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Oakwood Homes Builds Strong Wellness Culture

Donuts and junk food may be a part of the home builder culture, but not at Oakwood Homes. As Colorado’s largest privately-held home builder, the company’s commitment to wellness includes a full gym at their facility, an on-site ‘boot camp’ instructor, Weight Watchers meetings at work, and fresh fruit served in the lobby and café every day.

In business for over 20 years, Oakwood Homes has maintained a zero trend in their health care costs for the past three years, a direct result of their strong wellness culture. Their commitment to employee wellness earned the company the first Metro Denver Healthiest Employer Award from the Denver Business Journal. Oakwood was also recognized with the “Most Innovative Health & Benefits Plan Design” Award by CDHC Solutions Magazine in 2011.

Oakwood Homes began their wellness journey in 2008 by offering weight loss and fitness challenge competitions as a means to encourage employees to be active and improve their overall health.

“We were doing a lot of great things and getting employees to participate in wellness activities,” said Frank Walker, Chief Operating Officer, noting that several employees lost more than 50 pounds as a direct result of the company’s wellness initiatives. “However, we were frustrated that our insurance carrier wasn’t recognizing our efforts in our premium rates.”

Then, they met Randy Rush of HUB International Colorado.

“Oakwood Homes was doing some amazing things, but they needed to get ROI measurements in place to demonstrate how their wellness programs were changing employee behavior,” Randy said. Oakwood engaged Bravo Wellness on Randy’s recommendation to conduct voluntary biometrics screenings.

Based on the biometrics screenings, Oakwood learned that body mass index (BMI) measurements revealed the need to focus on weight loss. Using the aggregate results from their biometric screenings, Oakwood began to tailor wellness programs to meet employee needs. By 2011, Oakwood added monetary incentives which increased participation in voluntary biometrics screenings to 90%. In 2012, they secured a premium rate pass from their carrier.

“HUB enabled us to tailor our wellness program to the needs of employees and measure ROI on our wellness programs,” said Frank. “Having a broker who can partner with you, help you measure the results of your efforts and be an advocate for you with your insurance company is vitally important,” he said.

Frank cautions that building a culture of wellness is a multi-year process. “It's going to take longer than you originally anticipated, but it’s very gratifying to hear our associates tell us that the program has changed their lives.”