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Central Michigan University: Using Data to Build a Culture of Wellbeing

May 1, 2018 / Corporate Wellness

Central Michigan University has been on the path to wellbeing for over fifteen years, beginning with their commitment to employee health in 1999.

What began as a means of controlling healthcare costs has expanded with time, evolving into an interest in enhancing benefits already being offered to employees and increasing overall wellness. Now, wellbeing is a central tenet within their organization measured though data-driven insights and strategic goals.

In 2014, this commitment to their staff evolved further with the onset of a CMU and Virgin Pulse partnership, with priorities and objectives continuing to take shape, incorporating behavior change psychology and employee analytics.

The Partnership:

CMU’s interest in diving deep into their data
 came at a serendipitous time for Virgin Pulse, who had finalized their comprehensive model of evaluation and was exploring ways to bring forward new meaningful data and also to CMU’s decision-makers footing the bill and questioning value.

The goal was to show a stronger relationship (through detailed, though private data) between participation in the program and results, even beyond health outcomes. This meant incorporating retention, promotions, healthcare activity and costs, even personal finance as markers for employee success. This thinking was largely influenced by Virgin Pulse Science Advisory Board Member Dr. Ron Goetzel and his work on Value-on-Investment.

Here are a Few Results:

  • Over 95% of staff describe CMU as having a strongly promoted culture of health
  • CMU Virgin Pulse participants spend 11% less, on average, on their healthcare per year
  • CMU Virgin Pulse participants spend significantly less on higher priced services such as home care or inpatient hospital care
  • For every additional step a CMU Virgin Pulse participant takes, their claims costs decrease $0.45!
  • For participants with low starting steps, their number of daily steps increased by 4,000 in the years following participation
  • The average BMI decrease for CMU Virgin Pulse participants was 2 points over 12 months

Want to see how CMU created a workplace where employees bring their best every day? Download Central Michigan University: Using Data to Build a Culture of Wellbeing.


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