Taking Wellness Abroad
- Operate a fitness facility, and developed and manage international wellness program
- Started in 1998
- Participation: 30% of 2,400 employees
- Special features: Developed innovative employee incentive programs to meet economic challenges, increasingly engaging international workforce using technology
Since 1998, Elevation has managed onsite fitness facilities and increasing international wellness services for a technology company dedicated to engaging its employees in ways that are making a difference.
About 30% of the 2,400 primarily white-collar tech employees of the company are participating in Elevation programming. The company provides a 30% subsidy for participants. The company operates the program at a loss, considering it an important tool in recruiting and retaining its top talent, as well as ensuring the health and wellness of its employees.
Elevation started working with the company as a consultant and fitness center manager at its fitness center, built at its corporate headquarters. From 1998-2002, the company invested more than $200,000 a year on the program, considering the health and wellness initiatives as important to employees, and to recruitment and retention efforts.
In 2002, faced with a slowing economy, the company sought Elevation’s help to implement a participation-based reimbursement program, designed to encourage participation, not just membership. Employees began paying a $20 per month fee, taken through a payroll deduction. Officials knew adding a fee would hurt membership, but they agreed to subsidize the program by $100,000 as membership fell to 500 employees.
In 2008, the company intended to increase fees for all users to $30 a month. Elevation helped the company to realize that it should only increase the fees to new members because raising fees by $5 a month for existing members would hurt membership and actually cause a reduction in revenue. Elevation also helped the company to promote membership at the lower rate through the end of 2008. In 2009, the company’s subsidy to the program fell to $95,000 a year, where it has remained.
Since that time, membership has steadily increased, fueled by greater use of technology and the introduction of new programs to meet the needs of the entire employee population on campus and throughout the U.S. and international community.
Elevation and the company’s Human Resources Department now partner on an international wellness program, online incentive programs. Elevation has been concentrating on outreach to all domestic and international locations. The fitness center at the corporate headquarters has been overhauled, with upgraded equipment installed to discourage employees from heading to outside commercial gyms.
The enhancements have increased membership and are an important employee benefit, used even more as a retention and recruitment tool.
In 2011, Elevation worked with company officials to introduce a reimbursement program tied to benefit premiums – the so-called carrot approach that works well in employee benefits.
Today, the $95,000 subsidy enables the company and Elevation to engage the entire organization worldwide with creative incentive and wellness programming. As a result, membership and participation are at their highest level, and the company is seeing lower employee health risks and healthcare costs, and an increased program ROI.