Friendly competition with coworkers can be a big motivator when it comes to workplace wellness. When the coworker is your boss, and an iron man triathlete at that, competing—and winning—is that much sweeter.
At Endress+Hauser, a Greenwood-based supplier of industrial measurement and automation equipment, a favorite competition is the Endress 500. In the May race, teams of five employees commit to walking or running 500 miles in the month. The team that goes the distance first is the winner.
The winning team last year finished its required miles in an astounding 10 days. It was all in the name of fitness, but dig a little deeper and you learn that the winning team was motivated by the prospect of beating a boss who runs about 20 miles a day—sometimes before the work day starts—and competes in triathlon and iron man competitions.
“They had to beat a boss who runs marathons for breakfast,” said Brandyn Ferguson, Endress+Hauser’s vice president of human resources.
As far as Ferguson is concerned, he’s happy with anything that motivates the company’s employees to get more exercise and lead a healthier lifestyle.
The company started its wellness program about a dozen years ago. It has since morphed from a bare-bones system in which employees won “wellness bucks” for engaging in healthy activities into a holistic program that offers not just physical fitness but free financial planning and developmental coaching to advance careers.
As part of that program, appropriately named Healthy Measures, the company also gives employees the opportunity to develop one-on-one relationships with nurses and to meet with them monthly, quarterly or semiannually at a wellness clinic that opened on-site in January 2012. The full-time nurse practitioner and wellness coordinator who staff the clinic walk the halls on a regular basis to soak up information about the pressures that weigh on Endress+Hauser employees both at home and at work, said Jenny Boushehry, a human resources specialist at the company.
“They get to know us and our culture,” Boushehry said, and they customize the program based on that knowledge and the age and health status of employees.
The changes to Endress+Hauser’s program increased participation from 50 percent to 95 percent and uncovered diagnoses that have led more employees to engage with primary care physicians for treatment.
Though the program has expanded in scope from its early years, the incentives are still a cornerstone. Employees that meet or exceed biometric standards and participate in wellness campaigns earn premium reductions and money to deposit in Health Savings Accounts. Employees are paid $100 to get a physical, and spouses get $50. A family can earn up to $1,000 a year for an HSA.
An analysis of the Endress+Hauser program from 2012 showed a significant decrease in chronic condition compliance gaps and a reduction in tobacco use and body mass index.
The enthusiasm level for the program is high enough lately that it’s not unusual to see Endress+Hauser employees sprinting in the parking lot, jumping rope or doing circuit training.
Soon they’ll have a state-of-the-art on-site gym to use, part of a $16 million facility that will also include a cafeteria, auditorium and product demonstration area. The building is adjacent to the company’s front door, so that visitors and employees can’t miss it. Management hopes that will help keep fitness top of mind for Endress+Hauser employees.•