair of walking or running shoes.

McIver’s personal goal is already met. She’s lost almost 50 pounds, and her November birthday is still months away. Now she’s involved in Citizens’ Healthy Peddler program. She’s ridden the equivalent of the 150 miles it takes to get to Hammond. Now she’s on her way to St. Louis.

She logs her miles, in part because she knows her health coach will be looking for the results. As for her ramped-up participation in Healthy Citizens, McIver said “I saw the program as a way to get the encouragement and motivation I needed.”

The decade-long process of changing Citizens’ wellness culture was hard work, and the success of the program is due to Citizens’ recognition that wellness isn’t a “one size fits all” proposition, said Russ Clemens, Citizens’ manager of compensation and benefits. Whether its Zumba classes, walking or biking programs or involvement in the Indiana Sports Corp. Corporate Challenge, Citizens prides itself on offering programs that get families involved and fit a variety of tastes and lifestyles.

Employees have responded: more than 95 percent expected to participate in this year’s health screenings. That’s up from 92 percent last year, when results showed that 16 percent of employees had reduced cholesterol, 19 percent had blood pressure improvements and tobacco use decreased 32 percent.

Citizens offers seven different corporate gym memberships, and 27 percent of employees take advantage of that program. Twenty percent of employees are actively engaged in a coaching program to improve their health. And in the last year, Citizens’ cost trend, average claims and cost per claim have all dropped for participants in on-site and telephonic health coaching.•


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.