SANTA ROSA – Offering ways to enable success-driven employees achieve their personal best is what JDSU is about. Supporting health programs is one approach to making the employer-employee relationship a win-win situation.

In January 2010, JDSU introduced a wellness program in the U.S. called “Healthy Connections.” It includes an online health assessment, a smoking cessation program, access to health coaches, as well as weight loss encouragement.

Activity challenges are popular components of the program, such as Get Fit on Route 66 that involves an online journey from Chicago to the West Coast. Progress is fueled by minutes of exercise that become miles driven in the health portal video simulation.

[caption id="attachment_44793" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="JDSU Bike-to-Work day in Santa Rosa"][/caption]

“In Route 66, employees record time invested in exercise during breaks at work, at lunchtime or before or after hours while running, walking, swimming, snorkeling, golfing, weight training, or whatever, while inputting their results,” said Dena Regan, director of global benefits for JDSU.

JDSU recently finished its second activity challenge, called Health Trails, where participants track minutes of exercise as well as servings of fruits and vegetables consumed to log miles along major trails of the world – from the Pacific Northwest Trail to the Heyson Wine Trail in Australia, among other global choices.

Individuals participating in activity challenges are rewarded with a $25 to $50 gift card. Employees on top teams receive $100 each in cash in addition to the gift cards.

Avivia, a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente, administers the Healthy Connections program for JDSU.

Some 94 percent of company employees with medical benefits through JDSU have participated in health assessments, and 25 to 30 percent have participated in activity challenges.

Employees that complete the health assessment are eligible for a $50 per month premium reduction.

“Awareness is the first step in the process.  Employees are motivated and understand that personal health is related to the premiums they pay.  The second step is getting employees personally involved with Healthy Connections, and with each other,” Ms. Regan said.

While other employers are experiencing a 9 percent increase in medical premiums, JDSU’s increases are in the low 2-to-3 percent range.

In JDSU’s Santa Rosa facility, employees can select healthy choices in the cafeteria and at vending machines (i.e., salt-free trail mix marked with green stickers).

Guest speakers talk about stress management and coping with holiday anxieties. Bike-to-work days are planned and free flu shots are offered.

 “We are looking at a biometrics program for the future. The key is getting everyone engaged in a safe, confidential health program in a positive environment where the focus is on wellness,” Ms. Regan said.