An Innovative Approach to Workplace Wellness

In case you missed COSE’s webinar featuring the new workplace wellness program, Better You Better Ohio, from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, we’re bringing you the highlights and a chance to view the full presentation, which you will find if you scroll to the bottom of this article.

John Wilton of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation gave an informative COSE WebEd Series presentation recently on the new Better You Better Ohio health and wellness program offered through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC). Having launched February 1, this program is already impacting employers and employees in Ohio.

Wilton shared a variety of statistics on the state of well-being in Ohio, including that 31.5% of people are obese, 29.5% of people are physically inactive and Ohio has one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in America. It’s OBWC’s goal to help impact some of these numbers that are affecting employers and employees across the state.

What is it and who is eligible?

Better You Better Ohio is a comprehensive wellness program offered at no cost to employers or their workers and is a simple, paperwork-free process. This program is available for Ohio employers with 50 or fewer employees in the following industries:

  • Agriculture;
  • automotive;
  • construction;
  • firefighters;
  • healthcare;
  • manufacturing;
  • public employers;
  • restaurant and food service;
  • transportation and trucking;
  • trash collection;
  • wholesale and retail; and
  • police and public safety.

The benefits of Better You Better Ohio

Health and wellness programs have proven to positively impact well-being in the workplace. Some of the benefits include:

  • Early identification of an illness or issue before it strikes an employee;
  • prevention of an injury or increased speed of recovery from an injury;
  • lower workers’ compensation claims;
  • reduced healthcare and insurance costs of employees and employers;
  • increased morale within the workplace; and
  • reduced time away from work due to an injury or illness.

The Better You Better Ohio program is innovatively designed and tailored to employees. It uses proven, effective wellness program elements, including:

  • Monetary incentives such as gift cards for participation;
  • the ability to do everything online and at the employee’s convenience; and
  • a private and confidential approach to collecting information and establishing appropriate well-being strategies with participants.

How does the program work?

The company running the program, ActiveHealth, is an experienced and nationally recognized health management company that collaborates with employers, health plans, governments and providers. They are currently working with over 32 million people to help them live their healthiest lives. Here’s a breakdown of how the program works in four easy steps:

Step 1: Upfront testing. This is a two-part process that starts with an online risk assessment, which takes about 15 minutes for the participant to complete. The assessment is followed by a biometric screening that can be done by an outside company, your doctor, or through the use of an at-home kit.

Step 2: Education plans. Once the information is collected from the assessment and screening, ActiveHealth can provide the participant with a tailored awareness, education and training plan.

Step 3: Well-being resources. Participants will have access to personalized health coaching and a nurse advice line, as well as a plethora of online resources.

Step 4: Lifestyle programs. Employees can earn additional incentives by participating in coaching calls and lifestyle and disease management programs to get a better understanding of their issues and establish specific strategies to improve their health.

OBWC and Better You Better Ohio are here to help employers have a better workforce, and they want to partner with you to assist your employees in reaching their peak performance. In order to help spread the word about the program, OBWC can come out to speak to your employees directly. They will also provide online resources, articles and advice that employers can print and post in common areas in their business or send personally to their staff.

The full recap of this webinar can be viewed below. Also, be sure to head over to COSE’s Events Page to discover other upcoming events that can help your business grow.

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  • Next up: Anatomy of a Perfect Job Posting
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  • Anatomy of a Perfect Job Posting

    From an enticing headline to a perfectly worded job description to the expert delivery of your ad, CareerBoard President Richard Padgett explains how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to writing job ads.

    From an enticing headline to a perfectly worded job description to the expert delivery of your ad, CareerBoard President Richard Padgett explains how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to writing job ads.

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  • Next up: Webinar: Anatomy of a Perfect Job Posting
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  • Webinar: Anatomy of a Perfect Job Posting

    From an enticing headline to a perfectly worded job description to the expert delivery of your ad, CareerBoard President Richard Padgett explains how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to writing job ads.

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  • Next up: Answering 7 Questions About Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements
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  • Answering 7 Questions About Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements

    Non-compete and non-disclosure agreements are valuable business tools, but it’s important to understand the distinction between the two. Here are seven frequently asked questions that clarify how these agreements work and why they’re important.

    Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and non-compete agreements, also called a non-competition agreement or covenant not to compete, have distinct purposes. Both documents, however, are restrictive covenants that limit what an employee can say or do, and (often) where they can and cannot work. These documents are designed to protect proprietary information and the company itself if an employee were to leave the company to work for a competitor.

    Lately, NDAs and non-competes have been getting a bit of a bad reputation. A recent story in the New York Times argued these documents can “take a person’s greatest professional assets—years of hard work and earned skills—and turn them into a liability” for employees. The piece claims employers have come to assert ownership over their employees’ work experience as well as their work, and that noncompete agreements in particular can keep employees “stuck” at a company, because the employees fear they won’t be able to get another job.

    The truth is, non-compete agreements and non-disclosure agreements are valuable tools for business owners—not because they force people to stay with you, but because they offer legal protection over the work that makes your company different and special. Poorly drafted or unreasonable agreements probably will be deemed unenforceable, but a well-crafted NDA or non-compete should not be. These agreements will respect your right to keep proprietary information protected, and respect an employee’s decision to take his or her career in a different direction.

    Common NDA and non-compete agreement questions

    There are many reasons you might decide to require your employees to sign either an NDA or a non-compete. It is important to understand the differences between these two documents and how they are enforced. Listed below are seven common questions people ask about these agreements.

    Q: What is the purpose of a non-compete agreement?

    A: A non-compete is an agreement in which one party agrees not to compete against the other party. In an employer-employee context, this refers to an employee being the recipient of the prohibition on competition and an employer being the protected party, who is using the non-compete agreement to protect her specific business within a specified geographic area for a specified length of time. A non-compete typically restricts an employee from working for a competitor for the length of time and within the geographic area mentioned in the contract. The language of a non-compete is usually contained within the employment contract.

    Q: What is the purpose of a non-disclosure agreement?

    A: A non-disclosure agreement (also referred to as a confidentiality agreement) between an employer and an employee prohibits the employee from disclosing any of the employer’s proprietary information, business processes, intellectual property, or knowledge assets.

    Q: Are non-competes and NDAs enforceable in Ohio?

    A: NDAs are generally enforceable in Ohio, provided the confidential information to be protected is properly defined and constitutes the employer’s proprietary information. Non-competition agreements are enforceable in Ohio, provided they are “reasonable.” The Ohio Supreme Court has held that non-competition agreements are reasonable (and thus, enforceable) in Ohio, if the employer can show that:

    1) the restrictions are no greater than necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests; 

    2) they do not impose an undue hardship on the employee; and 

    3) the restrictions would not injure the public.  

    There are several important factors the Ohio courts consider in deciding whether to enforce non-competes, including, but not limited to, the geographic area covered by the restriction, the duration of the of the non-compete, whether the employee possesses confidential information or trade secrets of the employer and the likelihood the employee can find other employment if the non-competition agreement is enforced.

    Q: Is it legal for an employer to require an existing employee to sign a non-compete and/or a NDA to keep their job?

    A: Employers generally may make signing a non-compete or a NDA a condition of employment or of continued employment. There might be exceptions for employees who are already covered by individual employment contracts or union agreements.

    Q: What is a reasonable length of time and a reasonable geographic scope for a non-compete agreement?

    A: Courts often consider factors such as geographic scope, length of time and the nature of the duties restricted in relationship to one another. A broad geographic scope might be enforced if the duration of the non-compete is as short as a month, but a broad geographic scope coupled with a long period of time is not likely to be enforced. A court generally will not enforce a non-compete that prevents an employee from working in a region where the employer is not doing business.

    Q: Is a non-compete or NDA valid after I fire an employee?

    A: It depends on the document. If the document addresses what happens after an employee is fired, then it might be valid.

    Q:  What are non-solicitation agreements?

    A: Another instrument that can be useful to employers who are looking to protect their business’ intellectual property is a non-solicitation agreement. Non-solicitation agreements restrict an employee from soliciting the employees or customers of a business. For example, a super-star sales manager who leaves your company would not be able to solicit other team members to leave with them, nor would they be able to poach your customers or clients if the departing employee signed a non-solicitation agreement.

    Why these documents are important

    A story in The Balance highlights the biggest challenge with non-competition, non-disclosure and non-solicitation agreements: enforcement. Once the trade secret has been divulged, the employee has been solicited to leave, or a former employee’s competition has ruined a business, it takes a lengthy, costly legal process to recover damages and put that proverbial genie back into the bottle. 

    The Columbus CEO discusses the vital importance of enforcement, quoting a study that revealed less than half of the organizations in the study said their organizations take action when workers take sensitive information. When an employee leaves your organization and starts a new job that potentially violates the agreements they have signed, you may choose to send a “cease-and-desist” demand to the former employee’s new employer informing them of your former employee’s non-competition agreement. 

    The intention of this blog post is to give you a rough outline of NDAs and non-competition agreements. Whether it is appropriate or necessary for you to use one or both agreements, and what details they should include, should be a topic of conversation with your business attorney.

    For more information on this topic, contact Alex Gertsburg at 440-571-7775 or Get more legal tips for your business on The Gertsburg Law Firm blog, with new articles every week.

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  • Next up: Answering 8 Frequently Asked Questions About COSE’s MEWA
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  • Answering 8 Frequently Asked Questions About COSE’s MEWA

    To provide you with a more competitive set of healthcare coverage solutions for your company and your employees, COSE has partnered with Medical Mutual to offer the COSE Health and Wellness Trust, also known as the COSE MEWA. This is a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) designed as a self-funded benefit option for businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Business owners with no employees are eligible to apply.

    Listed below are eight of the most frequent questions we receive from members about how the COSE MEWA works and how it may be a good benefit option for small businesses. Looking for additional insight? Visit our COSE MEWA information page.

    Question 1: What is the COSE Health and Wellness Trust?

    Answer: The COSE Health and Wellness Trust is a new way to cover your employees’ health benefits with some great financial benefits for you. It’s a self-funded, Multiple Employer Health Welfare Arrangement (MEWA) health plan for COSE members and designed with small business needs in mind. The COSE MEWA was exclusively developed by COSE and the Greater Cleveland Partnership to help its small business members and their employees with the increasing cost of healthcare benefits.

    Question 2: Who can apply?

    Answer: You must be a member of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) to apply for coverage in the COSE MEWA, and your business must have 50 or fewer employees. Business owners and partnerships with no employees are also eligible to apply. Please contact your broker or our direct sales team at (888)310-6262 or

    Question 3: What are the benefits of using the COSE MEWA for my group’s health coverage?

    Answer: The COSE MEWA was designed to manage your healthcare benefits cost, and provide benefit plans that may be a better fit for small business owners and their employees. Because the COSE MEWA is a self-funded plan, it has many benefits, including:

    • The COSE MEWA offers 18 different plan options with varying deductibles and coinsurance designed exclusively for the COSE MEWA, and because MEWAs are not subject to some of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) mandated benefits and taxes, it helps to keep costs lower.

    • The cost of your benefits better reflect the unique health of you and your employees, recognizing that a healthier team should create a better benefits cost outcome.

    • All COSE MEWA benefit options are tied to the same Medical Mutual network of doctors and hospitals that COSE members have accessed for years.

    • And, because we have arranged to have Medical Mutual administer these benefits, your employees will still have access to Medical Mutual’s Customer Care team.

    • In addition, we know that the security of your data and information is important. So, as an additional benefit, the COSE MEWA also offers identity theft resolution services coverage and remediation services at no additional cost.

    Question 4: What are the advantages of a self-funded plan?

    Answer: There are several advantages to small business owners with a self-funded option:

    • The COSE MEWA offers rate stability, the flexibility of benefit options and recognition of preferred health status.

    • The COSE MEWA may be less expensive for your group than similar ACA plans because it considers criteria unique to your employees such as medical history.

    • Your disclosed pre-existing conditions will still be covered.

    Question 5: How will my group funding rates be determined?

    Answer: Unlike Community rated ACA rates that are solely determined by age, location, family size and smoker status, your group rates will be based on additional factors, such as medical history and gender. The expanded criteria of the COSE MEWA for pricing your benefits allow us to tailor the costs to the unique characteristics of your group, recognizing the preferred health status that you may have.

    Question 6: How is the COSE MEWA regulated and protected?

    Answer: The COSE MEWA is regulated by the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI). These state regulators monitor the COSE MEWA to ensure appropriate surplus is available to cover unforeseen risk and protect its solvency. The COSE MEWA also maintains stop-loss insurance coverage to provide additional protection to plan participants. You can feel confident about the stability of the COSE MEWA as it is closely monitored by the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and the ODI.

    Question 7: Do these plans comply with the ACA?

    Answer: These plans comply with all ACA mandates applicable to self-funded plans as well as certain state requirements for MEWAs. The COSE MEWA covers ACA-compliant Essential Health Benefits with the exception of pediatric dental coverage.

    Question 8: Who can I contact for more information about plans or to get a quote?

    Answer: For more information or to get a quote, please contact your broker or contact the Medical Mutual COSE Benefits team at (440) 878-5930 or call (888)310-6262. You can also email questions to

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  • Next up: 13 Ways to Set Up a Winning Internship Program
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  • 13 Ways to Set Up a Winning Internship Program

    Throughout the year, we will be recapping some of the sessions that took place during the 2018 Cleveland Internship Summit. Today’s article focuses on the best practices surrounding the establishment of an internship program.

    If you’re going to put together a top-notch internship program, what better place to start than by taking inspiration from organizations that have already taken that step? That’s exactly what attendees of the “Ask the Pros” session held during the 2018 Cleveland Internship Summit had the opportunity to do.

    Taking part in the panel discussion were:

    • MacKenzie Hawes, talent acquisition and employment programs associate with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District;
    • Kelly Diamond, recruiting program manager at Hyland; and
    • Jennifer Cowles, leadership and executive programs leader at KeyBank.

    Read on below for the 13 takeaways these panelists provided during the panel discussion. And scroll down to the bottom of the article to listen to a full recap of the session.

    How do you identify potential internship candidates?

    1: Focus on the degree programs that most closely match what you’re looking for.

    2: For summer internship programs, it’s ideal to begin your intern search in the fall and to have candidates identified and hired by winter break.

    3: Set up partnerships with schools in the region and have a presence at program-specific recruiting fairs (such as one held just for engineering students if that’s the kind of skill you’re seeking.)

    4: Try setting up a table at a college quad or work with professors to give a quick pitch for interns at a classroom setting.

    What should the interview process look like?

    5: Conduct a phone screen to ensure the candidate has the basic requirements for the job. If the basic requirements are met, move on to manager interviews and an online assessment if needed.

    6: Consider also sending a business case in advance, if applicable, for a candidate to evaluate.

    7: Think about holding an “Intern Day” where you bring in all of your candidates for a full day of in-person interviews.

    8: Don’t forget to conduct a background check.

    How do you prepare the intern’s supervisor?

    9: About a month before the internship is to start, meet with the manager to determine the intern's project timelines.

    10:  Review expectations for the intern with the intern’s supervisor.

    11: Encourage the manager to select mentors to also work with the interns.

    What’s the best way to include career development into the program?

    12: Provide opportunities for the interns to learn about other departments or lines of business within the company.

    13: Keep the interns engaged during the program by hosting functions such as lunch-and-learns that can focus on topics including resume building, interviewing tips and how to leverage LinkedIn during a job search. 

    Learn more about the ins and outs of internship programs by checking out GCP Internship Central. And don't forget to register for the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 21, a day full of panels and conversations designed to help you build and optimize your company's internship program. Click here to learn more.

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