Essilor USA’s Eye for Wellness

Ryan Murry reveals how the company's innovative wellness program is impacting lives

Although Essilor is a world leader in eye care, Ryan Murry and his benefits team are proving the multibillion-dollar company’s expertise spans across the health spectrum. This commitment to providing comprehensive wellness benefits is part of the company’s promise to its employees to help every person make a difference for themselves so they can contribute to Essilor’s mission of improving lives by improving sight.

Murry is specifically targeting Essilor’s top areas of medical spend—circulatory conditions, diabetes, neoplasms, musculoskeletal injuries, and digestive issues—with a comprehensive health improvement strategy that is transforming what well-being looks like across Essilor’s 8,500-person US workforce.

“We found that obesity is an underlying condition shared by every one of the primary drivers of our medical spend,” Murry says. “So, we set out to find programs that can achieve and maintain health improvement results for those with one or more of these conditions.” In addition to requiring results, Murry’s team vets potential program partners to determine the best cultural fit for their organization.

He points to the success of Naturally Slim, a behavior modification program that teaches people skills around eating and how to interact with food. In the two years since its launch, more than one thousand employees have lost an average of ten pounds during the ten-week program. “We’re seeing our people not only keep the weight off, but also improve their lab values such as blood glucose, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and blood pressure,” he says.

Murry arrived at Dallas, Texas-based Essilor in 2005 and served in various HR roles until he shifted his focus to benefits management. After leading Essilor’s benefits strategy for two years, he expanded his responsibilities to include compensation and mobility.

“I’m not a benefits expert, and I think that helps me in terms of being able to look at things from a different viewpoint,” Murry says. “What I have learned during my time in benefits is that the most important aspect of the role is effective communication at all levels of the organization. We can design and select all the best programs in the world, but if we don’t communicate them effectively, the programs will fail.”

As Essilor implements each health improvement program, Murry and his team focus on employee engagement before, during, and after the initial roll-out. The results are impressive: In just two years, Essilor increased employee utilization of annual preventive visits from 50 percent to more than 70 percent, on the way to an 80 percent utilization rate, Murry says.

“When you get more engagement, you’re able to drive costs down,” Murry says. “I’ve spent a lot of time building relationships with business leaders, which is very helpful when we’re rolling out programs and communicating information to the organization.” The increase in engagement in health improvement programs has contributed to significant savings for the company, from $1 million year-over-year claims savings in 2016 to more than $4 million savings for the self-funded medical plan in 2017.

“What I have learned during my time in benefits is that the most important aspect of the role is effective communication at all levels of the organization.”

Another important element of Essilor’s success is to integrate health program vendors and encourage them to coordinate with one another to improve the experience for employees. For example, Murry spearheaded the Wellness Vendor Summit, an event that presented Essilor’s mission, vision, and culture objectives to the health and wellness providers. It created the collaboration Essilor needed to create a diverse and comprehensive range of resources in a new one-stop-shop online wellness platform for Essilor employees.

Partnering with Evive Health, the new platform presents a personalized platform for employees. It simplifies their user experience while also reinforcing the first steps of the Wellness Program: to encourage and motivate employees to complete annual preventive visits and cancer screenings based on age and gender.

A key personalization component of the platform is the My Personal Health Assistant (MyPHA).  This service provides individualized coaching and a personal health summary to those with chronic health conditions. “We’re connecting them to the right care,” Murry says. “We’re making sure they adhere to their care plans and are fully aware of all the resources we have available to help.”

Murry also points to other wellness program components that improve personalization and employee engagement. Essilor employees can access Airrosti, a muscle manipulation treatment, as an alternative to physical therapy. “It can help people avoid surgery and get relief from chronic pain,” he says. Another form of individualized support is the RN Cancer Guides, who cater to employees with a recent cancer diagnosis.

Murry is excited about another recently implemented program that targets digestive health. The Clairity program helps people recognize and understand the symptoms caused by different types of foods. Then it provides a customized program to modify their diet accordingly and better manage their symptoms and conditions.

Looking ahead, Murry is turning his attention to financial wellness. He’s already consolidated more than twenty stand-alone 401K plans into a single plan, which has saved Essilor more than $200,000 while reducing legal liability. “We continue to look at financial wellness programs and resources as ways to enhance our employees’ ability to save for retirement,” he says. He is looking forward to expanding Essilor’s support of employees’ financial well-being as they prepare for the future.

“Our company improves people’s lives by improving sight—it’s an easy mission to get excited about,” Murry says. “It’s a very nice match with what we’re trying to do in the benefits department. We’re willing to try any programs to address the needs of our population, because we really want to make sure we’re providing the right tools and resources to help our employees also improve their own lives.”

Airrosti partners with employers like Essilor to significantly reduce musculoskeletal spend. Airrosti provides quality musculoskeletal care shown to be highly effective at rapidly resolving most soft tissue injuries and conditions. Airrosti provides complimentary member engagement, education and injury prevention/surgical avoidance programs designed to reduce the need for care. Visit us at