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Expert Interview

Kristi Schalow is a full time Wellness Coordinator dedicated to implementing and promoting all employee health and wellness programs.  An active and healthy lifestyle is something that is very important to Kristi in her personal life. She has been employed with Trek since 2005; just after she obtained her B.S. in Marketing from Florida State University is Tallahassee, FL.

Q: What are the health promotion beliefs that guide wellness policy at Trek Bicycles®?
Ms. Schalow: Trek believes that empowering employees to make positive health decisions is simply the right thing to do.  We believe in providing employees the time, tools, and resources to live the healthiest life they can so that it's easy for them to make the right decision. Through education and onsite offerings we hope that employees will learn to be accountable for their health.

Q: What activities and responsibilities does the Trek Bicycles Wellness Program include?
Ms. Schalow: To enjoy the Trek portion of their health insurance premium, we ask that employees participate in our program that includes a health risk assessment, a biometric screen, and other preventative exams/health/nutrition programs. Other voluntary onsite programs include things like fitness classes, nutrition education, Biggest Loser Programs, and more.

Q: How are employees encouraged to participate in the Trek Bicycles Wellness Program?
Ms. Schalow: With our program being tied to our benefits package we do have a high percentage of participation in the structured portion of our program. Our voluntary programs also have high participation, which we attribute to both our incentive program and our past history of success (i.e., personal stories) with these programs.

Q: What is your advice to employers who offer cafeterias at their work sites?  How can they modify menu offerings and prices to signal healthy choices to employees?
Ms. Schalow: What worked well for Trek was heavily communicating the changes long before they happened. As an example, we chose to eliminate the top 10 unhealthiest items from our menu. So, we identified what those items were, and then created posters and table tents explaining why we were doing it and what items were going away. A month later when the change took place employees knew it was coming and handled it well. Along with taking these items away we communicated some healthy choice replacements.

Q: Have you seen results associated with the Wellness Program?  If so, what measures and outcomes were examined?
Ms. Schalow: We have seen a decrease in our actual health claims cost as we have increased our wellness spending. Our claims cost is down 7.46% on average over the last three years. We constantly keep a pulse on how our spending in wellness is paying off and we continue to look for new ways to do this. Our greatest successes sometimes come from the personal stories that we receive from our employees who have identified a medical problem before it became too severe, or have had a major lifestyle change as a result of one of our programs. There are endless examples like this at Trek.

Q: How does Trek collect data from its employees?
Ms. Schalow: Health scores are collected by using a third party wellness provider that collects them and reports back to us as an aggregate.We do not see our individual employee health scores. We also survey our employees on a quarterly basis on all aspects of the business. Each time we run a new program or at the end of a current program we typically take the opportunity to ask for feedback and survey employees about their experience.

Q: How are health and wellness integrated into the overall culture at Trek work sites?
Ms. Schalow: Health and wellness are a part of who we are, all the way down to the very nature of the product we create. This coupled with the Health Value Pricing that we offer in our café, the free health and wellness programs that we continually change and add too, and the fact that our program is tied to our benefits plan, all act as constant reminders of who we are and what we believe in.  

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The opinions expressed in these interviews are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), or the U.S. Government.  The placement of these interviews on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website does not imply the endorsement of one particular organization, author, product, or service over another. 


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