How To Succeed At Wellness Programs

Credit unions in California and Vermont share how they help employees maintain healthy habits.


Patelco Credit Union
Data as of 03.31.17

HQ: Pleasanton, CA
MEMBERS: 311,832
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 11.2%
ROA: 0.99%

Patelco Credit Union ($5.7B, Pleasanton, CA) and Vermont Federal Credit Union ($476.5M, Burlington, VT) take employee wellness seriously, and they have programs to prove it.

These programs include a mix of health education, physical fitness, and financial wellness offerings. For example, Patelco’s Your Health Matters Power Hour is a lunch-and-learn the credit union holds every other month on topics such as Sun Safety,Getting a Good Night’s Sleep, and Managing Change.

The big Bay Area credit union also offers a popular health and wellness fair that includes flu shots, massage chairs, and biometric screenings from local vendors and representatives from insurance providers. And when it’s time to decide on an insurance plan, members at this San Francisco credit union can go ask ALEX, an online benefits bot that has replaced annual open enrollment meetings.


Vermont FCU
Data as of 12.30.16

HQ: Burlington, VT
ASSETS: $476.5M
MEMBERS: 35,910
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 15.8%
ROA: 0.65%

According to Raquel Flores, Patelco’s HR operations director, ALEX explains the credit union’s various insurance options and had 672 conversations with team members last year.

It’s completely transformed how we communicate benefits, Flores says.

Don’t re-invent the wheel. Visit Callahan’s Executive Resource Center to check out member-donated and Callahan-created examples of tactical documents, policies, and templates.

Also transforming HR at Patelco is Hubbub, a web platform that tracks organization programs and challenges. For example, through Hubbub, employees have recorded 191,000 minutes of exercise. Patelco also uses Hubbub to distribute the Amazon gift cards and fitness tracking devices it awards to participants, who so far have included 48% of the Patelco workforce.

Each challenge costs approximately $500, and the credit union has planned eight for this year. ROI can be elusive, but the goal is clear: We strive to provide our team members access to programs and services that support all aspects of health physical, emotional, mental, and financial, Flores says.

That’s pretty holistic.

Click through the tabs below to see Patelco’s financial wellness in action and the recognition received by Vermont FCU.

1. Patelco Biker

An exercise bike proved to be a popular attraction at a recent Patelco credit union health and wellness fair.

2. Vermont Award

Sara Klein, HR resources manager at Vermont FCU, accepts the 2016 Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Award at the recent 2017 Worksite Wellness Conference from state health commissioner Mark Levine, left, and Gov. Phil Scott.

3. Hubbub Dashboard

Patelco’s Hubbub dashboard tracks health and wellness metrics among employees of the Bay Area credit union.

At Vermont Federal, holistic wellness is not just the game. It’s the name.

The credit union’s Holistic Well-being Program includes on-site chiropractic and massage services, relationships with farms for fresh produce, discounted gym memberships with payroll deductions, and well-being challenges that include an annual walking competition.

Fab Four

When it comes to boosting employee wellness, take a page out of playbooks across the country.

Mind, Body, Soul, And Finances

Allegacy Federal Credit Union’s holistic view on wellness embraces the link between financial health and physical health. After all, smart financial decisions lead to less stress and, thus, healthier employees. Plus, watch a bonus video .

Healthcare In The House

Surrounded by companies with generous benefits, Redstone Federal Credit Union leveraged an on-site clinic to attract talent and cut medical costs.

Incentives That Save Lives

Grow Financial Federal Credit Union invests in employee well-being with a smoke-free campus, monetary rewards, and a host of wellness resources.

Workplace 2.0

Callahan highlights the good (gym), the bad (traffic), and the just plain ugly (flu season) realities of the modern workplace to help credit unions build a better alternative for employees.

Vermont Federal’s Employee Assistance Plan also draws on the resources of the UVM Health network to offer workshops and individual help for a range of personal issues.

Callahan’s Strategy Lab is a great way to help leadership teams think outside the box while staying inside the credit union’s four walls. Find out if this program is a fit for you.

Like Patelco, the New England institution encourages and tracks participation but does not require it.

Up to half the 127-person workforce does participate depending on the initiative, says HR vice president Cynthia Turner.

Some have a broader range of interest, Turner says, As long as 30% or more participate, we feel we met a need.

Click here to see the handout Vermont Federal used to promote a walking challenge to its workforce.

As for ROI, the credit union’s health insurance provider should be able to provide the data Vermont Federal needs to identify trends, hopefully positive ones, in the years ahead. So far, things are looking good.

In 2016, Vermont Federal received the Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Award.

We’re proud to be recognized for the third year in a row in our commitment to the well-being of staff, Turner says.

So what’s the secret sauce to wellness program happiness?

Make sure you’re filling a need or want from the staff,Turner says. And make sure they understand what it is you’re offering.

But the HR executive doesn’t stop there for her credit union.

For us, a holistic approach that blends a variety of topics has worked best, Turner continues. We try to incorporate team building and fun as well.

And, importantly, don’t stand still.

Patelco’s Flores says her team reviews the wellness strategy every year while working through the benefit renewal process to ensure it’s in line with the organization and with what’s important to staff. That, in turn, increases engagement by increasing awareness of Patelco’s offerings, Flores says.

May 15, 2017

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