Tim O'Neil's Thoughts on Employee Health

Director, Employee Benefits and Wellness at Meredith Corporation Meredith Corporation

What are the latest trends in Employee Wellness programs today?

Two of the really hot topics in employee wellness today include “behavioral health” and “financial wellness”. Programs are starting to think beyond traditional physical activity and healthy eating campaigns. We’re seeing a trend toward initiatives designed to help employees and families more effectively balance work and personal priorities and develop personal financial plans to achieve their goals now and in the future. It’s been fun to watch these trends continue to build momentum in the last couple of years.

What is the best way you have found to engage employees in the wellness programs?

Leadership support is essential to having a successful wellness program. If leaders support the wellness program and walk the walk, employees are much more likely to get involved and stay involved because they see wellness is a priority. We’ve also had a lot of success linking wellness with our employee benefits strategy to achieve best-in-class engagement. At Meredith, over 98% of employees and their spouse or domestic partner completed the wellness program each of the last three years to have their choice of all of our medical plan options and pay the lowest contribution rates.

What can employees do to help get new wellness programs implemented at their employer?

Start with the end in mind. What issues or opportunities are you addressing by having a wellness program? Be prepared to discuss why it would be beneficial to have a wellness program, your strategy and the outcomes you expect to achieve (including how you will measure them) and what resources will be required. I recommend developing a 3-year strategy and demonstrating a progressive approach designed to enhance your program each year. Once your plan is ready, engage a decision-maker who can provide support and authorize the funding you need to be successful. Offer meaningful incentives and use feedback from employees to continue offering campaigns that are fun and motivating.

About Tim

Tim O’Neil currently guides employee benefits and wellness at Meredith Corporation. In that capacity, O’Neil is charged with developing and integrating best-in-class employee health and wellness programs with progressive and proactive benefit plan design.

The wellness initiative at Meredith has been featured in case studies published by the Wellness Council of America, the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, the Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation; highlighted by the CDC and the U.S. Surgeon General, and featured in the New York Post, Fortune, Benefits, and HR Magazine, and in numerous special interest publications.

O’Neil has become a nationally recognized Champion for worksite wellness -- most recently speaking at events on health plan design and plan management, developing motivating health improvement campaigns and best practices in employee engagement.

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