BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Nov 19, 2012) - Five of the Birmingham-area's most prominent employers are borrowing a page from the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn University Tigers' playbooks. They're stepping it up as part of the third annual "Iron Bowl" activity challenge, sponsored by Virgin HealthMiles. These employers, including BBVA Compass, Children's of Alabama, EBSCO, Protective Life and Regions Financial, know that an active, healthy workforce is good for business productivity. Data shows the overall health of our nation's workers continues to decline. These employers are taking steps to reverse that trend by providing programs that help employees make sustainable healthy behavior changes. With the support of the Virgin HealthMiles program, employees from each company will take as many steps as possible and use their pedometers to track their activity during the three-week challenge.
The "Iron Bowl" Challenge rules are simple: employees take as many steps as possible from November 19 through December 7 to help their team to victory. The participants will use the HealthMiles program's tools to track their daily progress throughout the challenge. The winning company will receive the Iron Bowl trophy, plus local bragging rights. What's more, participating employees will receive special HealthMiles bonuses for reaching certain challenge milestones.
"Our five 'Iron Bowl' participating employers are leading the way when it comes to creating a workplace culture of health," said David Coppins, President, Client Services and Member Engagement of Virgin HealthMiles. "Challenges like the 'Iron Bowl' are proven to motivate employees to get active and engaged in good health. I wish each of our challenge participants the best of luck. Only one company will take home the Iron Bowl prize. But all these organizations and their employees will benefit from increased daily activity levels, which has a direct impact on overall health."
What the Iron Bowl Participants Had to Say
- BBVA COMPASS: "BBVA Compass employees have responded very enthusiastically to the Virgin HealthMiles program since we launched it over a year ago," said Jim Heslop, Chief Human Resources Executive, BBVA Compass. "We're a very active group, always eager to take on a challenge, and I know our employees are going to be ready to show what they can do in the Iron Bowl Challenge."
- CHILDREN'S OF ALABAMA: "As a provider of pediatric health care, we believe it's essential for our own employees to be committed to healthy lifestyles and set a positive example for our young patients and their families," said Doug Dean, Chief Human Resources Officer, Children's of Alabama. "In addition, there are demonstrable employee productivity payoffs for companies that aggressively promote health and wellness, so it's clearly of strategic business value. Children's employees are always up for a challenge and they're very excited about the added competition this year. The opportunity to earn bonus HealthMiles is always a motivator for our staff, especially during the Iron Bowl Challenge."
- EBSCO: "EBSCO cares about its employees," said Brian McDermott, Vice President and General Manager, Corporate Communications for EBSCO. "We want our employees healthy, fit and happy. And the beautiful thing is, that aligns with what's good for business. Our Virgin HealthMiles program makes it easy and fun for people to get and stay healthy. EBSCO is known for excellence in everything it does, including supporting employee health. As the reigning Iron Bowl champs, we'll be taking this same approach to this year's Challenge."
- PROTECTIVE LIFE: "Our commitment to wellness over the past 25 years has made a big difference for our employees," said Scott Adams, Chief Human Resources Officer for Protective Life. "Employee health is core to our culture and we are always trying to find ways to make healthy habits easy and enjoyable for employees. This is why, as one of the original Iron Bowl founders and longtime Virgin HealthMiles client, we're excited about this year's competition. With five companies participating, the competition is strong, but by taking it 'one step at a time,' we're confident we will come out ahead."
- REGIONS FINANCIAL: "Regions kicked off an employee health initiative in early 2009," said Chris Glaub, Vice President, Corporate Benefits for Regions. "We wanted to incent employees to take care of themselves and become more aware of how things like blood pressure and body fat affected their overall health. Virgin HealthMiles helps our people stay on track to become healthier and more active. Because the program encourages people to be physically active, we'll be aware at all times of our standings in the Iron Bowl challenge and ready to win thanks to consistent encouragement."
The winning company in the "Iron Bowl" challenge will be announced on December 14, 2012. Visit the Virgin HealthMiles blog, The Uprising, for final challenge results.
About Virgin HealthMiles
Virgin HealthMiles, part of Sir Richard Branson's famed Virgin Group, provides programs and technologies that engage your workforce in good health. Leveraging Virgin's deep consumer roots, we create compelling, personalized digital health experiences that drive long-term healthy behavior change and employee engagement rates more than three times the industry average. Our range of Pay-for-Prevention™ solutions and program integration capabilities: drive higher awareness and engagement across multiple providers and programs; deliver better measurement and insight into the impact of your investments; and power your overall employee health strategy. Our easy-to-deploy and manage solutions feature a rich array of proven behavior change strategies, including: game mechanics, financial incentives, social networking, and many more. Over 130 industry leaders representing more than 700,000 employees have selected Virgin HealthMiles' award-winning programs for their employees. Learn more at www.virginhealthmiles.com.