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The Evolution of Employee Wellness at BankUnited

By Jeanette Martin, MS/PhD VP and Employee Wellness Program Manager, BankUnited

Jeanette Martin, MS/PhD VP and Employee Wellness Program Manager, BankUnited

When I earned my Master’s Degree in Health Promotion and Ph.D. in Community Health Advocacy, I was uncertain as to what career path I would follow.  “Wellness” was a relatively new concept, and in a culture obsessed with managing existing health conditions, the notion of developing and implementing strategies to prevent them from becoming a problem was unchartered territory.  Relocating from Washington, DC to Miami, Florida I was challenged by the lack of wellness opportunities in the job market.  Finally, landing a position with a large insurance company headquartered in Miami, I experienced my first taste of corporate wellness as Worksite Wellness Coordinator responsible for several large client groups (100+ employees) throughout the State of Florida.  After developing an understanding of the tremendous need to implement corporate wellness initiatives in the Miami area, I began researching and analyzing claims data for several Miami based organizations.  I focused my efforts on those who did not have an existing wellness platform in place and ended up coming on board as Vice President and Employee Wellness Program Manager here at BankUnited, headquartered in Miami Lakes, Florida. 

"We have adopted a culture of wellness that exceeds the value of the incentive – employees are empowered; making informed healthcare decisions and incorporating healthy lifestyle behaviors into their lives and into the lives of those who impact them most – their families"

Upon conclusion of a thorough needs assessment in 2014, a determination was made to implement a companywide initiative that provided tools, resources, education, and opportunities for BankUnited employees to access, to motivate and empower employees and their families to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors.  The goal would result in improved quality of life, increased productivity and morale and health care cost savings to BankUnited. 

Bank on Wellness was launched in February 2014.  A voluntary wellness benefit available at no cost to employees and their medically covered spouse or domestic partner.  This participation based incentive program rewards engagement by offering a premium differential for successful completion.  The program is designed with convenience and accessibility in mind, developing multiple “wellness point” earning opportunities either online, through our sophisticated health portal, or live, through the many workshops and educational seminars offered. 

Ongoing communication efforts drive engagement through the use of creative themed wellness challenges; a monthly wellness newsletter and wellness reminders and tips that are aligned with the World Health Organization’s health observance calendar.  Additionally, our HIPAA compliant online health portal allows employees to monitor and improve health behaviors and keep track of preventative exams and doctor’s visits – all accessible from their laptop or mobile device. 

In 2017, BankUnited opened a 6,000 square foot fitness center that provides complimentary fitness programs for its employees and utilization exceeds expectations. 

The combination of tools and resources produced an engagement rate of 80% last year and is trending to exceed that in 2019.   We have adopted a culture of wellness that exceeds the value of the incentive – employees are empowered; making informed healthcare decisions and incorporating healthy lifestyle behaviors into their lives and into the lives of those who impact them most – their families.  BankUnited Executive Management takes great pride in providing its employees with the wellness tools and resources necessary allowing them to thrive both personally and professionally. 

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