If employees really are your "most valuable asset," then read this issue of Best Practices. We will take you to two companies that practice what they preach, in terms of looking after the health of their workers.
You can empower your employees, but if they feel lousy physically, it doesn't mean much. So Best Practices will take you to Minnesota and Pennsylvania to visit rotational molder Solar Plastics Inc. and injection molder Plastek Industries Inc. These are companies at the pinnacle of keeping their people feeling well — right at work — even without virus outbreak concerns.
Employees of rotational molder Solar Plastics Inc. in Delano, Minn., now have the option of getting chiropractic care and health consultations at the workplace. Solar has partnered with WorkSiteRight, a division of Northwestern Health Services University in Bloomington, Minn.
The clinic gives preventive care to reduce the potential of worker injuries, lower employee out-of-pocket costs and give them a major benefit.
WorkSiteRight is part of NWHSU's Sweere Center, an organization that helps companies across the country remove barriers to health care. That allows employees to stay on the job and return to work quickly. The alternative: take a day off work and sit in a waiting room. And wait. And wait…
Since 2015, WorkSiteRight has partnered with local chiropractors and employers to open on-site clinics. It's free during working hours. The health providers also educate employees about how to properly lift, perform repetitive motions and sit properly for office work — all with the goal of preventing injuries.
"The battle for talent is very real, and we are always looking for ways to hire the best people and to keep them," Solar Plastics President Sam Rosen said. "A program like WorkSiteRight gives us a leg up over other companies of the same size or even larger to recruit, retain and be an employer of choice."
Factory work can lead to injuries, and that includes the nagging pains felt by many plant workers. They can burn out. And rotomolding, especially, can be physically demanding.
As Rosen said: "The work we do here is hard, and we want to ensure our employees go home feeling as healthy and strong as when they came to work; this is an important part of our culture."
The same is true at Plastek, based in Erie, Pa., and owned by the Prischak family. Employees can see two full-time nurses at plants in Erie and Hamlet, N.C. And it's free to all full-time employees, their spouses and their families — and even for temporary workers! With or without Plastek company insurance, it doesn't matter.
Employees and their families can make appointments with the nurses five days a week, or with an on-site doctor who comes by three days a week.
I've been to Plastek in Erie and have seen the nurses' offices. They give privacy and look just like any doctor's office. You can bring your son or daughter there to get a physical for high school sports. Your spouse has a bad sore throat? In you go!
It's all part of Plastek's Wellness Works program. Employees can earn lower health insurance rates if they participate in Wellness Works, including a physical, health screening, measurement of body mass index and the percentage of body fat and weight, an eye exam, and they get things for quitting smoking and keeping physically fit.
Employees also get discounted gym memberships, free mammograms and screenings for prostate cancer, free flu shots and more.
In 2019, the completion rate of Wellness Works was 57.7 percent, and those employees qualified for a rate premium of 34.5 percent below Plastek's standard rates for 2020.
And Plastek is self-insured, with a self-funded health insurance plan, so premiums increased only 2 percent this year.
"It is very important to Plastek to have a healthy and motivated workforce, and we believe affordable and convenient medical care is important," CEO Dennis Prischak said.
Seeing a nurse at work can have a major impact on a person's life.
"Our staff has seen discoveries made, by individuals who have participated in the program, that would have otherwise gone undiagnosed," said Karen DiLuzio, an LPN and Plastek health and wellness specialist. That can save a life.
And that's the Best Practice of them all.