In 2011, MDM is recognizing distributors that are innovative in their approach to their markets. These Market Movers will be featured in this space. Werner Electric Supply is the first distributor featured.
2011 MDM Market Mover
Company: Werner Electric Supply
Headquarters: Cottage Grove, MN
Leadership: CEO Lynn MacDonald & Barry Boyer; President Kevin Powell
2010 Revenues: $130.5 million, up 17.5%
Details: Werner focuses on finding the right people and building a culture where those employees want to stay. The distributor has wellness, volunteer and professional development programs, and a highly engaged employee base.
Employees at Werner Electric Supply are eating better and moving more thanks to its health and wellness program. And healthy employees means happy employees, like Kim Berger, a regional administrative assistant for Werner in Minnesota.
“It’s very helpful to have the support system at work,” said Berger, who is also on the health and wellness committee. “I feel fabulous. It’s been a great change.”
At a time when many employees feel overworked due to companies’ trying to do more with less, Werner’s approach is building loyalty and helping it retain talent at a critical point in the economic recovery.
The distributor’s wellness programs support other efforts, including a constant focus on employee engagement; in a recent survey, employees had an overall engagement score 22 percent higher than the national average. The distributor also has a robust training and professional development program.
On the wellness side, Berger’s health issues disappeared after she lost 43 pounds in the company’s program. “I even went to a stand-up cube and I stand for 90 percent of the day,” she said.
Berger and other employees joined the program after its launch six years ago. Werner, an electrical products distributor, developed the program with its partner Van Meter Industrial at seven locations across Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Through a series of exercise challenges and health screenings, employees are encouraged to eat healthy and exercise regularly. One popular event is The Better Health & Biggest Loser Challenge, a 12-week program that helps employees and their spouses reduce weight and body fat.
As a self-insured company, the wellness program is also seen as a way to keep insurance costs down and increase morale and improve productivity, said Heather Fleming, head of the health and wellness program.
“From the impact on overall culture and employee morale to our premiums, which have virtually remained unchanged for at least three out of the four years,” Fleming said, “that’s something we look at each year, and we credit to the health and wellness program.”
Increases in employee insurance costs were miniscule from 2008 to 2010, rising 3 percent overall. This meant a $1 increase per pay period for those with a single health plan and about a $3 increase for those with the family plan. In 2011, rates rose 12 percent and employees paid either a $5 increase or a $6 increase, according to Jessica Tesar, compensation and benefits manager.
Beyond the low insurance cost increases, employees are able to earn points based on how well they do in each exercise challenge. Chad Dailey, who works in customer service, won third place in The Better Health & Biggest Loser Challenge and wants to earn more points in the upcoming Movin’ 4 Minutes program. The team of employees that log the most minutes of exercise win prizes. These points are converted into dollars and used to buy health-related items, such as a bike or massage.
“You’re participating to better yourself and your own health, and you’re getting extra money to go with it,” Dailey said. “To me it’s a no-brainer.” Employees can also participate in the free annual health risk assessment to get a blood test and flu shot. They are also compensated up to $50 if they participate in a race or bike ride and $7.50 a month for holding a gym membership, Fleming said.
Overall, Werner’s health and wellness program has made a difference for employees and their work environment. “It gets people motivated and gets a little camaraderie going in the office,” Dailey said. “Overall, people just feel better. You come to work, you’re not tired and you don’t have the aches and pains.”