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Remedy for success Featured

10:34am EDT February 28, 2006
As health care costs continue to rise at an alarming rate, many employers are looking for ways to curb costs.

At Moen Inc., management realized the company already had a valuable asset that could contribute to reducing health care expenses and creating a healthier work environment.

Moen, a manufacturers of faucets and other plumbing accessories, had installed a fitness center about 10 years ago when its headquarters was renovated. And although it got used, the company realized a few years ago that it needed to maximize the center’s potential, says Chad Hanzlicek, manager of the Moen Wellness Program.

“(Ten years ago), it was really a forward-thinking idea to have a fitness center on site,” says Hanzlicek. “It was more of just a soft benefit when they opened up the doors — they’re big into retention of employees. The last two years, we’ve really taken a look at reducing absenteeism, increasing presenteeism and taking a look at how many [health care and sick leave] dollars we’re spending for [fitness center] members versus nonmembers.

About $4 to $5 of health care costs were spent on members versus $45 to $47 for nonmembers. That’s a substantial difference between the two — an eye-opening difference.”

So Moen began shifting the focus away from the center as a retention tool to it being a tool for productivity and health care savings.

The company contracts out to L&T Health and Fitness, and Hanzlicek, to run the center and its fitness programs. Hanzlicek is charged with building membership and creating fitness programs and contests to motivate Moen employees to get active.

“Membership is around 285 right now, which is about 56 percent of the 500 employees at this Moen site,” says Hanzlicek. “This is the highest it has ever been.”

To encourage Moen employees to take part, the center offers programs with prizes and incentives for participation. Some are team-based to encourage peer motivation, while others are directed at those who just don’t have 30 minutes to 60 minutes a day to exercise. Another program is aimed at those who don’t like to exercise at all.

“There’s a reason why we don’t have everybody in the building, because (some people) are adverse to activity or other factors,” he says. “So we’re trying to give them a way to increase their health.”

The Moen Wellness Program recently implemented a “Quick Fit” program that encourages people to do just 15 minutes of physical activity a day.

“You do three minutes of strength training, two minutes of stretching and 10 minutes of cardio, which could be just walking on a treadmill,” says Hanzlicek. “They can do it at home. They don’t need to come to the wellness center to do it. And they’re still going to see benefits because the research shows time and time again that just with small strides, you can make big differences, and that’s what we’re trying to tell everybody.

“They don’t need to get 60 minutes a day. That’s outrageous for most people. In as little as 15 minutes a day, they can still see decreased blood pressure, decreased heart rate, decreased body fat percentages and things of that nature.”

HOW TO REACH: Moen Inc., www.moen.com