F&M Trust: Making the workplace well

F&M Trust’s Teresa Kable (left) and Karen Carmack (right) head the community bank’s wellness efforts, which include health evaluations and massages. Photos: Ryan Smith

F&M Trust has been recognized nationally for its wellness program, which gives employees at the Chambersburg, Pa., community bank a variety of benefits to improve their health and their workplace.

By Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Name: F&M Trust
Assets: $1.2 billion
Location: 22 offices in southern and central Pennsylvania

Through its award-winning wellness program, F&M Trust in Chambersburg, Pa., shows how much it cares about its employees. But the $1.2 billion-asset community bank also saves significant sums on healthcare costs.

F&M Trust was recently honored with the Wellness Council of America’s Well Workplace Award for its “results-oriented” approach to wellness, backed by a “thoughtful operational strategy” that includes dedicated resources and volunteers from all levels of the organization, according to Sara Martin Rauch, the council’s director of strategic initiatives.

What really stands out is F&M Trust’s approach to wellness, which is “rooted in the belief that employees should not have to choose between doing their jobs and living a healthy lifestyle,” Rauch says. “Many wellness strategies are rooted in the belief that employee health and wellness make good business sense, but fewer are able to demonstrate that they are designed around genuine caring for employees.”

Rauch cites a report by Quantum Workplace and Limeade that found when employees believe their employer cares about their health and well-being, they are 38 percent more engaged, 10 times less likely to be hostile, 17 percent more likely to still be working there in a year and 28 percent more likely to recommend their workplace—important in a tight labor market.

Quick stat

Employees are 38%

more engaged when they believe their employer cares about their well-being

Source: Quantum Workplace and Limeade

Karen Carmack, F&M Trust’s chief human resources officer, agrees that the community bank’s wellness program speaks volumes about its commitment to the welfare of all its employees.

“We’re also not just focused on the physical aspect, such as losing weight, but our wellness program is much more holistic, with programs to help with stress management, including guided meditation and onsite chair massages,” Carmack says.

F&M Trust partners with Interactive Health to provide a web portal with health-action campaigns and education webinars that employees can access any time, says Teresa Kable, the community bank’s human resources generalist, who heads F&M Trust’s wellness committee.

“Campaigns can be for physical activities, such as step challenges, or personal nutrition challenges, such as Color Your Plate, encouraging them to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables,” says Kable, who is a certified wellness and health coach, and a certified worksite wellness specialist.

Prevention is better than cure

F&M Trust offers its employees free health evaluations that include onsite biometric screening and health risk assessments. Additional benefits of the program include onsite flu shots, health and wellness coaching, and a tobacco cessation program—all at no cost to employees.

Employees who are members of a gym get reimbursed up to $300 a year if they attend a minimum number of times.

The 18-year-old program began with a week-long employee health and benefits fair, but after employees requested more, the community bank expanded benefits and made the program year-round, Carmack says. It then created a wellness committee comprised of 16 employees of different levels to help design and implement the program.

Carmack adds that the wellness program has helped F&M Trust reduce the cost of its health insurance. The community bank participates in a self-insured consortium with other banks, and while it funds upfront at the maximum level, each year F&M Trust is reimbursed for the amount the bank did not spend in healthcare claims. In 2018, the bank received a surplus of around $922,000, which equated to about $77,000 a month in savings. “Every year we’ve gotten back very healthy surplus amounts, attributable to our wellness efforts,” Carmack says.

Kable and Carmack relax at the Chambers’ Wellness Center salt cave.

Employees enrolled in the community bank’s health insurance plan receive an annual premium discount of more than $1,000 if they participate in an annual biometric screening and maintain a score within a healthy range, Kable says.

However, if someone has a hereditary issue, such as high cholesterol, that causes them to have a lower health score, they can get an alternative solution. This sign-off from their doctor will enable them to still receive a premium discount if they follow their doctor’s orders, such as keeping their cholesterol level in check through medication. “They also participate in the wellness program in some way,” Kable says. “We have some activities that everyone can participate in, such as a water-drinking challenge, so we’re mindful of these issues.”

She says employees complete a health interest survey every year to gauge what they want to get out of the program, as well as things they may want to change. “The younger generation coming into the bank might want to do things differently than what we have done in the past,” says Kable.

How banks can reach their wellness goals

Any community bank hoping to replicate F&M Trust’s successes should make sure it first understands the needs of its employees and its organizational objectives, Rauch says.
“Then they should strategically set goals and chose interventions that will ensure success at achieving that value story,” she says.

Companies considering implementing a wellness program should work with their health insurance partner, “so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Carmack says. Secondly, they should get employees at all levels involved, including getting buy-in from senior management and encouraging more workers to participate.

Most importantly, companies should fully commit to these initiatives. “Part of the reason we’ve been successful and were awarded for it is that we’ve been consistent for the past 18 years,” Carmack says. “This is not something you put in place one year [and then] stop because you think you’re not going to get anything. It’s very much a long-term gain you get with health and wellness.”

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a writer in California.