Located in suburban Maryland, the Howard County Public School System consists of 76 elementary, middle, and high schools, and approximately 8,200 employees, including teachers, administrative, facilities and support staff. With an estimated 85 percent of HCPSS’ budget going toward salaries and benefits, HCPSS began exploring employee well-being programs to support all aspects of its employees’ health and help manage rising costs. For HCPSS, a robust approach to well-being that drove daily engagement and long-term healthy behavior change was key.
In 2010, Beverly Davis, Executive Director of Budget and Finance at HCPSS, began reviewing vendors, including Virgin Pulse, an online platform that fosters healthy daily habits and sustainable behavior change to help employees thrive at work and across all aspects of life. Some of HCPSS’ most important criteria for its new program were access to data and reporting, and means of tracking employee participation. It was also critical that the vendor it chose meaningfully and consistently engaged the school system’s diverse, physically disparate employee population.