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Case Study:

NW Natural

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The Challenge A Fresh Approach to Unhealthy Costs

In 2008, Portland, Oregon-based utility company NW Natural set out on an ambitious mission: to contain its rising healthcare costs, which had tripled since 1999. Long an advocate for corporate wellness, the 150-year old utility company tried to control costs by offering comprehensive smoking cessation, health screenings, and other wellness programs to its 1,050 employees throughout Oregon and Washington. But the traditional way of doing things wasn’t working — it was time for a new approach.

  • “We needed to go back to the root cause of the sharp rises in our costs. We knew that obesity and other preventable chronic diseases were some of the primary drivers.”

    - Lea Anne Doolittle SVP HR, NW Natural

  • “The challenges have been a huge morale booster in a tough economic time. They’re a fun activity the company does together. Employees love motivating each other and having that extra support while pursuing their own health goals. And it also shows them the company cares about their health.”

    - Tina Freel Senior HR Consultant, NW Natural

  • “We’re seeing first-hand the correlation between healthy behaviors and disease prevention. We think this makes for happier and more productive employees at work, and also helps us manage our healthcare costs in a positive way.”

    - Tina Freel Senior HR Consultant, NW Natural