Robert Ullman

When Morrell Builders partnered with Pride Mark Homes to create a third entity called Inde, a remodeling and building one-stop showroom near Rochester, N.Y., everyone on staff had plenty of work. “Employees weren’t exercising or even taking breaks for lunch or just to recharge,” says Inde business manager Beth Bird.

Habits like that take a toll on employees and on your business. Wellness — focusing on prevention — became a top priority for Pride Mark owner Jim Barbato and Morrell Builders’ owners Jeff and Scott Morrell.


For businesses with 50 to 250 employees, wellness can affect the bottom line. “For every dollar invested in wellness programs, there can be a $3 ROI,” says Julie Ciura, wellness coordinator for Lawley Benefits Group, in Buffalo, N.Y. But because of the way that smaller companies are rated (see sidebar) and underwritten, it’s more difficult for them to achieve this. “Smaller groups tend to do wellness programs because they care about their employees and their health. Or it might be a culture change and a value-add,” Ciura says.

Points & Puzzles

The Morrells and Barbato held a competition. They gave everyone a pedometer and created three giant puzzles, one for each company with its own logo. Every two weeks a smoker didn’t smoke or every “x” number of hours of exercise or pounds lost earned each team points and puzzle pieces.

After two months they held a companywide picnic and awarded prizes. “It was great to see the team members pull together to compete against the other companies in a fun atmosphere that benefited all of us,” says Barbato, whose Pride Mark team won. The companies are considering making the competition an annual event.

—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.