We’re back with another inspiring interview with past participants. Today, we have with us Lauren Kretsch from Pinnacle ART. They’ve participated in the Challenge for five years running and Lauren has some great things to say about setting goals and keeping yourselves motivated.
What’s the wellness culture like at Pinnacle ART?
We have a sort of large workplace wellness umbrella. It’s run by five chairs and a couple of committees. We do things like having “lunch and learns”, where doctors, nutritionists, or fitness experts come in and give a talk and we all have lunch together.
There are also intramural sports teams, yoga classes, and even a couple of engineers who run dance classes. overall, there’s a lot of flexibility with what we can do. If it fits in the budget and people are interested, we go for it.
That’s an interesting structure for running wellness programs. How did it all come to be?
I’ve been here for almost two years now. When I started, there were two chairs and no committee. It was basically two people trying to run everything and they were overwhelmed.
When they invited me to come on and help them, I made it a point to form committees and get more people involved and other forms of leadership in action. This would take the pressure off our chairs and gave more people the chance for input and to run with their ideas on the organizational side.
How do your chairs decide what wellness programs to add? Is it all top down or do you get input from the employees?
Well, we have some initiatives that come directly from the chairs, such as the yoga sessions. But we have frequent meetings where we get feedback from the company as a whole and anyone can pitch an idea.
For instance, the dance committee was basically a couple of engineers who showed up at one of our meetings and said this is something they were interested in running. Ultimately, we take all suggestions seriously. Letting people make them and having us listen really empowers more people to take action and participate.
What are some of the things your team likes about the Fit Company Challenge?
It’s definitely a team bonding opportunity. We have seven hundred people working across multiple buildings. We assign the squads randomly, making it a great way to interface with people you don’t always see in your environment, but are suddenly put together for a common goal.
We have also found that a lot of our interns like to participate. It helps them form points of contact within the company and is great in case they return the following summer or stay on with us in a full-time capacity.
How do you get people to sign up for the Fit Company Challenge?
To put teams together, we send out an email first to all the previous participants and people active in any wellness activity with the company. They basically get first dibs since spots are limited. Once we hear from them, we open it up to the entire company, and usually have to have a waiting list.
Does your company do anything specific to prepare for the event?
There isn’t actually anything formal that we have to do as a whole company. For instance, there’s no formal training sessions. Often, we get people who go and look up exercises on YouTube or incorporate new routines into their own training. Usually our participants use the Challenge as motivation to beef up their existing workout routines, as something that can really help them meet their own fitness goals.
Do you see a lot of range with the age and fitness level of the people participating?
We’re actually a very young and active company. The average age of our employees is about twenty-eight and people from this demographic tend to be the kinds of people who want to join these events. Though, we still get our older employees participating too.
In terms of fitness levels, we definitely get a lot of interest and participation from those who are already involved in our wellness events. A lot of people use the challenge as motivation to work out more often or to introduce regular workouts into their lifestyle.
You mentioned goals a couple of times. Do you see people setting personal goals for the challenge? Or maybe even team goals?
It’s a bit of both. For a lot of people, being active is their jam. They take every opportunity to be active. In this case, the challenge is one more opportunity that really motivates them. Sometimes we’ll get three really intense workout guys on one team and when they showed up they said “okay, let’s do this” and as a team they try to be in the top three or something like that.
Then again, we all come from a very goal oriented culture over here. Our company encourages us to be open about both our professional and personal goals and to do what we can to pursue them. The Fit Company Challenges creates a space where people can come together and be more open about their personal goals and discuss with each other the reasons they want to participate.
How has the Fit Company Challenge contributed to your workplace wellness?
In terms of the challenge, I’ve noticed that participating in it is almost like a badge of honor around here. People know it can be pretty intense. Those who haven’t done it yet, often seek out those who have and ask about it. Of course, everyone who has completed the challenge says “oh yeah, it’s awesome, you should totally do it.”
Thanks again to Lauren for having spoke with us about her company’s wellness programs and their participation in the challenge. It’s always a pleasure to hear back from our participants and learn about the wellness culture their companies are promoting.
We’ve got a good month ahead of us. We’ll be in Nashville at the start of June. As always, if you’re interested in fielding a team for an upcoming Fit Company challenge, be sure to sign up for our Starter Package (get it right below this). It covers all the details about the challenge and pricing for your city. We even help provide you with all the emails to facilitate participant recruitment.
Yours in wellness,
The FC Squad