It’s a ‘no brainer’ that a company manufacturing bicycles should take employee wellbeing seriously. I mean, you’re selling the outdoors active lifestyle- surely you should live that purpose throughout the business. Apparently not. Employee wellbeing is a relatively new focus point for Trek bicycles and it took 3 deaths to bring the issue to the forefront. However I respect the fact that president, John Burke took notice, and cared enough to implement and drive a massive change.

Trek has offered employees health risk assessments(HRA’s) since 2005, however there was little buy-in and only about 21% of staff participated- “and they were members of the zero-percent body fat club,” says Burke. They had even tried a $100 incentive yet still only got 61% buy-in. So Burke cracked down with an intentionally heavy-handed wellness program. He made it mandatory. If Trek was going to contribute to employee wellness, employees had to come to the party too – HRA’s were compulsory, and employees were required to gain “Wellness Points” through a host of physical programs and activities.

“I was ready for pushback, and I didn’t care” says Burke. Perhaps surprisingly, pushback never came. (I am not surprised by this. When people feel cared about they are generally very cooperative. Also, I’m certain that after the 3 deaths around them, seeing that their company cared about their health probably made a big difference to the staff’s attitude toward this program).

A “Twinkie Tax” in the canteen saw unhealthy food price raises in order to subsidise the salad bar. The unhealthiest foods were scrapped from the menu. Workers have access to healthy take-out dinners which they can purchase and pick up at the end of the day. They have access to educational healthy shopping programs too, and here’s the kicker- the programs extend to spouses as well. Burke knows that if the healthy focus does not continue at home he is fighting an already lost battle, so if spouses are to be covered by Trek’s health insurance they need to meet the same requirements.

Other changes include a fitness centre, bike trails, calorie counts and health information.  Although the article finishes without reporting on these things I am prepared to bet that since the launch of the “Blueprint for Change” program Trek has seen a decrease in sick days, an increase in productivity and epic change in staff morale.

Not matter what line of work you are in the reality is that healthier employees perform better. What small changes can you institute in your line of work, what can be done to improve employee wellbeing? Make the changes and the results are bound to amaze.


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