(Fortune Magazine) -- Every business has felt the burden of ballooning medical costs, but few have focused as intently on keeping employees healthy as Paychex, the payroll and HR outsourcer based in Rochester, N.Y.
As Paychex CEO Jon Judge explains, "You can't have an expense item on your P&L that's growing double digits every year and expect that it isn't going to choke you."
So now employees who undergo a confidential health screening and risk assessment and agree to join a smoking-cessation program reap real financial rewards, such as lower deductibles and costs. All plans include free annual physicals, colonoscopies, and 100% coverage of preventive care.
So far, Paychex (PAYX), which is self-insured (meaning it runs its own plan rather than relying on third-party providers like Aetna), reports that it has shaved 2% off its medical-spending growth rate.
We asked Judge for his tips on maintaining a healthy workplace.
"Spend time on education, making people aware of the consequences of a lack of wellness, where the medical costs are coming from, and what other people are doing."
By partaking in wellness activities, workers can earn up to $300 a year. "If you're willing to take this subject seriously and if you're willing to make some adjustments to a healthier lifestyle, then we will give you credit for that," says Judge.
Following recommendations from employees, pricing was recently changed in company cafeterias: Healthy foods were reduced, burgers and fries were marked up. And 75% of vending machines are filled with healthy snacks.
Every employee has access to an offsite personal-wellness coordinator, who is available for private consultations to create and monitor health goals.
The perks of working at Paychex
1. Low-cost legal service.
Prepaid fee deducted from paychecks allows access to a network of lawyers. Write a will or refinance a house with no additional out-of-pocket expense.
2. Continuing education.
Up to $6,500 a year in tuition reimbursement.
3. Discounted gym memberships and day care.
4. Lunch & Learn.
Online learning modules and free midday seminars are offered to help with financial matters, stress management, healthy eating, and many other topics.
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