Blog: Dave LeggettBacon roll? No, I was looking for a stick of celery...

Dave Leggett | 11 August 2009

Here’s something that caught my eye. Cummins Inc. has been honoured by the US National Business Group on Health as one of the nation's leading corporations for innovative programs promoting a healthy workplace and for helping its employees and their families to make better choices about their own health and well-being.

Very laudable.

"When we provide employees with the tools to lead healthier lifestyles, we both win," said Jill Cook, Cummins' Vice President, Human Resources. "Employees, as consumers of healthcare, and Cummins both benefit from lower healthcare costs. Wellness programs provide a way to keep costs down in an environment where they are always rising."

Cummins health improvement programs include health coaching, disease management, smoking cessation, weight management and expert medical opinion services. Cummins' innovative Total Health Training Camp and online decision support tools help employees receive high-quality care.

How times have changed. But it’s interesting to reflect on the interests of the employee and employer and where the lines of responsibility are.

There’s a kind of feedback loop here that certainly cannot do any harm (I’d imagine the employees feel good about a ‘caring’ employer).

Let me have some gentle fun with the notion of corporate responsibility potentially crossing paths with individual lifestyles. How far could it go? Employers could start to look even more closely at health risk factors when hiring in order to reduce health costs later on. Do you smoke? Do you drink alcohol – how much? Bacon roll or stick of celery? Do you exercise regularly? (‘I walk to the pub sometimes’ is probably not the answer they are looking for.)

I am being a bit facetious, of course. If employers like Cummins see a common interest with employee in helping their employees get healthier, well that’s overwhelmingly a good thing.

Some of us need all the help we can get. Anyway, who's up for a few beers and a curry after work tonight?


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