Fostering Health and Wellness

At PG&E, we are committed to the health and well-being of our employees—offering a range of programs and services, while also empowering our employees to make healthier choices. We have added wellness programs, increased participation in our current offerings and are making changes to our medical plan design to integrate more wellness opportunities and to focus on quality preventive care for employees.

In fact, the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal named PG&E among the healthiest employers in the San Francisco Bay Area for 2011.

Working with Our Unions

Proactively investing in the health of our employees is a necessity for PG&E’s long-term success. An important area of focus is working with our labor unions, which represent roughly two-thirds of our workforce.

By working collaboratively with a broad section of stakeholders—including PG&E and union leadership, management and union-represented employees, consultants in the medical field and our own human-resource experts—we jointly developed a new medical plan, designed to improve the overall health of our workforce.

The plan—which emphasizes preventive care and wellness—better leverages our ability to purchase higher quality care and focuses on free primary and preventive services. The plan will be implemented for union-represented employees, as well as management and administrative and technical employees.

Creating a Culture of Wellness

PG&E’s efforts on employee wellness begin with a focus on quality preventive care, recognizing that many chronic conditions can be managed effectively with early detection and the adoption of healthy behaviors such as nutrition, exercise and not using tobacco. For example, we offered a free flu shot program in 2011 in which nearly 5,500 people participated—a 34 percent increase over the prior year. We also held health screenings for more than 950 employees. These free screenings focused on identifying potential health risks, and they measured cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure and body mass index.

PG&E is committed to increasing employee fitness and providing opportunities for employees to improve their health. In 2011, we launched a reimbursement program for employees to obtain certification to teach on-site fitness classes at work. We also conducted extensive qualitative research with employees regarding their health and wellness needs, including focus groups, interviews and meetings with vendors. We are introducing a wellness and benefits advocacy vendor to improve employee participation, enhance the quality of care received by employees and their families and support employees in making healthy lifestyle choices.

PG&E remains committed to helping employees obtain and maintain a tobacco-free lifestyle with our tobacco cessation program. Participation in “Smokeless” is free to employees and their families and includes one year of unlimited coaching from certified coaches, nicotine replacement therapy with gum or the patch and a guided self-help book and CD. To help improve employee fitness, we continue to offer subsidy programs through GlobalFit, a healthy lifestyle vendor that offers discounted gym memberships, online exercise classes and nutrition support, health coaching and home exercise equipment at reduced rates.

A 25-member cycling team of employees raised more than $100,000 to fight HIV/AIDS in the annual AIDS LifeCycle, a bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

In addition, we saw increased participation in other wellness programs. More than 1,500 employees participated in “Active for Life,” a 10-week physical fitness program led by the American Cancer Society that encourages employees to be more active on a regular basis. We also partnered with the American Heart Association to celebrate “National Start Walking Day,” designed to get employees moving and complete a 30 minute heart-healthy walk; more than 200 employees participated in this event.

We created an Industrial Athlete Program for linemen, designed to reduce injuries and improve the physical and mental resilience of these employees. In 2011, we began post-offer physical assessments to help ensure new hires for the position of lineman are physically fit for duty. The program also includes a full day of curriculum devoted to physical fitness, nutrition, hydration, back care and the importance of being tobacco free. We plan to expand this program with online resources in 2013.

We also provide on-site ergonomic assistance for PG&E’s offices, call centers and payment centers. Employees also use an online break and stretching reminder software program.

Building Momentum at the Grassroots Level

We are helping to foster a strong grassroots effort on improving employee health and wellness. Wellness Ambassadors across PG&E assist in implementing and increasing awareness of wellness programs and services available to employees. The group of employee volunteers participates in monthly meetings where they are exposed to a robust curriculum, including the science of behavior change, health promotion basics and tools they can share with coworkers. Employees have also organized healthy weight-loss challenges and Weight Watchers meetings.

The efforts of these local wellness ambassadors are complemented by wellness fairs and practical tips through newsletters, posters and guest speakers that are available to employees generally.

Supporting Employees in Need

We continue to offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which consists of free and confidential counseling sessions, support, referrals and information to help employees and their family members. Counselors are conveniently located at 10 work locations throughout our service area and in the communities where employees live.

The EAP hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by licensed clinicians. In addition to counseling, the EAP makes employees' lives less stressful by offering free financial, legal and work-life guidance and referrals to child and elder care resources.