The unexpected upside of wellness at Puget Sound Energy
By: Mady Peterson
When it comes to whole-person well-being, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) just gets it. Since myWellness at PSE launched with Limeade four years ago, the leading energy company in the Pacific Northwest has measurably improved physical, emotional and financial health. More than 82 percent of eligible employees participate — and an annual employee survey proves the program has directly impacted employees’ positive perceptions of their employer.
But sustaining participation year after year is no easy task. To keep the program fresh and relevant, PSE worked with Limeade to integrate with an evolving suite of well-being vendors to personalize the experience for individuals.
Preventing Injuries with Vimocity
Many PSE employees have physically strenuous jobs — whether they’re in the field keeping the power on or at a desk keeping customers happy. To provide their employees with the resources to move and feel their best, the PSE safety department partnered with Vimocity to launch the “PSE Athlete” program. Vimocity takes innovative injury prevention techniques derived from elite athletes and brings them directly to the PSE workforce through interactive education.
To promote PSE Athlete and drive utilization, PSE used Limeade technology to target employees with Vimocity classes that best fit their job tasks.
Employees working in the field — primarily represented (union) employees — were invited to performance classes geared toward helping them move better and perform job tasks safely.
Those based in office environments were invited to workshops that showed them basic steps they could take on a daily basis to prevent stiffness and soreness often associated with sitting and excessive technology use.
Employees located in smaller, remote locations where in-person classes weren’t offered, were provided with massage tools and digital resources.
“Regeneration Stations” were also placed throughout PSE campuses to provide an array of massage tools and instructions for relieving stiffness and soreness during micro-breaks throughout the day.
Once employees participate in the program, they are awarded points in the myWellness program. Since the Limeade Vimocity challenge launched, more than 800 PSE field employees have participated in the program. And 98 percent of myWellness at PSE participants report they feel a positive impact on their bodies after going through the first workshop.
“With the Limeade and Vimocity integration, employees are feeling good and being recognized without having to jump through an extra hoop. And with automated data feeds, it removes our work on the back-end. The ability to verify activities also adds validity and integrity to the myWellness at PSE program,” said Michele Ritala, health and welfare program manager at PSE.
Reducing financial stress with SmartDollar
PSE knows the impact that financial concerns can have on stress and overall well-being. So they invested in SmartDollar — an online financial wellness program that helps participants make the most of their money. SmartDollar combines education and innovative tools to help motivate and inspire employees to start budgeting, saving, and paying off debt.
To promote the program and drive participation, PSE launched a “Spring into Green” campaign through myWellness to incentivize employees to participate. In the first year, 32 percent of PSE employees participated in SmartDollar. Employee outcomes from this group include:
Over one million dollars of financial turnaround
$375,587 in total debt eliminated
23 percent increase in confidence toward personal finances
A 12 percent increase in participants prepared for a $1,000 emergency
Supporting business objectives & the community
When Puget Sound residents conserve energy, they save money. It also helps PSE keep costs down. They encourage customers to be energy efficient through instant rebates, valuable offers, useful energy efficiency tips and more.
They also realize the impact of their own employees. So PSE and the City of Bellevue (where PSE’s headquarters is based) launched the Urban Smart Bellevue program, aimed to reduce the number of kilowatts used per day by businesses and people in downtown Bellevue. They used Limeade technology to target Bellevue-based employees to participate with the “Take Flight Stair Climb Challenge.” The program was backed with strong executive support. Booga Gilbertson, senior vice president of operations, sponsored the challenge, which rewarded employees for skipping the elevator and taking the stairs instead.
“Anything with a well-being angle that we can possibly work with — we want it in myWellness at PSE. And I now have other departments proactively coming to me, asking to partner on their objectives. It’s a testament to the power of the program and instrumental in entrenching the well-being message in our culture,” said Ritala.
Puget Sound Energy was named a 2017 Limelight Award Winner in the “Fresh Innovation” category. The annual awards honor large employers leading the way in employee well-being. To learn more about the Limelight Awards, click here.