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McCormick Employees’ Health and Wellness Is a Top-Shelf Priority

As the world’s leading flavor company, McCormick & Co. Inc. has a deep affinity for spices—and a commitment to inspire healthy menu choices around the globe. McCormick’s interest in healthy habits begins close to home with a number of programs designed to keep employees feeling great.

Joan Hovatter, the corporate manager of health and wellness at McCormick and a certified nurse practitioner, oversees those programs for the company’s 3,500 U.S. employees, under the banner of “Ingredients for Health.” She also leads the “Spice Up Your Wellness Challenge,” a 12-week nutrition and fitness challenge, where employees can win prizes for making healthy lifestyle changes.

Hovatter, who joined McCormick four years ago, said, “At the end of the day, we all work with spices for a living, and spices are also a big part of healthy eating, so we wanted our employee wellness programs to reflect that.”

The McCormick Health and Wellness Center, staffed by physicians, nurses and medical assistants, offers a unique depth of programs for employees including annual health screenings, group nutrition and fitness classes, and one-on-one health coaching for employees or immediate family members with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

McCormick offers employees the Patients, Pharmacists Partnerships—or P3 Program working with the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The program provides free consultations with pharmacists to help employees with diabetes or heart disease who rely on insulin or other types of medication to control the condition. The program helps employees make healthier lifestyle changes and better manage their drug therapy regimens. 

McCormick is implementing healthier meal choices and redesigning cafeteria menus, including offering spices and herbs for employees to use in place of the salt shaker.  Providing the same healthier food choices in vending machines and during company meetings is a next step in the healthy eating initiative. The company even takes a “spice” approach to employees’ well-being— a clever acronym, courtesy of an employee contest, describes McCormick Health and Wellness Center’s employee program offerings in true McCormick fashion: S.P.I.C.E. (Stretch your mind, Prevent illness, Implement healthy eating, Change your knowledge, Exercise).

“We recognize that many of our employees need to make changes to improve their health,” said Hovatter. “Our goal is to make it easier for them to make healthier choices at work, while educating and motivating them to make positive changes at home.” 

Aggregate data (unidentified participants) from annual health screenings has shown the employee population has higher health risks for diabetes and heart disease compared to the national average.   Wellness programs are beginning to show results. Results from the 2013 health screening showed that efforts from McCormick Health & Wellness helped decrease the number of employees with prediabetes to from 40% in 2012 to 32% of employees screened.

She said, “We’re seeing healthier, happier employees that are feeling better along with reduced healthcare costs and fewer absences. Our next health screening will be the true test of how we’ve impacted employee health.”

Due to their health and wellness efforts, McCormick was named one of Baltimore’s Healthiest Employers by the Baltimore Business Journal and received that CIGNA Wellbeing award for two consecutive years.   According to Hovatter, it’s McCormick’s encouragement, resources and programs that empowers employees to make healthier choices and manage their health conditions.

She said, “At McCormick, that makes all the difference in the world.”

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