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For a small manufacturing company with fewer than 40 employees, Oshkosh-based Corrim Company has made an impressive entry into the world of workplace wellness.

The 37-employee manufacturer of industrial-grade commercial doors and frames won the small employer category of New North B2B magazine’s 12th Annual Corporate Wellness Awards.

With the assistance of its wellness program partner at Aurora Health Care, Corrim serves up a wellness offering that many employers double to triple its size don’t provide.

“For a company of that size, they have made great use of their vendor to enhance their offerings,” said Mark Geiger, a regional wellness supervisor with Menasha-based Network Health and one the award panelists. “That to me is very noteworthy. When I was looking at the offerings they have, I assumed they were much bigger (than 37 employees).”

Bob Gluth, president and owner of Corrim, recognized using the expertise of an outside vendor is important for a company his size.

“We’re able to draw on all the resources Aurora has for a lot of our programming,” Gluth said. “It really makes sense for any company, but especially for a company like ours, to work with a good third party.”

“They’re working smarter, not harder,” added David Brand, an employee benefits specialist with Appleton-based Valley Insurance Associates and long-time B2B Corporate Wellness Awards panelist.

Brand and Geiger were both particularly impressed by Corrim’s idea that employees were automatically enrolled in the wellness program and needed to actively opt out of it, rather than the practice at most employers where employees are asked to opt in to the wellness program.

“It’s not a mandatory program. It’s voluntary, but you have to opt out. That creates a different environment,” Geiger said.

Gluth emphasized that the concept is intentional. “The idea is to encourage people to be proactive about their health,” Gluth said.

The judges liked the fact that Corrim faced head-on the negative results of employees’ 2016 wellness assessments and is modifying its wellness program to address those issues.

The company discovered 27 percent of its participating employees smoke cigarettes – well above the national average of 9 percent. The company also discovered that 12 participants do not have a primary care provider, which can lead to a lack of preventative care and necessary vaccinations. But Corrim is intent on helping employees improve those measurements.

On the other hand, Corrim employees scored surprisingly well in several categories:

* 60 percent of participants have a healthy blood pressure reading.

* 44 percent of participants have a healthy HDL reading.

* 78 percent of participants have total cholesterol within the healthy range, a sharp increase from 60 percent in 2015.

* 69 percent of participants fall into the overweight or obese category for body mass index – which, although still high – is down from 81 percent in 2015. 

It’s an admirable improvement, Brand noted.

The early success of Corrim’s wellness program owes much to Gluth’s top-down support and communication with employees, said Shelly Birling, human resources manager at Corrim.

“We hold all-employee meetings to inform our employees on health care spending and the outcomes of our wellness program efforts,” Birling said. “A recent example of this includes gathering our employees together to discuss health plan changes. The employees provided input via a confidential survey that the owner took into consideration when implementing the health plan changes.”

Gluth said he acknowledges the importance of a strong wellness program to enhance the company’s success on several levels.

“It will almost certainly bring down our health care costs, but more than that, it will make for healthier and happier employees, and that is going to help us succeed as a company in the long run,” Gluth said. “That’s an important commitment with me.”