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Health and Wellness Management:  Lands' End Does Wellness in Style

By Cheryl Michie

Wellness programs are becoming more common in the workplace to help offset the rising cost of health care.  According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 70 percent of work sites plan to make health-promoting changes in their work environment by 2012.

Companies Such as Dodgeville, Wisconsin-based Lands' End have begun to implement workplace wellness programs.

To support employees, they created a variety of on-site services that promote health improvement. For example, a registered dietitian is available for consultations and there are physical therapists on-site 40 hours a week. There is also an on-site clinic that offers cholesterol, bone density and skin cancer screenings to employees.

The bonus? With the implementation of these strategies, Lands' End has managed to decrease employee health care costs.

As these programs rise in popularity, companies will look to hire employees who have specialized training in health and wellness management.

"This is a great time to be taking an interest in wellness," said Liz Wiebe, senior manager or work and life benefits at Lands' End.  "Many companies are starting their own wellness programs right now along with communities and hospitals. I've been very impressed with how universities have developed credentials for people in the health and wellness area," she added.

The University of Wisconsin-Extension, in partnership with four UW Campuses, recognized this need launched a new collaborative online bachelor's degree: Health and Wellness Management.

Graduates from the University of Wisconsin-Extension's Health and Wellness Management program will be able to begin careers as wellness managers. As more and more companies begin promoting employee wellness programs, these in-demand wellness managers will play a pivotal role in helping develop and lead corporate wellness programs.

Cheryl Michie is the program manager for University of Wisconsin Health & Wellness Management.