By: Becky Seidel
Workplace wellness is a big part of the company culture at Allianz Global Assistance - here, they take a few minutes for a great Q&A on their wellness programs and discuss how Allianz, an Active RVA certified company, and its associates strive to stay healthy and active.
Q. Why does Allianz see wellness programs as a valuable part of the employee experience?
A. Allianz Global Assistance is committed to a positive working environment for our associates by offering a range of activities that promote both physical and mental wellbeing. Our programs encourage associates to make an investment in their health, set realistic goals and in turn, get rewarded for achieving those goals. When these goals are achieved, both the associate and AGA benefit on various levels. The associate feels better mentally and physically and feels the company cares about their total well-being. The company benefits from increased productivity, decreased absenteeism and potentially lower medical costs.
Q. What are some of the most successful or exciting programs Allianz offers?
A. We began offering onsite exercise programs in the Fall of 2013 to include boot camp and yoga. Those are still in place today, but we’ve added another program called Team Adrenaline to enhance our program offerings. Associates are also excited about a more recent program, a 10-minute wellness break encouraging them to take time out of their day to do something wellness related. Examples include walking the stairs, taking a walk outside, various exercises you can do in place such as squats, wall exercises, weighted exercises, etc. We handed out exercise bands and a one-page sheet that showed various exercises you can do with a stretchband. Each month we will send new ideas to all associates on how to use the 10-minute break. We also encourage associates to send in ideas that they or their teams have come up with so we can share with all associates. We’ve already received a few videos that some departments have put together.
A. When we first put up the signage, there was quite the buzz around the building. HR received emails and were approached in hallways on what a great idea it was and how it enticed people to take the stairs and continue to do so, when before they may have taken the elevator. They thought the sayings were clever even though some of our younger associates couldn’t relate to some of them (Walk this way, Give me two steps, to name a few) but overall, the signs were appreciated as being something “out of the norm” if you will. One associate’s comment was that the signage was a pleasant surprise as there were no announcements they were coming, and just showed up out of the blue. We are planning on replacing them with new signs once a quarter to keep the step campaign fresh.
Q. How is the FitBit challenge going so far? How exactly does the challenge work?
A. Associates are really stepping up to the Fitbit challenge that we launched on May 1 and that runs through the end of August. Associates participate by using a FitBit device or other tracking device. Associates are able to earn points each month that they can redeem through our rewards and recognition program. It’s simple: walk at least 200,000 steps per month, earn 15 points. Walk at least 280,000 steps per month, earn 30 points. At the end of the challenge we will award additional points to those who come in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall. Everyone’s been very competitive. Even our CEO is participating.
To continue the program’s momentum through the end of the year we are going to tie the points earned for steps into a donation for a local charity.
Q. Are there any other similar challenges offered throughout the year?
A. While this is really our first company-wide ‘challenge,’ we did implement Blue Ocean Brain as an additional option for our 10-minute wellness break. This is an online brain activity tool that focuses on mental wellness. Associates can also compete in daily brain teasers. Associates can register on the site take part in a company challenge and can track how they’re placing with everyone else on the tool’s dashboard, much like the FitBit challenge.
Q. Does Allianz have any on-site amenities available to employees, such as fitness center, walking paths, locker rooms, etc.?
A. We have all three! We offer an on-site fitness center, outside walking paths around the building, on-site locker rooms, and are piloting stand-up desks and stability balls for associates to use.
We also have an onsite Café that offers a variety of healthier food choices. Our salad bar options are color coded: green for healthy, yellow not so healthy but okay and red not a healthy choice. As part of our wellness initiatives, we’ve partnered with Aramark, our café vendor, to hand out samples of healthy menu items during monthly Wellness Wednesdays.
A special thanks to Laura Moore and the wellness and communications team at Allianz for providing such great insight into their workplace wellness programs. Have information you’d like to share about your wellness program? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post some info on the Active RVA Facebook page!