Lake Lanier Island Resorts’ Workers Benefit from Pedometer Walking Initiative

by: Nichole Gunn August 26, 2011

The benefits of exercise are numerous and include: weight control, improved mood, increased energy, better sleep, and help in combating health conditions and diseases.

Taking this and other available research demonstrating employer related benefits of a healthier workforce into account, last year CEO of Lake Lanier Island Resorts in Gainesville Virgil Williams initiated an employee health and wellness program. And, the newest feature of the initiative is a “pedometer-based walking program,” as reported by Insurance News Net.

Participating employees track their exercise using the pedometers and then input the data into an online portal. The data is monitored and the employees are provided individual wellness reports. This strategy helps the employees monitor their wellness activity progress.

As with most companies, Williams’ intent was to enhance his workforce’s health and thereby lower related healthcare and benefits costs. But, the program went beyond the initial intentions.

According to the news source, an in-house survey of the participants showed that over 80 percent of those on board cited feeling heightened levels of camaraderie due to their participation. Along with this, 72 percent cited a life-long lifestyle change as an accommodation to the pedometer walking.  And, 78 percent cited an increased feeling of company related morale. The study also found that after the program was implemented, workplace absenteeism rates decreased.

Focusing on the programs positive results, Williams broadened the initiative and designed the Legacy Wellness Program. This strategy includes guests into the healthy lifestyle movement; corporate retreat clients are offered the same walking program as his employees.

Williams told Insurance News that, “the goal of this unique program is to help educate and motivate as well as set and reach health and wellness goals."

A cancer survivor, Williams realizes that an effective employee wellness effort must include upper management; he motivates his employees by being an active participant in the program. He is also known to kick off staff meeting by initiating spur-of-the-moment aerobic challenges.

Healthiest Employers, a data and technology research company, monitors the effectiveness of corporate wellness programs such as that of Lake Lanier Island Resorts. And, the company just joined forces with the Dayton Business Journal for the first of a yearly Healthiest Employers challenge.

Employers who participated in the challenge were provided a tally after an online assessment. Measurements taken included: each company’s culture, marketing and communications, the commitment of leaders, strategic planning, foundational components, and reporting and analysis.

The winners of the challenge included the Greater Dayton’s YMCA, and the city of Kettering.


About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.