A Culture of Health at Steel Dynamics

How Eric Record, Steel Dynamics’ wellbeing and benefits leader, got seven thousand employees to care about health

Long before Eric Record joined Steel Dynamics, he knew of the company’s legendary status. Right near Record’s hometown in northeast Indiana was a new steel company using a new technology, with a reputation as a good employer that paid good wages. All steel producers compete on cost; for Steel Dynamics to stand out, it became safer, more innovative, and built a culture of engagement.

“Engagement is the key that runs through everything,” Record says. “It brings open communication that supports innovation, supports continuous improvement, supports pointing out when things are going well and when things could be done better.”

Among those things that could be done better was Steel Dynamics’ benefits plan, which included only one health plan. “Set it and forget it” is how Record describes the old plan. “It didn’t require a lot of engagement or thought.” That model no longer worked for a company that had grown to more than seven thousand employees. “There needed to be more flexibility in what was offered,” Record says. “Not everybody has the same family or financial needs.”

When Record came on board as Steel Dynamics’ first well-being and benefits leader, one of his charges was to bring the company’s culture of engagement to its benefits plans. A key strategy in revamping the health plan offerings was to incentivize behaviors that improve health, prevent illness, and can reduce healthcare costs down the road. With the new plans, Steel Dynamics deposits “Dynamic Dollars” into its employees’ health savings accounts for wellness acts such as getting an annual physical or a biometric screening.

The transition took years, rolling out one new plan at a time. “We had the advantage of an engaged workforce to begin to cultivate a culture of health,” Record says. “But the fact that it was rolled out over time, that it was communicated again and again, that we took the time to both educate and listen to employees as we implemented changes—that made the difference.”

A major component to the new healthcare offering is Castlight, an online tool that hosts all of an employee’s benefits in one place and makes it easier for them to review their claims, find providers, and research other cost and quality information. Nearly 90 percent of Steel Dynamics’ health plan participants have registered for the tool, which Record says is an industry-leading number.

Steel Dynamics also began offering employees virtual healthcare options, making it easier for employees who work long shifts to squeeze in a video visit with their doctor, or for employees with specific health conditions to interact with specialists.

Technology and data have helped Steel Dynamics make employee healthcare more individualized overall. “We’re not just getting a newsletter with general information,” Record says. “Participants get a unique experience, tailored to them, to help engage them in their health.” For example, Record gets an alert on his phone when it’s time for his preventive physical or a biometric screening.

To further connect Steel Dynamics’ culture with employees’ tangible benefits, Record created “Dynamic Rewards,” a total rewards program that encapsulates the entire value proposition for employees. “It’s one of the first things reviewed in new employee orientation,” Record explains. “Dynamic Rewards reminds people that work is not only about the paycheck or benefits. It’s also about giving folks the tools to create a safer, more productive working environment. It’s also about career opportunities.”

As a result of these initiatives, Steel Dynamics has seen improvements in key health measures such as increased preventive health screenings, better prescription adherence, and a decrease in unnecessary ER visits. Even better, Record says, is that he’s seen an overall increased interest in well-being across the organization.

Record says other companies looking to innovate should think about building on existing cultural strengths and use them as springboards to the innovations they want to implement. “If you do that and you communicate, if you really listen and adjust as you go along, you will be in a good position to succeed and create something that’s meaningful and engaging,” he says. “How you engage with employees, that ends up being the secret to success.”

BenefitWallet, A Conduent Company, is proud to partner with Steel Dynamics to deliver our Health Savings Account (HSA) solution, helping employees prepare for retirement by saving and investing in their account. As one of the nation’s top providers of health accounts, we help millions of Americans lower their taxes today and save for healthcare expenses in the future.

It takes innovative spirit to drive continued success over ten years. At Steel Dynamics, Eric Record has spearheaded initiatives that have cultivated impressive engagement throughout many wellness and benefits programs. Anthem is honored to partner with Steel Dynamics and proud to say that Eric Record embodies innovation that endures.