hen the “mindful mile” was mapped out and promoted.
The next step was making small, steady changes in the cafeteria.
A bit at a time, sugary drinks and fried foods were replaced with healthier options.
Then came Prov Portions, fresh grab-and-go meals with detailed nutrition labels. An incentive program encourages staff to buy healthy food not just for themselves but for their family. If they buy a certain number of Prov Portions, they earn a free meal—and all Prov Portion purchases earn points for their Virgin Pulse account.
Virgin Pulse provides a smartphone app that syncs with fitness trackers. Staff can compare their progress on healthy habits, including sleep, meditation, physical activity and nutrition. Departments motivate one another by doing challenges such as “Who walks the most steps during a weekend?” and “Who gets at least seven hours of sleep every day for a week?”
The medical center introduced the program in 2017 and, at the beginning of this year, tied financial incentives to employees' Virgin Pulse points. Employee feedback has been excellent, Baker said.
“I'll walk through the hallways and hear our caregivers talking about it,” she said. “The challenges are fun because you can see how many steps everybody else took. Who's at the top spot? And where am I compared to everybody else?”
Medicus Healthcare Solutions, a fast-growing healthcare staffing company, also uses gamification to motivate its employees to focus on fitness.
During a recent monthlong competition, about 20 six-member teams used a smartphone app to track their healthy ways. The final tally: some 23,000 liters of water, more than 8 million steps, 802 exercise classes and 1,900 healthy meals logged in the quest to win.
“We have a very competitive workforce, so if you put prizes on something, which we always do, it really drives the folks to participate,” said Matthew Morrissey, executive vice president of experience and communication.
Medicus, a locum tenens company based Windham, N.H., has about 300 employees at its headquarters, another 50 in Denver, and construction is underway to nearly double the company's size in the next five years.
To support that rapid growth, the company last year created Morrissey's position to focus on the three pillars of employee experience: the physical environment of the campus, the technical environment, and the cultural environment.
“The philosophy is that, if we have three great environments that contribute to what we call the Medicus experience, we're going to build the best employee experience possible,” he says.
His job is to support 11 employee-run committees, including Medicus Fit, an eight-person committee focused on physical and mental wellness. Its duties include running the gym at the headquarters campus, which has workout equipment, showers and instructor-led classes. Employees use a Medicus Fit app to sign up for a class—Pilates, boot camps, spin, you name it—scheduled at 7 a.m., 12:15 p.m. or 5:15 p.m.
“It's a chance for the employees to fit in a workout, which is hard to do sometimes when you're working 40-plus hours, but also get to know each other in a different environment,” Morrissey said.
The Medicus Fit committee also sponsors Medicus Mayhem—an annual Spartan-style competition among four-member teams—and a running club. During good-weather months, employees meet weekly to run together. “And once a month, they do a destination run, where they end up at a restaurant for a round of cocktails on Medicus,” he said.
Medicus employees are young—about 80% are younger than 35, Morrissey says—and their input is used in planning facilities and programming.
“With the gym, there really wasn't an option to not do it,” he added. “That was something that we heard loud and clear—they wanted a gym on campus.”
The most recent employee survey revealed that staff members want more focus on the mental health component of wellness.
“We are looking to beef up that area as we move into the rest of this year and next year because what we do is very stressful,” Morrissey said. “We do recognize that work gets in the way of life sometimes, so we have to be OK with the fact that life needs to get in the way of work as well.”
Lola Butcher is a freelance writer based in Springfield, Mo.