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Improving our workforce: Health & Education

Pre-screening can save more than money

     “Not one company that I’ve worked with has said there has been no benefit,” says Connie Bryan R.N. and owner of OnSite Health. 
     Bryan says that she provides on-site screenings for companies so that insurance costs are better and to identify employees who may be at high risk for any of a variety of health issues. 
     “Fifty-percent of the people we screen have high cholesterol anymore,” says Bryan. “And we can identify issues that many people might not even be aware of. This allows them to be proactive in taking steps to make improvements, which in turn helps prevent unexpected medical emergencies for themselves and their business later.”
     One heart attack can cost a company $150,000 plus the overtime for other employees and the lost time off production as well as increasing group insurance costs in the long run - not to mention the difficulty for the employee and their family, she explains. “In fact one case of diabetes can have a $600,000 financial impact on the business and employee.”
     Bryan says she or her staff will identify someone with diabetes or a serious heart condition at nearly every screening. 
     “It’s very important to do screenings and catch things early, and that’s what we do,” she says. 
     OnSite Health also offers health coaching, lunch and learn seminars, smoking sessation classes, health fairs, hearing tests, CPR classes and other services that can have a positive impact on the health of an organization.

Exercise is key to healthy & happy staff

     Studies have shown that healthy and fit employees result in better attendance, higher productivity, and overall positive attitudes – a definite plus for your organization!” says Ty Mishler of All About Fitness. “Unfortunately, the lack of adequate exercise in today’s society has resulted in an obesity epidemic and numerous health issues for all age groups.”
     To help combat sedentary positions at the office, Ty and wife Christy, a fitness instructor and partner in the business, started selling treadmills with standing desks in addition to other fitness equipment.
     “We’ve had the opportunity to work with several businesses in the local area to create and improve their physical fitness programs and have seen great results. It is great to see so many companies within Elkhart County take advantage of these programs and gain not only the physical benefits but also - even more so - the mental and emotional benefits,” says Ty. “We hope that, with our help, Elkhart County can continue this trend of promoting health and wellness in the workplace in order to benefit local businesses and workers. A health conscious employer motivates a health minded employee that in turn produces a healthy community and economy.”

Develop a more qualified & motivated workforce

     “At Indiana Tech, we find that employers who actively encourage professional development see benefits in many areas,” says Brian Engelhart, Vice President of University Relations. “Employees gain specific skills and knowledge, making them more effective in their jobs. Teamwork, collaboration and communication are also important components of our degree programs, skills which are much needed in every workplace today. And employees gain more self-confidence as they advance their education, which helps them engage further and take ownership of their work.”
     “Some employers may fear losing better-educated employees to competitors,” says Engelhart. “But we find that employers who support and promote further education for their employees use it as a competitive advantage – they become more desirable to prospective employees, while also developing a more qualified and motivated workforce, both of which help their business.” 
     In recent years, he says, Indiana Tech has had a growing number of employers approach the school about developing partnerships and other programs that will encourage their employees to take the next step in their education and professional development.

Employees can help in choosing the types of training to offer

     Ross Peterson-Veatch, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Goshen College, recalls a cautionary “proverb” of sorts: The CFO asks, “What if we invest in educating our employees and they leave?”  The CEO replies, “What if we don’t and they stay?”
     It just makes sense on a practical level that investing in your staff pays dividends like few other investments.  And there is a good deal of research to back up this common sense notion.  
     Most management professionals recommend a systematic approach that includes analysis of:
  1. The skills and knowledge – usually called “competencies” – required to do a job.  Competencies can be as basic as reading and as complex as process engineering.
  2. The organization – Where do we need training or education?  Where in the organization will we improve if we get training?
  3. The tasks that are accomplished by people in the organizations.  What are people in the organization actually doing in their jobs?
  4. The people – who needs training and what training do they need?
     Training and education definitely add value, and in many cases the employee knows what kind of training would help them to do their job better. But thinking through the four factors above will help make the most of your investments.

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