If You Have a Body, You're an Athlete – Company Mission Reflects Culture of Health

Over 40 years ago 2 Oregonians shook hands and formed a relationship that's evolved into the Nike global phenomenon. Today, the international marketer of athletic sportswear is guided by a mission: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world . Meghan Simmons (Wellness Center Manager) explains, "Our mission comes from the belief that if you have a body, you're an athlete. When we built our corporate campus, it was with a vision of fitness, health, and wellness as a core part of our culture. We grew into a very grassroots program … not something mandated by a CEO. Everyone here simply wants to be healthy. "

While Nike offers health and wellness services to their 35,000 employees around the world, the resources at corporate headquarters (near Beaverton OR) are especially impressive. They include 2 gyms (a combined 110,000 square feet), indoor Olympic pool, 8 group fitness studios, 2 international soccer fields, volleyball court, and rock climbing wall.

Full-time and contract professionals provide a wide variety of wellness options for over 5000 headquarters employees, with some off campus for those in surrounding areas:

• Acupuncture

• CPR, first aid, and automated external defibrillator certification

• High-end VO2 max fitness testing

• Hydrostatic body fat testing

• Massage

• Monthly health screenings

• Weight Watchers®.

Wellness partners closely with HR / Benefits. Every year they sit down together and identify leading employee health issues, then develop a calendar of initiatives targeting high-priority areas.

Creativity Enhances Programs

Meghan praises her team's innovative ability. "We often hold sessions where someone asks a question or tosses out a word, then people fire back related words or phrases. We write down everything without any attempt to analyze it. Later we gather those thoughts and discuss them. on one another's ideas. The results turn into fun, crazy ways to accomplish our goal. "

Meghan describes an example: "We created a prize wheel to help promote interest in our programs. We've taken it to mobile mammogram sites, new employee orientations, and even to our campus farmers' market … anywhere we anticipate lines or crowds Employees spin the wheel and get raffle tickets equivalent to whatever number it lands on. We also put prizes on the wheel itself. It could be anything from a free massage to a water bottle. It's been hugely popular. "

Meghan laughs, "Sometimes our creativity comes back to bite us. Once we were planning a week-long flu shot campaign. We thought it would be a great idea to print napkins with an eye-catching logo and the slogan 'Take one for the team – beat the flu bug. ' They were distributed all over campus. Well, Nike is big on sustainability and we didn't use recyclable napkins. The lesson here is to consider the company's larger objectives, as well as your own, when planning. "

Sometimes programs are so popular they become a permanent fixture. A few years ago, an acupuncturist came in to speak on Chinese medicine and offered a group session. The acupuncture was so well received that individual sessions are now available 3 times a week. Although primarily used for injury treatment, employees find acupuncture helpful in dealing with stress, infertility, digestion, and allergies. Employees in the medical plan are reimbursed up to $ 500 for acupuncture, as well as naturopathic and chiropractic treatments.

Since partnering with HR / Benefits, Wellness staff can now offer numerous free health screenings with aggregate results fed back for analysis:

  • Bone density
  • Glucose
  • Hearing
  • Lactic acid
  • Lipids
  • Mammograms
  • Prostate
  • Skin cancer
  • Thyroid
  • Vision.

Meghan gives Nike high marks for encouraging employees to strike the right balance between work and personal lives. "If you need an hour or so for yourself … whether it's to work out or go to the doctor … it's never questioned. We tell employees to 'do the right thing – whatever that is for you.' That may mean coming in early, staying late, telecommuting a couple hours each day, or mothers taking time to use campus lactation rooms during the day.

Team Melt Down Gets the Less Fit in the Door

About the time TV show Biggest Loser became popular, Nike created Team Melt Down , a healthy weight loss competition. "We wanted to avoid just measuring pounds lost, which might lead people to try losing weight in an unhealthy way. So we added body fat and waist circumference to our contest. A $ 25 enrollment fee goes toward cash prizes. Participants receive all resources necessary to map their progress. " Meghan points out that because people tend to focus only on the pounds, they may need education on the importance of waist circumference and body fat measurements.

The annual 10-week competition starts in February. "January is dedicated to promoting the contest. People get involved in other things during the holidays. Then it takes about 2 weeks for them to get back to some sort of routine." Promotion strategies include:

• Lobby posters

• Intranet

• Nike's radio station

• Trainer and fitness instructor referrals

• Promotional staff T-shirts.

Each competition ends with a celebration party, where winners are announced and awards presented. Raffles throughout the party encourage attendance. Local vendors provide many prizes, as does Nike. For instance, the Nike Well to You fitness package is a 60-minute massage, $ 20 credit at the campus salon, 1 acupuncture session, 45-minute trainer workout, and nutrition session. Another Nike prize package includes a lesson with the golf pro, a new putter, golf apparel, and golf bag.

To help give participants a mental picture of overall results, Nike compares certain numbers with Nike products. Last year Team Melt Down resulted in:

• 250 participants, with 180 finishing

• 1379 pounds lost (equivalent to 897.75 pairs of Nike Air Max 360 III, men's size 9)

• 349.5 inches lost (or 25.8 Nike shoe boxes end to end)

• 428.1% body fat lost.

Nike employees join in teams of 3; incomplete teams are matched with other singles to form a complete team. Meghan emphasizes that Nike is all about teams. "It fits our focus and helps everyone stay motivated. You know you're not alone in the fight. Teams do everything together, including getting their measurements, working with a trainer, and receiving a nutrition consult."

Like many companies with onsite fitness centers, Nike faces the challenge of getting people in the door who think gyms are only for the very fit. A strategy to overcome this misconception, called Group Active , was developed by Body Training Systems; it targets the beginner or deconditioned athlete in a program that combines stretching, cardio, and weight training. Participants don't need to be gym members to join these classes – Team Melt Down members just show a wristband when checking in.

Final Thoughts on Outsourcing

Meghan's department relies heavily on contractors. Besides getting legal advice on all agreements, she advises anyone in the same situation to do their homework. "It's so important to make a good impression. When we bring in a contractor, they represent us. So we personally make sure they're among the best – through reference checks and research. If possible, we go to see them in action The Wellness team needs to do this … if we're asking someone to come to a program, it better be worth it. They're taking valuable time out of their day for this. Whatever they're missing, this should be better. "

Related Articles

Back to top button