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Wealth of Health: ESL Federal Credit Union

Healthy employees are happy employees, and happy employees can deliver maximum customer service to clients and members. That is the philosophy behind the comprehensive wellness program at ESL Federal Credit Union, which has earned the distinction of Best in Show for the 2012 Wealth of Health Awards.
ESL employs 499 full-time and 133 part-time workers and serves more than 300,000 members worldwide. The full-service financial institution, with $4 billion in assets, is based downtown and has 19 branch offices.
Be Well @ ESL has five key components: health screening and benefits, holistic healing alternatives, nutrition, physical activity and stress management.
In 2011, the wellness program offered more than 70 events for employees; more than three-quarters of the staff participated in at least one.
“Our program promotes physical and mental wellness through healthier habits,” says Lisa McLaughlin, manager of total rewards for ESL’s people and organizational development department, and chairwoman of the 12-member wellness program team. “ESL encourages healthy lifestyles and provides equal opportunities for all employees to develop healthy patterns in their daily lives.”
One of the company’s most popular offerings is the 1,800-square-foot fitness center at its Chestnut Street headquarters. Free for use by all employees and open every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., the facility includes four treadmills, three elliptical machines, four stationary bikes and various weight machines. An adjoining mirrored room has balance balls and free weights and is the site for fitness classes, offered over lunch and after work.
Sixty percent of ESL employees in 2011 took at least one fitness class, including TurboKick, PiYo, Bootcamp, Cardio Hoop, Power Pilates, Ring Ready and Zumba.
Another popular component of Be Well @ ESL is a daylong health fair in October. Several dozen local vendors are on hand, including benefit providers, chiropractors, holistic practitioners and nutritionists. At the most recent health fair, 135 employees received flu shots, and several more took advantage of biometric and prostate cancer screenings.
In addition, ESL takes part in Excellus’ Step Up program and Wegmans’ Eat Well, Live Well Challenge, with dual goals of encouraging employees to walk as many steps each day as possible and to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. The challenge is team-based and lasts eight weeks. Top teams received gift cards, water bottles, towels, pedometers and more.
Smoking is banned on ESL property, McLaughlin says.
“The wellness program encourages employees to develop more awareness about healthy choices so that they can take action and live healthy lifestyles,” she says. “As a company, we are trying to maintain our medical premiums, and wellness is one of the ways that we can meet this objective.”

6/8/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email [email protected].


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