Small Businesses Invited to Attend Wellness Conference

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:39 pm

The Wellness Council of Wisconsin will present its 16th annual Wellness Conference on Tuesday, Sept. 16, at the Country Springs Hotel in Waukesha. So far, 300 business leaders are registered for the conference to learn how to use wellness programs to lower their health care costs. Attendance for the conference will be capped at 540.

About half the businesses in attendance each year are first-time attendees.

An increasing number of businesses are creating wellness programs to encourage their employees to live healthier lifestyles, which the businesses hope will improve employee work attendance and productivity. In addition, healthier employees go to the doctor less often, and therefore make fewer health insurance claims. Businesses that reduce their number of insurance claims increase their ability to negotiate lower health insurance costs, some experts say.  

"(During the conference) we try to offer sessions that appeal to both companies first starting out in wellness and those who have been at it awhile and are more advanced," said Deb Seyler, executive director of the Wellness Council, which helps employers develop wellness programs.

Westfield-based Brakebush Brothers Inc. will be attending the conference for the first time.

"We had wellness programs for about five years, but we’re starting to take it to a new level," said Brakebush safety and wellness manager Megan Brakebush. "We’re looking for some tools to help our job, what to bring to the workplace and hopefully how to encourage corrective behavior."

After learning basic tools to educate their employees, many businesses choose to continue attending the conference for new and innovative ways to manage health care costs.

"It’s a good way to get started and a good way to continue to get new and improved ideas," said Amanda Melcher, direction of human resources at third-year attendee Green Bay-based La Force Inc.

Educating the business community about wellness is a continuing process, Seyler said.

"We have pretty good representation from all industries, but the least represented are small employers," Seyler said. "It might be that (small business owners) feel they don’t have the resources or expertise. That’s what this conference provides, though."

During the conference, keynote speaker Dr. Steven Aldana will speak about ways businesses can lower health care costs by encouraging their employees to make better lifestyle choices.

Aldana said he’ll speak to how lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use are key factors in preventing and reversing chronic disease. Lifestyle, he said, is the most prominent factor in who gets what diseases and why.

"Small Businesses can improve their productivity and reduce employee-related expenses by encouraging employees to have healthier lifestyles," Aldana said.

Small Business Times is a media sponsor for the Wellness Council Conference.

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