That's not a typo -- I said Aetna.
The New York Times recently published a fascinating piece on Aetna's CEO and his commitment to wellness. The company's free yoga classes are consistently booked (more than 50,000 people have participated so far), and employees are reporting lower stress levels, better sleep quality, and increased productivity. Verifiable biometric markers of stress, such as heart rate variability and cortisol levels, have also decreased.
Mr. Bertolini also gave the company's lowest-paid employees a 33% raise last month.
As the article explains, Bertolini's belief in the power of wellness (specifically yoga and meditation) comes from a terrible injury he sustained while skiing. It left him in constant pain, and he says mindfulness training and yoga helped him cope. He convinced Aetna's Chief Medical Officer to offer yoga classes to employees and chart the results. Their efforts culminated in a study published by the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology in 2012.
Aetna's story is a powerful example of something we've said for years: wellness simply makes good business sense. It also shows the profound impact a single committed executive can make on employees' lives. Let's hope other corporate leaders take note and follow Aetna's lead.