"We wanted to do something more than just a one-up event but we wanted to do it in a way that would create its own demand," Kern says. "We didn't want to initially start off with a lot of bells and whistles but we did want to have something in front of the people on a more regular basis."
Starting in the first quarter of 2005, Henkel began hosting a series of quarterly wellness presentations to spotlight health issues facing employees -- smoking, diet and weight management, and stress in the workplace. The fourth-quarter health fair will reprise those themes and feature other health and wellness information as well.
At the first presentation, Dr. Asif Ali of Community Health Partners' Avon Lake Health Center offered a free smoking cessation program to three shifts of Henkel employees. Following a 20-minute presentation, Ali responded to audience questions, then answered individual questions that employees were reluctant to ask in front of their peers.
"It's more of a holistic approach. It's not only targeted at smokers, although that's the primary target audience," Kern says. "It's for anybody who smokes or knows somebody who smokes and perhaps wants to try to take some action to address that."
The company got employees on board with the clinic by putting flyers in their company mailboxes and posting information on company electronic bulletin boards.
"We also have some regular meetings within the company, and it was announced at all of those, as well," Kern says. "It definitely was well-communicated within the building."
Ali provided handouts with detailed information, and a registered nurse was on hand for two hours after each clinic to answer basic health questions.
"(Smoking is) one of the most controllable health hazards we have in society today, and it's one that merits ongoing effort to try to influence people to take the right actions to stop that habit or certainly influence their family and friends to do the same," Kern says.
In addition to helping employees kick the habit, a future benefit of the wellness programs may be a reduction in employee insurance rates.
"If we can generate some regular participation and/or interest in all or any of these three topics, we can start aggregating information about people who quit smoking or people who improved their dietary habits," Kern says. "We certainly would like to try to determine some way of monitoring that and ultimately seeing if it does have a positive impact on our insurance rates.
"We would like for it to have a positive influence but we also know that would be literally several years down the road."
Although it's too soon to tell what effects these programs will have on Henkel employees and their extended community, Kern hopes the programs will be so successful that the company will be able to ramp it up in 2006.
"If we get a lot of proactive participation and measurable interest in it, then we may take it up to a different level next year," he says.
HOW TO REACH:
Henkel Consumer Adhesives, (800) 321-0253 or www.henkelca.com