Jayme Mayo is on a mission. Mayo is the director of wellness at Nabholz Construction, and for more than eight years she has been successfully leading the charge for a healthier workforce.
Not only is she using her expertise to help Nabholz but also Arkansans as a whole. Mayo is one of several key advocates who have partnered with the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, the Arkansas Department of Health, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement to develop a 10-year plan to promote healthy eating and active living in Arkansas.
Her credentials are notable—she is a physician assistant with degrees in physical therapy, exercise and medicine—but she also grew up as a part of the Nabholz family, her father having been a part of the company for more than 40 years.
Nabholz Construction was founded in 1949 in central Arkansas and now has offices in five states and works in 45 states. From the beginning, Mayo said, the company has been recognized for its commitment to its employees. In fact, Nabholz received the Governor’s Work-Life Balance Award in Arkansas in 2008. As a part of its commitment to its employees, Nabholz established a wellness program in 2007 and hired Mayo as its director.
Nabholz started out using the typical wellness program model where employees received points for certain behaviors, such as participating in a 5K or donating blood. However, it was found that this type of program had poor participation and simply wasn’t working. So in 2010, Mayo moved from a participation-based to an outcomes-based program. The focus was on the areas where insurance costs and claims indicated the highest needs: tobacco use, obesity, glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure.
This move to an outcomes-based program was the key to success. All employees are strongly encouraged to get bi-annual screenings, and they currently have a 99 percent participation rate. Additionally, they started offering monetary incentives for improvements in the focus areas as well as including employees’ spouses, who are also covered under their insurance. Nabholz has now saved more than $1 million a year in insurance costs the past five years, and employees are receiving money for their continued health improvements.
Mayo and her team—which now includes a personal trainer, a dietician and an administrative assistant—use data to drive their priorities. They examine where the most insurance dollars are used and then look for ways to address those specific problems. Much of their effort is in educating employees and their spouses about community resources, such as where to find appropriate care in that community’s region.
The biggest challenge for the employees, Mayo said, is chronic disease management. Many of their workers travel for projects that may be far from home for months at a time. Getting prescription refills and keeping up with healthy routines is difficult under those circumstances, but the company is currently examining ways to address those needs.
Mayo said her team’s gift is their people skills. They hand deliver many of the screening results and work individually with many of the company’s employees (numbering more than 1,000) to address their specific health needs, offering education, coaching and encouragement. Mayo sees Nabholz employees as her family, and she is proud of the company’s commitment to that family’s health and well-being. She said it is “doing the right thing by our people.”
The success of this program is now nationally recognized. Nabholz was featured in the HBO documentary series Weight of the Nation, and companies around the country call on Mayo and Nabholz to help them establish their own wellness programs. At a time when our country is facing a health crisis in so many areas, an Arkansas company is leading the way to a healthier future.
Read more from Angie Albright at A Growing Season.