They’ve built roads, bridges, and dams. They’ve moved earth, crushed rock, and harnessed power through wind and solar farms.
Now Goodfellow Bros. Inc. (GBI) is building something else: a strong and healthy workforce, through a corporate wellness program that incorporates inter-office challenges and fitness rewards.
Strong History, Stronger Future
Founded by brothers Jack, Bert and Jim Goodfellow, the family-owned construction business has been transforming the nation’s infrastructure since 1921. Today, the Goodfellow Bros. collection of major projects includes airports, harbors, highways, housing developments, marinas, parks, and more.
With all that, it’s important that their workforce has a healthy foundation, which is why GBI’s management turned to a wellness broker, BenefitHub, to find a solution that would get people investing in their own health.
The various regional offices had occasionally done workplace challenges on their own—a weight loss challenge event here, a charity walk there—but the need for a comprehensive program came to a head last year when switching insurance policies.
“We wanted our employees to take an active part in their health,” explains Debbi Phipps, Human Resources Specialist.
Building a Plan
Through BenefitHub, the HR department looked at many different programs, but found most to be too expensive and complicated.
“For years we have had a gym membership reimbursement program, but not everyone wants to go to a gym, some prefer to be outside walking or exercising,” says Phipps.
They also needed a simple solution that wouldn’t frustrate those who aren’t tech savvy.
“If you throw too much at them it gets confusing and complicated. We wanted our program to be easy to use and fun,” says Phipps, “and we wanted to set it up so you had to get out and do things in order to be rewarded.”
Now the company’s wellness benefits look like:
- Rewards for walking, running, hiking, or biking
- Rewards for spinning, using an elliptical, or visiting the gym
- 50% reimbursement for gym memberships
- Incentives to get flu shots and annual physicals, or to stop smoking
- (Click to see a larger image of the benefits plan)
When working with remote teams, convening everyone around a new program can be tricky.
Because of this, GBI introduced wellness challenges as a way to bring everyone together across offices in Washington state, Northern California, Portland, OR, and Hawaii.
“IncentFit has turned out to be a great thing for us, especially the challenges,” says Phipps, who recently completed a team challenge to drink more water.
“Our employees are extremely competitive. There’s fun camaraderie for people who normally don’t work together. Now you might have people in different states who get connected and team up for a challenge.”
The changes have been easy to see.
Every day, Phipps sees half a dozen administrative staff go out to walk in the park at lunch every day; they even found a local event center that would let them walk laps inside in the winter.
“It’s gotten people moving that would not normally be so active. They’ve lost weight, they’re walking a ton of steps a day, it’s so motivating to see,” says Phipps, who describes the commitment to wellness as a huge group effort.
They’ve also seen an increase in people getting flu shots because of the $25 incentive—something that’s especially important at their Wenatchee, Washington headquarters, where GBI is building an open-concept office.
There are other tangible advantages, including fewer sick days or fewer workplace injuries due to fatigue or strain.
“I like to send out quarterly emails to our employees, including management, to show how it’s paying off,” says Phipps. “Everyone loves it, participation has not slowed down after the holidays, it’s continuing. Employees aren’t getting tired of it.”
Their 314 active employees are on track to log over 100,000 miles this year.
Aside from the team unity, Phipps says the wellness benefits have been a valuable recruiting tool. They’ve even recommended the program to several other businesses in the construction industry.
“College grads love the fact that we’re paying for people to be healthy. They’re always shocked. You’re really going to pay me $2 a day to go to the gym?”
Going forward, the answer is a resounding yes.
If you would like to explore other ways to incorporate wellness at a construction company, check out these 6 ways to keep your construction crew healthy.