The Elyria headquarters of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC received a 2013 Healthy Ohio Healthy Worksite Gold Level Award from the Ohio Department of Health, which recognized the company’s ongoing commitment to employee health and wellness. Bendix was one of just six Ohio businesses to receive a Gold Award, the highest honor. In all, 40 Ohio businesses received Healthy Worksite awards, presented during the 2013 Health Action Council Annual Conference on February 20. The Healthy Worksite award was the seventh for Bendix, which was named in the Medium Business category.
“Bendix is grateful for this recognition. We feel it speaks to our long-standing commitment to promoting a culture of health in the organization – and, in turn, to our employees and their families enthusiastically embracing that culture,” said Kimberly Little-Reed, Bendix vice president of human resources, North America. “Our focus is on doing everything we can to make the healthy choice the easy choice for our workers and for their families. And we’re pleased to know that in making strides as a company, we are contributing to a healthier and more productive Ohio.”
Bendix’s commitment to strengthening wellness efforts in Elyria began in the late 1990s with the adoption of an on-site fitness center, an annual corporate-wide health fair, and incentives for employees living active lifestyles. The Elyria headquarters declared itself a tobacco-free property in 2012 and also offers tobacco cessation programs free of charge, as well as discounts on insurance for tobacco-free employees and dependents. Additional offerings include personal health coaching for all employees, as well as annual blood screenings, physicals, mammograms, and prostate exams for employees and spouses free of charge.
For the second year in a row, Bendix did not pass along any health insurance cost increases to its employees because of its healthier workforce. In addition, its healthcare costs are continuing to perform better than insurance benchmarks.
These efforts and many others are part of Bendix Be Healthy, which consists of five core strategies: weight management, physical activity, tobacco cessation, life management, and prevention and early detection. The company’s monthly Wellness Workshops provide continuing education on a variety of topics within these core areas of wellness programming.
More than 73 percent of Bendix’s Elyria employees and spouses are engaged in some aspect of the organization’s wellness program. In 2013, 86 percent of the 600 Bendix Elyria employees participated in personal health coaching sessions with a registered nurse; 87 percent of employees were eligible for the 2014 insurance premium discounts for participating in the Employee Wellness Program; and 82 percent of employees, plus 263 spouses, participated in annual blood screenings.
“We are thrilled when we are able to engage families as well as employees,” said Gwen Scott, manager – benefits and work life programs at Bendix. “We use our Bendix Be Healthy Facebook Page and Bendix Family Connection website to help communicate all of the wellness activities, and we also moved our Family Health Fest from the fall to the summer to better encourage attendance by families.”
The Bendix Employee Wellness Program offers employees an annual personal health assessment, along with free access to resources and counselors, through their insurance carrier. As an incentive to maintain an active lifestyle, Bendix also offers up to two days of paid time off per year for employees who perform 45 minutes of activity at least five days per week, following American College of Sports Medicine guidelines. The incentives and health assessment are designed to help each individual develop a personal health plan involving physical activity and improved nutrition.
To help aid healthy choices in the office, the Elyria leadership invested in a new cafeteria, the Bistro at Bendix, in 2012. The refreshed menu features made-to-order healthy dishes, including pizza from a brick oven, with whole grain dough, breads and pasta, along with low-sodium cheeses, soups, and a fresh salad bar every day. Seventy-five percent of the Bistro’s menu items and all internal company catering abide by the organization’s established nutrition guidelines.
Healthier food options complement an indoor employee walking path and weight loss programs. A private lactation room is also available for new mothers returning to work, and there are multiple avenues for engaging in physical activity. Some managers organize meetings in the cardio room, where employees can sit on exercise balls.
The company also promotes active lifestyles by healthy competition within its workforce. In late January 2014, the Elyria site launched a “Walk To The Plants” exercise campaign in which employees formed teams to achieve weekly walking goals. To date, the 160 people who are participating in this event have walked a total of nearly 25,000 miles, taking them cross country via a stop at each of the Bendix manufacturing locations.
“We are proud of our wellness efforts, but it is even more gratifying to see the positive and sustaining changes in our employees’ well-being,” Scott said. “Each year, we see fewer employees with unfavorable health indicators, including high levels of bad cholesterol, and we look forward to further growing our wellness programs and continuing to inspire enduring and positive lifestyle choices in our employees and families.”