SOURCE: Viridian Health Management

Viridian Health Management

October 02, 2012 14:02 ET

Viridian Health Management Provides Worksite Health Best Practices for Employers to Overcome Barriers in Communicating With Diverse Workforces at 2012 HERO Forum

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - October 02, 2012) -  Diversity makes good business sense in today's globalized world. Having an ethnically and culturally diverse workforce can create a rich corporate culture and contribute to business success on many different levels. However, as many companies increasingly adopt programs designed to support healthy behaviors, decrease healthcare costs and reduce the rate of chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, communicating workplace health initiatives to diverse workforces is not a one-size-fits-all strategy.

Viridian Health Management, an integrative healthcare services provider focused on improving individual and population health through comprehensive health management programs, will be speaking at the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Forum in Minneapolis, Minn., on October 2-4, 2012. As an industry-leading organization dedicated to best-practice worksite health programs and also a distinguished member of HERO, Viridian's President and CEO Brenda Schmidt and Vice President of Business Development Marissa Hudson will lead one of eight innovators workshops to share valuable insight and provide attendees and employers with forward-thinking communication strategies to successfully develop, implement and maintain comprehensive worksite health programs for diverse workforces.

"In order to achieve optimal program outcomes, a comprehensive worksite health program must be designed to reach the entire employee population," said Schmidt. "Employers can realize a high engagement rate that can help to improve the health of employees, increase productivity and lower healthcare costs when comprehensive programming is combined with a communication differentiation strategy."

Hunter Industries, a manufacturer and supplier of irrigation and lighting equipment headquartered in San Marcos, Calif., received an honorable mention for its documented health improvements and cost savings and will be formally recognized at the 2012 HERO Forum. Committed to the health and welfare of its diverse workforce, Hunter Industries is just one of a growing number of organizations choosing to invest in worksite wellness programs and leverages the expertise of Viridian Health Management.

"We have a diverse population of over 800 employees," said Ann Hunter-Wellborn, vice president of human resources at Hunter Industries. "We were really looking for a way to improve the health of our employees, while at the same time reduce our healthcare costs."

Added Sharon Clark, benefits and compensation manager at Hunter Industries, "During the first year of our program, we obtained biometric screening and health risk assessment data from 85 percent of our employees. This was remarkable because we have three shifts, a remote sales force and our employees have a variety of languages, cultures and literacy levels. By leveraging the expertise of Viridian Health Management, we were able to achieve this initial engagement due to a robust communications strategy that reflected our corporate culture, and the flexibility of the program design to overcome barriers."

As part of the 2012 HERO Forum, Hunter Industries will formally receive honorable mention recognition from the C. Everett Koop National Health Awards for its culturally competent, integrated health management program and their ability to document cost savings through high program participation among its diverse workforce.

Industry Thought Leaders in Integrated Healthcare Services and Worksite Health
Viridian Health Management shares the following best practices to help employers overcome cultural barriers and effectively communicate with diverse workforces for successful worksite health initiatives:

Develop an organizational culture that supports open, two-way communication. Effective communication is a dialogue, not just a one-way conversation. Employers can achieve greater success with their worksite health programs when information is shared in an open, honest and straight-forward manner. Organizations should encourage employees to communicate up and across the organization. In addition, employers should give ample opportunities for employees to regularly provide feedback. This can be accomplished through employee surveys, suggestion boxes, town hall meetings, individual or small group meetings.

Identify any communication barriers that exist within your organization. Before launching a worksite health program, companies must take into consideration the different communication barriers that potentially can limit participation in worksite health initiatives for their diverse employee populations. All employees should have the opportunity to participate in workplace health promotion programs within their organizations, but employers need to share that news in a way that is meaningful to its employees.

Ensure that information is accessible to all employees. Employers should provide information through multiple sources and languages that reflects their workforce. Employers can maintain the momentum of a worksite health program by using multiple communication channels such as print and electronic communications, orientation and trainings, staff meetings and public announcements to share vital and important messages. Make sure information is shared in the fastest time and best manner possible for your employee population.

Further positioning itself as an industry leader in integrated healthcare services, Viridian continues to collaborate with U.S. and global leaders by actively participating in the Clinton Global Initiative and CGI America. These efforts aim at developing and implementing cost-effective programs to reduce chronic disease, as well as establish partnerships with other organizations that are also committed to improving the health of American workers. Viridian also is the national implementation contractor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Healthy Worksite Program to establish comprehensive worksite health programs that enhance employee health, reduce chronic disease and lower healthcare costs. In addition, Schmidt will participate in an executive forum at the Care Continuum Alliance conference in Atlanta on October 18-19, 2012.

Conclusion
The vast majority of organizations employ diverse workforces in terms of various job functions, age, cultural background, education levels, languages spoken, physical abilities and disabilities, and even more factors that drive differences such as race, religion and lifestyle. And although a diverse, multicultural workforce provides a wealth of ideas and experiences, it also can create significant challenges to effective communication. To effectively engage a diverse workforce, it is important for employers to understand the cultural differences in communications to increase employee participation in worksite wellness initiatives.

About Viridian Health Management
Viridian Health Management is a healthcare improvement company focused on improving individual and population health through its pioneering health coaching techniques, integrative approach to wellness, powerful technology platform and actionable analytics. Its comprehensive health management solutions combine evidence-based and emerging best practices for worksites, communities, the public sector and healthcare partners. Viridian focuses on engaging individuals to make healthy behavior changes that result in better health outcomes and financial savings. To learn more, visit online at www.viridianhealth.com, email info@viridianhealth.com or call 877-486-0140. To learn more, visit online at www.viridianhealth.com, follow on Twitter @ViridianHealth, email info@viridianhealth.com or call 1 877-486-0140.

Contact Information

  • Viridian Health Management Media Contact:
    Jill Brownley
    Director of Marketing and Public Relations
    jbrownley@viridianhealth.com
    602-544-4880 office 
    602-509-4311 cell

    22601 N. 19th Avenue
    Suite 240
    Phoenix, AZ 85027