By Patrick Connelly, originally published in Buffalo Law Journal, Buffalo Business First on Oct 19, 2018, 3:03am.

Worksite Wellness: Donna Cooper-Gordon has seen Phillips Lytle’s “BeWell” grow

Donna Cooper-Gordon, human resources manager for Phillips Lytle LLP, has seen the firm’s “PL BeWell” program grow from free biometric screenings and flu shots for employees to a program that offers live coaching, classes on exercise and cooking and an initiative that encourages healthy competition among staff.

How did it all start? Phillips Lytle had offered opportunities for biometric screenings and flu shots at no cost to personnel, but in 2016, we decided to take the program a step further and engaged with a national wellness company in order to expand our program. … We reached out to people representing all of our offices to create a wellness team. They were tasked with coming up with the name for our wellness program as well as establishing a logo. We have regular meetings to discuss ongoing initiatives, wellness challenges and program incentives.

How many people take part and what can they do? Our participation rate is generally about 50 percent. All personnel have access to a private wellness portal through our vendor, where they can participate in private wellness coaching. Each person has the ability to track personal progress through their own personal wellness portal. Participants can earn incentive points by completing various wellness initiatives.

Prizes are awarded for meeting monthly, quarterly and annual incentive points (and) for participation in challenges (team and individual), which have included a weight loss challenge, walking challenges Additionally, we have hosted mini-challenges and have invited experts in to conduct classes on topics such as healthy cooking, proper stretching, and exercise.

Are there future plans? We plan to continue offering incentives, challenges and premium discounts on health insurance to encourage future participant engagement, which we believe has led to better control of our health care costs, better general employee health, enhanced camaraderie and employee morale.