Worthen Industries Creates a Wellness Culture that Achieves 80% Employee Engagement and Remarkable Outcomes and Savings

With the firm belief that healthy employees are happier, safer, and more engaged workers, Worthen Industries made wellness a top priority over a decade ago.

Worthen wanted a comprehensive wellness program designed to improve individual health and wellbeing, prevent chronic diseases, and positively impact the quality of life of its employees and their families. Worthen also strived to attract and maintain an engaged employee base to promote long-term productivity, employee retention, and health care cost reduction. Being self-insured, Worthen wanted to control insurance costs while also creating a more “adhesive” culture of wellbeing and camaraderie among employees spread out over multiple states. Not only did Worthen want wellness to be the common thread that ties everything together, they also wanted wellness and safety to be seamless and integrated. By any measure, Worthen’s wellness efforts have been successful.

Program Approach

Worthen had developed an internal wellness program that did not achieve tangible outcomes and thus the leadership reached out to OMC Wellness, a Wellness Workdays Company, to help them develop an effective strategy and implement the approach.

The OMC Wellness Account Team designed the program strategy and implementation plan after assessing the population needs, health care costs and trends, and after speaking with leadership, employee interest groups, Worthen’s benefits consultant, and other stakeholders.

Providing wellness to a diverse and dispersed manufacturing population with different benefit plans meant that the program had to be inclusive and flexible. In addition, since employees involved in manufacturing have a hard time leaving their workstation, the challenges were even greater.

Worthen leadership felt that the program needed to be based on data, integrated with benefits, and provide an outcomes-based approach with incentives. As a family-oriented business, Worthen wanted to be sure that spouses, families, and all remote sites felt a part of the culture, and that wellness contributed to a wellness and safety culture that included a wellness-focus at new staff orientations, team huddles, and safety meetings.

The 5 key program areas they focused on are:
1. Communication & Engagement at All Levels
2. Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
3. Stress & Resilience
4. A Culture of Health & Safety
5. Preventative Screenings


About Worthen Industries

For well over a century, Worthen Industries has been engineering ground-breaking adhesives, coatings, and thermoplastic extrusion - distinguishing themselves since 1866 as a service-driven company for developing high-quality specialty solutions throughout the marketplace. They are a family-owned, highly diversified manufacturing company headquartered in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Decades of investment in R&D (research and development), state-of-the-art facilities, talented employees, and dedication to customer service have helped Worthen become and remain a leading adhesives manufacturer. Worthen has over 300 employees at 5 manufacturing locations operating in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Michigan with sales and distribution centers worldwide. Worthen serves clients in the footwear, apparel, coated textiles, medical appliances, automotive, and construction industries.

The success of the third-generation family-owned business begins with the incredible support and care for its employees, provided by Worthen’s leadership. “It is our goal that everyone leaves work happier and healthier than they came in,” says Eric Worthen, President, Worthen Industries.


Through an engaged wellness committee, the program offers one-on-one in-person health coaching, biometric screenings, team challenges, lunch and learns, flu shots, and vaccination education clinics. Worthen’s dedicated leadership team supports and participates in all events and initiatives, such as recreational community group activities, charity events, on-site employee gardens, and wellness barbecues. All wellness programming is offered to employees during work time.

Tabling, wellness stations, and communications such as leadership announcements, handouts, challenge leaderboards, quizzes, newsletters, and bite-size educational content (flyers, table tents, trivia, short videos) are all part of the integrated wellness culture. Employees earn incentives through participation in the coaching program. Further discounts are applied for biometrics that fall into increasingly healthy ranges.

Over the past 10 years, over 80% of employees and 75% of spouses have participated in Worthen’s wellness program – taking actions to improve their health by eating healthy, losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking, attending doctor visits, addressing mental health, and much, much more. Relationship-building with OMC’s onsite health coaches has been key to keeping momentum towards positive behavior change.

Critical Success Factors

  1. Coaches visit the manufacturing floor (safely!) when employees are too busy to come to them.
  2. The Wellness Committee is made up of people that represent the diverse population and various locations.
  3. Company-wide challenges promote collaboration, teamwork and cover a wide array of well-being topics, including nutrition, exercise, weight maintenance, financial literacy, mindfulness, and more!
  4. Strategic communications support wellness messaging.
  5. Engaged leadership demonstrates support for the wellness program through participation and resources.

Coaching Outcomes

According to Eric Worthen, “Employee wellness is not only the right thing to do morally, it is the right business decision as well. A workforce that is healthier is more productive, innovative, and progressive than one that is not which translates to the bottom line.”

And this has proven to be the case…

  • More than 80% of employees and 75% of spouses participate in the wellness program1
  • 60% of the population have moved into lower risk categories1
  • 70% of the population with diagnosed hypertension reduced their BP to acceptable levels1
  • 50% fewer people reported experiencing depressive episodes1
  • 43% reported less binge drinking1
  • 33% reported less stress1
  • 27% decrease in employees with metabolic syndrome1
  • 26% felt higher life satisfaction1
  • 25% quit smoking1
  • Measured productivity savings of more than $118,000 per year2
  • Average decreased medical spend of approximately $70,000 per year3



Employee Testimonials

“I have smoked for 45 years and have known for a while that I needed to quit. The turning point for me was when my granddaughter began asking me if I would quit for her. After meeting with my health coach for an initial session, I began the process to make this happen. I have now been smoke-free for over 6 months! I sleep much better, find it easier to be active, and no longer feel short of breath. I am extremely happy I did this and I am never going to look back.”


“I always felt that work was enough activity for me and that I didn’t have to do anything else to maintain my health. However, when I met with the health coach, I realized my blood pressure was very high and I needed to lose weight. It was a big wake up call for me. I discussed possible goals I could set with my health coach to work on lowering my blood pressure and weight. We finally set a goal to exercise more as an attempt to improve my health, and it has really worked!
Since that meeting with my health coach, I have been going to the park an average of 4 days a week for 1-2 hours at a time and doing a combination of strength and cardio exercises. Since I have been doing this consistently, I feel about 10 years younger, more able to do the activities I enjoy, and confident that I will be around to watch my grandkids grow up. I truly believe the wellness program is a great thing for Worthen employees!!”



The Bottom Line

Worthen continues to put employees first and encourages a culture of inclusiveness and appreciation for its workforce.


1Based on biometric and other personal health assessment data.
2Measured using protocols documented in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine through studies on risks and their impact on productivity.
3Based on objective clinical measures and supported by research by Dee Edington from the University of Michigan demonstrating that decreases in certain health risks lead to decreased medical spend.


Debra Wein, MS, RDN, CWPD, is CEO and founder of Wellness Workdays, and a nationally recognized expert on employee health and well-being. Debra writes and speaks regularly on corporate wellness topics and can be reached at 781.741.5483 or [email protected].

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