OneDigital buys Northwestern Benefit in company's largest acquisition yet

11 April 2019 Consulting.us

Human resources and benefits consultancy OneDigital Health and Benefits has acquired Northwestern Benefit, the largest privately held benefits broker in Georgia.

Atlanta-based OneDigital has carried out an aggressive acquisition strategy in past years, completing 28 deals in 2018, as well as five in 2019 thus far. Its recent acquisitions have included consulting firms Paradigm Group, Cherry Creek Benefits, and Veritas Risk Services. OneDigital’s rapid expansion last year boosted annual revenue by $100 million in 2018, reaching $400 million.

OneDigital’s core offerings include strategic benefit advisory services, analytics, compliance support, human resources management technology, and insurance broking. The firm has more than 80 offices in the United States.

The consulting firm has continued its accelerated growth strategy with the purchase of benefits and HR consultancy Northwestern Benefit, which is also based in Atlanta. “This represents an exciting milestone for OneDigital, where our largest acquisition to date is also located right here in our home state of Georgia,” Adam Bruckman, CEO of OneDigital, said. “Northwestern lets us compete in the Atlanta benefits marketplace in an entirely new way.”OneDigital buys Northwestern Benefit in company's largest acquisition yetThe acquired firm was founded in 1996, and provides benefits, HR, compliance, wellness, education, and workforce planning advisory services to clients in George and across the US. Northwestern Benefit’s 150 employees will join OneDigital, bringing the firm’s headcount to over 1,600 employees, and its employer client count to approximately 50,000.

OneDigital’s chief growth officer, Mike Sullivan, highlighted Northwestern’s excellent sales culture and client service models as factors in the deal, while noting that the deal will significantly expand the firm’s middle market scale and capabilities. Sullivan expects more deals on the horizon, as OneDigital seeks to scale up further. “We expect north of 25 acquisitions again this year to bring us over the $500 million revenue threshold,” he said.

David Asbury, CEO of Northwestern Benefit, will join OneDigital as a senior managing principal. “As the benefits space continued to consolidate and we considered acquirers, it was incredibly important to me to find the right partner,” he said. “With OneDigital’s scale, reach and long-term vision, we knew our organizations would fit together and be stronger together right off the bat.”

As employment levels remain at record highs, employers are increasingly turning to effective and comprehensive benefits packages in order to attract and retain a dwindling pool of talent. HR and benefits firms help employers strategize the ideal benefits and compensation packages to get the talent they need, while doing so in the most cost-effective manner. “In a rapidly changing economy, an employer’s ability to attract and retain talent is often directly tied to the benefits they can provide, and OneDigital ensures we’re supplying our clients with the most robust health, wealth, and HR advisory services,” Bruckman said.

×

Wellness Workdays acquires health coach Occupational Medical Consulting

22 April 2019 Consulting.us

Corporate wellness program advisor Wellness Workdays has acquired health coaching firm Occupational Medical Consulting.

Healthcare approaches have long been premised on after-the-fact treatment, which is both more costly and often less effective than preventative measures. If doctors and public health specialists could get everyone to exercise daily, eat leafy greens, cut down sugar intake, and relax, then national healthcare costs would be a great deal lower. Buy-in is the tough part, however.

From a corporate standpoint, wellness programs are becoming more popular for a number of reasons. For one thing, either health-centric or financial wellness programs can cut down on stress, which in turn can cut down on productivity loss. Health-based wellness programs aim to decrease sick days and illness absences, while lowering health insurance costs and premiums.

According to a Harvard meta-review of research in the field, every $1.00 spent on worksite wellness programs has an expected ROI of $3.27, and when absenteeism is factored in, the return increases to $6.00. In the end, a healthy workforce is a more effective and efficient one – but once again, how do you get buy-in?Wellness Workdays acquires health coach Occupational Medical ConsultingMaine-based OMC’s health wellness program method is physician-driven, and rooted in behavioral science that gets strong results. Behavioral science is a popular field that seeks to understand and exploit the peculiar biases and irrationalities of humans in order to drive favorable policy results. A fun example of behavioral nudging is Amsterdam Schiphol Airport’s strategy of painting houseflies inside men’s urinals in order to “improve aim.”

In the case of health coaching, the process might involve playing on people’s loss aversion – setting exercise goals, for example, where you are forced to lose something valuable if you fail to follow through.

The consulting firm reports that its standardized coaching process and proprietary software drive wellness program participation rates well above national norms – reaching 80-95% participation rates on average.  As a result of OMC’s advisory work, clients have decreased behavioral health risks and costs risks – reducing and preventing excess medical spending and insurance premium increases in the process.

OMC has now been acquired by Massachusetts-based wellness consulting firm Wellness Workdays. The consultancy delivers corporate wellness services and nutritional programs that aim to promote employee health and morale, increase productivity, and lower health care costs. The firm’s four-step process covers assessment, strategy, implementation, and evaluation.

Wellness Workdays has additional offices in New York, Florida, and Texas, and has worked with notable clients such as MIT, Brown University, Putnam Investments, and New Balance.

As part of the acquisition OMC will now operate as a subsidiary of Wellness Workdays, and will be rebranded as OMC Wellness.

"OMC provides an exciting opportunity for Wellness Workdays to further enhance and expand its wellness offerings," said Debra Wein, founder and CEO of Wellness Workdays and CEO of OMC. "The organization shares our common vision related to a high-touch, outcomes-driven approach to wellness, as well as a passion and commitment to promote employee health and well-being.

“The acquisition brings our proprietary approach to wellness together with OMC's highly trained health coaches to drive better health outcomes and ultimately, healthier employees," she added.