Since 1951, Merchandise Warehouse has been a 3rd generation, family owned Indiana business, specializing in multi-temperature services. Jennifer Foley is the companies Director of Wellness and is the granddaughter of the founder Howard D. Foley. She states that reducing smoking and promoting employee health has been woven into the Merchandise culture as a component for success.
“Six years ago, MW did not have a Wellness program, our company’s insurance was canceled due to the poor health of our employees. High insurance premiums can devastate smaller companies. For example, as a small business, if you have a couple of people needing cancer treatment and 4 employees with diabetes your costs can be astronomical. Small business is what built America. We must place more focus on prevention and tax breaks for creating “Well” companies that keep our economy strong. Merchandise Warehouse invests heavily in our biggest asset which is our employees.”
“Over the past 6 years we built a Wellness program with a primary focus on smoking cessation, employee engagement and personal responsibility. In the Warehousing and Logistics industry it is typical to have a high smoking rate. Last year out of 72 employees, 30 employees either stated they smoked or declined to take a nicotine screen offered at our company Bio Screen.”
“We are a tobacco free campus. We started this policy that about two years ago. We allow smoking to affect our smoking employee’s income. If an employee leaves the property they must clock out, if they clock out they do not get paid for breaks. We also offer a Wellness insurance incentive for employees who carry company insurance. Our company insurance covers 100 percent of the smoking cessation products covered in our health plan.
Making use of the cities TANF grant, a partnership has been created with Step Up Inc. In collaboration we use the grant monies to provide an addictions therapist onsite for Merchandise employees. MW has a direct referral relationship with St Francis Hospital who provide our employees onsite Bio Screen services, pre-employment screens and drug testing.
“In our industry high turnover rate is the norm, as of August 2018 we are at 32% turnover rate for the year. Employee engagement is a big piece of Wellness and tracking analytics from year to year is difficult.”
“This past month Merchandise Warehouse opened its second warehouse location in Pendleton, Indiana. Our company’s commitment to Wellness continues to remain the same. To make our company and my job easier we hope to see a collaboration across the state and effective public policy solutions to address smoking, especially raising the state’s cigarette tax.”
“We have a small Wellness budget, so creativity is of an upmost.” We follow a simple equation: happy employees, happy customers, happy company. We evaluate and look to future analytics to see if we are supporting a positive change in the health of our employees which in turn supports the bottom line financials for our company. “
“There are so many incredible programs supporting Indianapolis citizens. We need more connection, more bridges if you will that create a safety net and a united force creating healthier communities. Instead we operate separately, and services are underutilized. We are all connected, our state services need to be interconnected as well, more relationships between nor for profit and for profit, it works “