Recapping the third WHACC Round Table Discussion: HR and Wellness in 2018

Recapping the third WHACC Round Table Discussion: HR and Wellness in 2018

Our third 2018 WHACC AM Learning Series Round Table discussion was held on Tuesday, May 22 and focused on HR and Wellness.  Here’s a quick snapshot of this month’s Round Table discussion leaders

Bridgett Martis is a Senior Program Manager at ABB, where she helps build a diverse pipeline for the recruitment of top performing new graduates through the development and implementation of a vibrant co-op/internship program

David Pauer is Director of Wellness for the Employee Health Plan (EHP) of Cleveland Clinic. EHP covers healthcare and wellness expenses for more than 100,000 Cleveland Clinic employee Caregivers and their family members.

Michael A. Carter, is District Executive Director for the YMCA overseeing operations at Parker Hannifin Downtown, North Royalton and Warrensville Hts. Family YMCA.  He is a cause-driven professional focused on inspiring and mobilizing every community member, program/board volunteer and Y member/staff-everywhere the Y has a presence-to make our communities stronger.

Peter Young is a Senior Consultant at Paramount Preferred Solutions – an affiliate of Toledo-based ProMedica Health Systems.


Close to 20 business leaders attended this month’s lively discussion which focussed on recruiting tactics to grow a talent pipeline, how to engage millennials, and tips for retaining top talent.  We also dove into the informative topic of wellness plans – how they can lower healthcare costs and their viability for small and mid-sized businesses.

Here is a synopsis of what we learned from the four speakers:

Bridgett shared ABB’s experiences in growing an intern/co-op program over the past 6 years. The global company realized the value in building a talent pipeline, thus by focussing on a vibrant co-op/intern  program, and running it with real purpose, they could recruit and retain top talent, and offer students a real world experience. Bridgett quipped that this way both ABB and the students could “try before they

buy.” ABB went about this by raising their presence at local universities (e.g. CSU, CASE, U of Akron), targeting underserved populations, offering scholarships for high school students interested in engineering, and hiring a high school intern from the Tech Prep program. All with the intention of feeding up into their pipeline. Results? According to Bridgett the program “set on fire” – this year they hired close to 30 co-ops to add to their talent pool, the students love it, they’ve become employers of choice at the universities, and their students have become virtual and real time ambassadors. (See below For Talent Top Tips)

David discussed the Cleveland Clinic’s 13-year journey to becoming a healthier environment for patients, caregivers and overall community.  He focussed on the Employee Health Plan for caregivers and families which today has 100,000 individuals on the plan. Since its inception, health care costs at the CCF have plummeted from 7-9% increases down to 1.5% this year.    With their Healthy Choice program, employee caregivers and their spouses who participate in their program and have chronic conditions related to diabetes, asthma, tobacco use, high cholesterol, BMI over 27, or high blood pressure can get up to 30% off their health plan premiums. While this program is internal to CCF, they have begun to partner with a local city who will also implement their program.  The program partners with the Clinic’s Wellness Institute (open to all companies) and treats a variety of conditions such as stress management, sleep issues and healthy eating.

Michael discussed the YMCA’s holistic approach to wellness – combining lifestyle and career growth.  The YMCA believes in a personalized approach for each employee, to keeping it simple, integrating it with a company’s culture and providing quality communication and education on the importance of wellness to the employee and the company.  He shared the trials and tribulations of transforming the lowly vending machine into a health symbol because “people will eat what’s in front of them!” Michael also encouraged companies and agencies in the Warrensville Heights area to attack the issue collaboratively as it is was too large for businesses to tackle alone.  (see Wellness Top Tips below)

Peter shared some sobering statistics on the epidemic level of obesity in the US.  30% of our youth are obese or headed there. Boomers — and their related health issues due to ageing – are continuing to work longer which means that our incoming and current workforce is sicker – in fact, Ohio is the 40th oldest and sickest state in the country.  However, Peter shared some exciting news about a wellness grant from the state for up to 50 participants.  This is a great funding source for companies who have neither the resources nor the time and want to “dip their toes in the water of wellness.” The program includes biometric screens, health risk assessments and programming to address the concerns/health issues that come out of the data. (see Wellness Top Tips below)

Here are a summary of Top Tips for Small to Medium Businesses  which we gleaned from today’s AM Learning Session on HR and Wellness

Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

  • Invest in an intern or co-op program – it will fill your talent pipeline for years
  • There are grants for smaller businesses – e.g. Ohio Third Frontier, local colleges and universities, Y.O.U.
  • Be sure to compensate your students
  • Once hired provide Real World experience – structure the program so it’s valuable for students and the company. If you don’t provide students/new recruits what they’re looking for, they will be forced to go elsewhere.
  • Work collaboratively with the students to set goals – millennials crave feedback!
  • Incorporate networking, social events, informational interviews, special opportunities for the all-stars


  • All companies can participate – look for state grants.  There are resources out there for you.
  • You can’t manage wellness yourself – find a partner who knows how to engage your employees, promote healthier living, and protect confidential data
  • Set realistic wellness goals for the company and share them
  • If you really want to encourage participation you must provide incentives…it’s win-win
  • Start with the little things – e.g. lunchtime walks, healthy snacks, contests
  • Wellness can be an incentive to attract top talent
  • Not all employees will participate – but find an ambassador to speak up – tell their story.
  • Make the programs accessible, simple, and effective
  • Communication, education and training are key – create a culture of wellness

AM Learning Series Round Tables are absolutely free and open to the public.  The goal is to incorporate networking, open discussion, sharing content with all WHACC members and kicking off a committee to answer questions in the future.  

However, the number of attendees are limited to 20 to ensure a robust and worthwhile discussion. So be sure to register here for the June 26  AM Learning Series Round Table on Technology– so you won’t miss this important topic.

Peter, Michael and Bridgett, together with Maggie Delaney,  have all joined our new HR and Wellness Committee. If you have a question on these topics, just click here.  Start a conversation or join the discussion year-round.  

About WHACC Publisher

The Warrensville Heights Area Chamber of Commerce works to promote, enhance, and foster the growth of business in the area communities of Highland Hills, North Randall and Warrensville Heights, Ohio. Visit to subscribe, get involved, or join. Do you have news, updates, or opportunities you would like to share? We’re looking to our members to submit world-class content for our print newsletters, email newsletters, and social media channels. Please submit your business articles, tips, and resources to