Worksite Wellness -- Tips and trends for you and your employees | Issue 1 | Winter 2011

Wayne State University's Worksite Wellness Program: Wellness Warriors
2011 Theme: "Employee Engagement -- The Total You"

The Wellness Warriors program is a free worksite wellness program administered by the Total Compensation and Wellness department within the Division of Human Resources at Wayne State University for benefits-eligible WSU employees. The program which was piloted in 2007 with 580 members has been growing ever since. In 2010, there were 1,275 Wellness Warriors and that number is continuing to increase for 2011. Currently, three vendors help run the program: the university recreation facility, a local pharmacy located on campus and a third party wellness company that provides telephonic coaching and wellness services. Other services and programs are also provided by companies such as HAP, the DMC, other nearby hospital systems and other insurance carriers.


2011 is an exciting year for the Wellness Warriors program! In October 2010, enrollment for the 2011 program kicked off with a required comprehensive health screenings and an online Health Risk Appraisal (HRA). Employees who completed the enrollment process received $50 in their December paycheck.

The health screenings were held at various locations around campus and offered total, HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, along with triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure, height, weight, and waist circumference measurements. The health screening was a great tool because it offered participants a quick overview of their current health status especially when combined with the 60-question HRA. After receiving their wellness score (out of a possible 100%), the employee was able to identify and focus on any area(s) needing improvement.

2011 Theme

The Wellness Warriors 2011 program theme is "Employee Engagement -- The Total You". This theme was chosen because Wayne State University felt that a successful wellness program should engage employees in deeper discussion with wellness professionals to address many areas of their life, not only the typical exercise and nutrition portion that most wellness programs cover. The wellness program should also include information and interaction relating to stress management, emotional health, financial concerns, physical pain and other health related issues. Individual contact with wellness professionals will result in more personal engagement in overall health.

Free Services and Programming

Starting in January, 2011, our program offers participants free unlimited telephonic coaching, free pharmacy services (medication therapy management, diabetes education or smoking cessation), free personal training, free nutrition consultation sessions, a monthly calendar full of programming, and monthly newsletters. Wellness Warrior educational and physical activity sessions are held at least 8-10 times per month.

Wellness Bucks

Each month, participants can track their minutes of physical activity and attendance at wellness related programs or events on their online "Wellness Bucks Tally Sheet". As their "Wellness Bucks" accumulate, they can be redeemed for prizes. Prizes include but are not limited to items such as mugs, tee shirts and water bottles or free services such as personal training sessions, massages and more!


During the year, competitions are held to keep employees engaged with one another. The Greatest Loser competition has always been a favorite among Wellness Warrior participants because it gets teams of participants together twice per week for 8 weeks. They work out at the campus recreation facility, have weekly weigh-ins, keep nutrition logs and compete for prizes. Weight loss is encouraged, but team work, weighing-in, keeping a nutrition log and simply participating are also rewarded with points. The team with the most points at the end of the 8 week competition wins a monetary prize. Individuals with the most points also win prizes.

During the warmer months last year, we started a HAP-sponsored walking program which we called "Walking Warriors". Each participant was responsible for tracking their steps and entering the data weekly into an online tracking system. The "Walking Warriors" great success rate was partly due to the fact they were able to easily track and share their numbers with the free pedometer that HAP provided.

Also in 2010, a new nutrition-based competition called "Colorful Choices" was unveiled. This fruit and vegetable challenge was great for individuals that wanted something different than a weight loss challenge. An online tracking system was used to keep track of servings of fruits and vegetables eaten each week. Tips on eating more fruits and veggies, mini challenges and a recipe competition were also part of the month-long challenge. The team that ate the most servings of fruits and vegetables by the end of the month won great prizes. Individuals were also rewarded for their participation. A pot luck lunch was held after the competition that got everyone together to eat fruit and vegetable dishes!

Measuring Success

The Wellness Warriors program has many "behind the scenes" tools in place to keep the program going. Monthly "Wellness Committee" meetings are held for the key individuals from each vendor and department to get together and share ideas on planning. A mission and goals document and a business plan have been created to keep the Wellness Warriors program going strong in the right direction. For any worksite wellness program to be successful, key areas of need should be addressed and goals created for their particular workplace. Each workplace will obviously have diverse populations with a variety of needs to be addressed. The enrollment process is crucial for the Wellness Warriors program because it provides an aggregate report of data to the program administration from which key areas of health needs can be defined and addressed in the mission and goals document.

To measure participation levels and employee engagement, participants that reach program benchmarks and receive incentives for doing so are measured. The Wellness Warrior program goal is to reach 60% incentive-eligibility during the first six months and 60% incentive-eligibility again in the second 6 months. In the first six months of the program (January - June), participants must utilize the telephonic wellness coaching services at least once and attend at least three Wellness Warrior events. During the second six months of the program (July - December), participants must utilize at least two more sessions with the telephonic wellness coaching services and attend at least three Wellness Warrior events. Participants earn incentives in July and December for meeting these participation benchmarks. Attendance at each Wellness Warrior event, amount of free services utilized, competition participation and Wellness Bucks Tally Sheet utilization are all recorded and measured as well.

Sophia Dollar
Wellness Coordinator
Total Compensation and Wellness, Human Resources
Wayne State University

For more information on Wayne State University's Wellness Warriors program, please visit our Web site at or contact us via e-mail at

Improving health. Enhancing lives.