Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Workforce Program

Kaiser_logo Company Background

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health. Recognized as one of the nation’s leading health providers and not-for-profit health plans, Kaiser Permanente currently serves more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia.

Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente‘s mission is to provide high-quality, affordable healthcare services and to improve the health of its members and the communities it serves. Care for members and patients focuses on their total health with the use of industry-leading technological advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management.

Kaiser Permanente’s vision for workplace health is to create the healthiest workforce in the healthcare industry by building a culture of health for the organization’s 175,000 employees and nearly 18,000 physicians.

About the Healthy Workforce Program

Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Workforce program was launched in 2010. Through Healthy Workforce, Kaiser Permanente supports employees and customers to improve their health, well-being and productivity with industry-leading health and wellness resources. Program development was informed by clearly identified needs from employee focus groups, interviews with regional leadership and a partnership with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.

Kaiser Permanente believes that “Health is a Team Sport.” To that end, all Healthy Workforce programs:

  • Foster Leadership Support: Senior leaders, including union leaders, demonstrate engagement and commitment to creating a healthy workplace culture and are encouraged to reward and reinforce a culture of health. Leaders, including the CEO and regional presidents at the top of the organization, support wellness and have shared their personal stories with employees many times.
  • Develop Champions: Healthy Workforce has developed a network of 1,300 volunteer employee Champions who create, develop, implement and promote programs to build a culture of health by focusing on prevention and behavior change.
  • Build a Culture of Health: Kaiser Permanente develops and offers programs that help people make healthy lifestyle choices, and integrates all aspects of the Healthy Workforce vision, policies and programs into the operations of the organization.

Within Healthy Workforce, Kaiser Permanente implements several initiatives to promote employee engagement, one of which is the Total Health Incentive Plan (THIP).

THIP is a voluntary program that rewards employee groups for getting healthier and builds a culture of health within each Kaiser Permanente-defined region. The rewards and incentives used with THIP help Kaiser Permanente accomplish three objectives—build a culture of wellness, reward health improvements and become and remain the best place to work.

At Kaiser Permanente, health is not only understood to be the responsibility of the individual, but also of the community in which they are a part and the culture which surrounds them. The concept of “Total Health” encapsulates the notion that health includes physical and emotional well-being and that individual behavior, the environment and culture all play a role in shaping health and wellness. With 130,000 eligible employees, including managers, THIP is an example of how an incentive program helps employees get healthy and stay healthy.

The plan leverages its partnership with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, known as the Labor Management Partnership, to explore groundbreaking approaches that encourage employees to take care of themselves with the support of high-quality, affordable care and excellent service to members. THIP is a unique financial incentive that rewards collective group outcomes rather than individual achievements, is completely voluntary and has no penalties. This collective approach to incentivizing healthy behavior is unique, as the standard practice in employee wellness incentive programs is to reward employees individually for meeting specific wellness goals.

Total Health Assessment online completion

Tracking Biometric Measures: Keeping up to date on four key biometric screenings (Body Mass Index [BMI], smoking, cholesterol and blood pressure)

Incentive Eligibility: If a region meets Gates One and Two, eligible employees can earn an additional $200 for meeting this goal. This bonus is paid if the region shows a collective average improvement in its at-risk population of at least 1.7 percent across the four biometric measures, with no increase in any of the areas.

THIP held launch events to ensure employees had the resources and information they needed to begin the program. Kickoff events were held for the initial launch of THIP in 2014 and again to re-launch the program at the beginning of 2015. On-site events to promote the program happen throughout each year and vary by location.

Kaiser Permanente held launch events to ensure employees had the resources and information they needed to begin the program.

In addition, Kaiser Permanente created a video to educate managers and support their efforts in engaging employees through THIP.

Data collected through THIP tells a positive story. Between 2012 and 2014:

More than 81,000 employees took the Total Health Assessment

83 percent of the employees who took the assessment have up-to-date biometric screenings

Building on Past Successes and Looking to the Future

Kaiser Permanente constantly evaluates its programs and solicits feedback from employees. Each year, all Kaiser Permanente employees are invited to participate in People Pulse, an online survey designed to assess whether the organization is creating an environment that promotes engagement and a high-performance culture. Embedded in People Pulse are questions regarding the culture of health within the organization. The questions allow Kaiser Permanente to measure progress in creating a workplace culture of health.

In addition, workforce wellness scorecards are produced quarterly. The most recent data show progress since the workforce health program launched in 2010:

icon-employees As of June 2014, BMI is flat

icon-workouts Smoking rates have dropped 30 percent

icon-employees Total cholesterol has seen a 10 percent improvement

icon-workouts Blood pressure for 94 percent of the population is at healthy levels, which is considered excellent

Kaiser Permanente has received numerous awards and recognition for its workplace health efforts. The implementation of THIP and new wellness programs continues Kaiser Permanente’s leadership in creating a culture of health and promises to improve its workforce wellness scores even more.