‘Tis the season to celebrate! In this issue of the HERO Briefs, the HERO team pauses to celebrate and reflect on all we’ve accomplished together–with you our members–in 2016. We also look ahead and identify some new opportunities for members to get involved in 2017.

At least 112 organizations participated in HERO committees in the past year, and as a member-driven organization, we’d like to thank all of you who contributed to this collective good work. Due in large part to our members, we’ve completed new research, demonstrated new ways to collaborate, and shined light on the many organizations that are committed to providing their employees and the communities around them with an environment that fosters health and well-being. What’s so terrific about HERO is that we manage to have so much fun along the way! A picture is worth a thousand words so click here for a visual review of our activities of the past year.

Year in Review

Research is literally HERO’s middle name, and we’re excited to have moved the needle on several research initiatives in the past year.

  • A research study linking high scores on the HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer (HERO Scorecard) was published in the January issue of JOEM.
  • HERO also collaborated with organizations to reach consensus around EEOC proposed regulations and published their views in the March issue of JOEM.
  • HERO staff and member organizations were featured in six issues of The Art of Health Promotion section of AJPH providing practical guidance to employers on topics related to well-being, the value proposition for employer investment in employee health, and emerging innovations in the field.

The HERO Scorecard is HERO’s way to track employer trends in their health and well-being efforts, and we completed several initiatives this year.

  • In February, HERO partnered with Mercer to successfully launch an International Version of the HERO Scorecard. Nearly 120 organizations have submitted data to the online tool so far this year.
  • The HERO Scorecard Preferred Provider program was revitalized this year with a training series and numerous tools developed to help Preferred Provider organizations optimize their use of the HERO Scorecard to provide benchmarking and strategic planning support to employers.
  • In September, HERO released the 2016 HERO Scorecard Progress Report, which summarizes insights gleaned from quarterly analyses based on HERO Scorecard data.

In 2017, we will continue work in progress on research studies devoted to understanding best practices related to use of incentives to drive employee participation in programs and leverage HERO Scorecard data to identify health and well-being practices most highly associated with organizational outcomes.

Educational offerings are a valued benefit for HERO members, and can be grouped into four core opportunities including HERO Forum, Think Tank meetings, webinars, and committees.

  • HERO Forum16 attracted 507 attendees to participate in 62 unique sessions delivered by 132 presenters. Satisfaction ratings continue to be very high, and the HERO Forum16 Proceedings captures some of the most popular sessions.
  • HERO offers three Think Tank events each year, attracting approximately 80 attendees at each event for interactive discussions focused on specific themes. The Winter Think Tank focused on the Future of Work and the Workplace; the summer Research Think Tank focused on Well-Being and the Big ‘How’, and the Fall Think Tank focused on 2016 Atlanta Think Tank Sustainability Agenda Roundtable Notes
  • Wednesday Webinars feature an interactive format with industry subject matter experts, researchers, and innovative employers. Nine webinars were offered in 2016 and all of them were recorded and archived for access by HERO members.
  • Many organizations join HERO out of a desire to give back to the profession they are passionate about and HERO Committees offer numerous opportunities to do so. This past year, 112 organizations participated in one of HERO’s many committees. All of them offer ample opportunities to network with peers, learn what leading experts or innovators are doing in the field, and contribute to new knowledge that is disseminated through a wide variety of publications.

Keep reading for a summary of educational events and opportunities to get more involved in 2017.

HERO Winter Think Tank (members only event) – February 23-24, 2017 – San Antonio, TX

While many industries are well known for their deep reliance on the voice of their consumers, employee health and well-being initiatives have arguably been oriented toward a business case responsive to the needs of the employer. Does the movement “from wellness to well-being” signal a shift away from costly employee risks to the organizational value added if we better tap employee assets, needs, and diversity? The HERO Think Tank will be heading for the grand vistas of Texas to wrangle in such expansive thoughts. If your organization’s health and well-being initiatives were entirely employee-centered, how would they be different? If companies no longer paid for health care, would they still invest in employee health? These are just an inkling of questions this Think Tank is designed to address. We may not return from San Antonio with all the answers, but we will “stirrup” the conversation and round up a huge herd of ideas for continuous quality improvement in our field. Follow these links for the working agenda or to register now.

HEROForum17 – September 12-14, 2017 – Phoenix, AZ

The HEROForum17 call for proposals is now open, and we are seeking contributions that advance our conference theme, “Engagement and the Emerging Workforce”. In keeping with HERO’s reputation as a host of a learning experience that is practical and thought-provoking as well as agenda-setting for our field, we will be offering an eclectic number of conference tracks with learning objectives that advance our theme and address other timely issues in health and well-being: diversity and workforce engagement; measures that matter; skills, motivation, autonomy; sustainability; and well-being. You can start your HEROForum17 submission here.

New Committees to Launch in 2017

A refreshed research agenda often leads to the formation of new study committees. For 2017, HERO will refresh a current study committee to address one of the three priority areas on the research agenda; the Health, Performance & Productivity Study Committee will become the Workplace Performance Study Committee (WP). The WP Committee will seek to understand the relationship between workforce health strategies and employee and organizational well-being, performance, and productivity. This includes research demonstrating how workforce health and well-being efforts advance strategic business performance objectives as well as individual employee performance. The specific charter and deliverables will be defined by the newly formed committee in 2017, which will be co-chaired by Jack Groppel and Josh Glynn.

Two additional ad hoc committees will form in 2017: Policy Committee and Public Relations Committee. The Policy Committee, chaired by Laurie Whitsel, will convene in early 2017 to discuss the AARP challenge to EEOC rules relating to data privacy, as well as the Orion Energy decision concerning voluntariness and safe harbor protections related to their use of wellness incentives. The Public Relations Committee will convene to develop a more strategic public relations strategy to both proactively engage media in the value of wellness, as well as more thoughtfully distribute the output from HERO committees.

If you are interested in joining one or more of these committees, please send an email to Emily Wolfe.

HERO and WELCOA Member Benefits

HERO and WELCOA have joined forces to ensure its members have access to not only the best resources and information available, but also the best prices. HERO members can now receive exclusive access to discounts on select WELCOA Group Memberships (up to 35%) and Products (up to 10%).  To take advantage of this special offer, please contact Brenda Lerouge at blerouge@welcoa.org and be sure to mention HERO.  There has never been a better time to harness the power of wellness with the nation’s two leading organizations for worksite wellness. The time is now to create a healthier, happier and more productive workforce.

Harvard Collaborates with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and NPR to Address Health in the Workplace

This Forum event drew on the findings of a just released poll about the workplace and health by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. A panel of experts in workplace culture and public opinion took on the concerns most expressed by employees – as well as described lessons learned from employers that cultivate healthy environments – to see if there are feasible measures to produce a more accessible, supportive, healthier workplace. Click here for a summary and recorded webinar from the event.

CDC Launches New Workplace Health in America Survey

Want to enhance your health promotion programs? Or find out what other workplaces are doing to support employee health? Funded by the CDC National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health, the Workplace Health in America survey is a comprehensive, national survey of health promotion programs and practices implemented by employers across the U.S. Your worksite might be selected to participate, and you will receive access to a free digital data dashboard as well as an exclusive report if you complete the survey. The last survey of its kind was conducted in 2004. To learn more, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/data-surveillance/index.html.


HERO Scorecard Commentary

What are the latest trends in the health and well-being field and what influence do best practices have on organizational outcomes? Mercer’s Director of Research, Health & Benefits, Beth Umland, shares the results of an analysis conducted on the benchmarking data from the HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer. This commentary features an analysis linking scores on the HERO Scorecard to outcomes such as organizational turnover and health care cost trends. Read the full commentary here.

7 Tips to Drive Personal Engagement and Performance

HERO member, Dr. Jack Groppel, was featured in an interview published in Inc.com, which focused on ways to become more engaged and energized in one’s life. As co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, Jack is an internationally recognized expert in the science of human performance. Read here to discover Jack’s seven recommendations for boosting one’s personal performance.


Workplace Well-Being Predictions for 2017

HERO member organization, Virgin Pulse, recently tapped members of their Scientific Advisory Board to share their predictions about the future of workplace well-being. Their predictions were shared in an article authored by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, President and Chief Medical Officer at Virgin Pulse, which was published in Benefits Pro. Read here to learn what the group of international scholars and researchers, including HERO Board Chair Dr. Ron Goetzel, had to say about what’s coming for the field in 2017.



I recently had a chance to enjoy lunch with Laura Putnam, CEO of Motion Infusion and one of our presenters at this year’s HERO Forum. Among our varied topics of discussion were collaboration and the importance of supportive and transformative leaders to encourage individual and organizational growth. In this season of giving, take a moment to consider the people and organizations that have most contributed to your personal and professional growth. How would you like to give back or pay it forward in 2017? There are many new opportunities emerging at HERO and if you haven’t been an active contributor in the past year, we hope you’ll consider getting more involved in the year ahead.

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