The line that used to separate work life from personal life is growing fainter. Employee-assistance programs, drug and alcohol counseling, and work-and-family programs all cross that line. So do benefits like those offered by Hemmings Motor News. The Bennington, Vt., publisher offers a series of seminars to help its 105 employees manage their lives better.
In the past few years, the company's employees have attended brown-bag lunchtime seminars on low-fat cooking, nutrition for kids, investing, and more. Usually, from 10 to 20 workers have attended each session. Among the most popular seminars were an unusual weight-control seminar called "Food: Friend or Foe" and a discussion group on menopause.
Hemmings's volunteer health team arranges the seminars, drawing ideas from occasional companywide surveys and from employees' evaluations of previous seminars. For instance, instruction on reading nutrition labels was added to a weight watchers' seminar at a worker's suggestion. A local bank manager discussed investment, for free, and a nutritionist from a nearby wellness center charges Hemmings less than $100 a visit. Occasionally, as topics require a more expensive speaker, Hemmings charges workers a small fee to attend, but 50% of it is reimbursable under the company's fitness benefit.
Why should an employee's weight or personal investments or, of all things, menopause be a manager's concern? Hemmings's handbook explains, "The Company gains much from energetic, healthy employees." And the program is a low-cost way to engender loyalty through a unique corporate culture.* * *