This article was excerpted from the local Chamber of Commerce.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - August 2008 - Anne Walz, Human Resource Associate with Indesign didn't realize how easy it would be to launch a corporate wellness program until it began nearly 4 weeks ago. She was pleased to see that of their 60 employees, 85% of the company signed up to participate. Their success could be because their particular program sounds remarkably easy to implement and not intimidating.
Indesign calls the first program challenge "Summer Strides," and the goal is for employees to monitor their steps each day toward a weekly goal.
Participants were randomly divided into teams and scores are kept by determining a team average per day. "We've actually had a team do 15,000 steps in a day," Anne said. (The program has shown that there are some very competitive people working at the company.)
To begin, Indesign purchased pedometers for participants, not an easy task since most stores don't carry the large number of pedometers needed for all of the employees who signed up. Employees were given an activity conversion chart so they can convert other activity into steps. "Spinning (indoor cycling) is approximately 250 steps per minute for a man," said John Sawyer, program participant and software engineer with the company. "For a 45 minute class, that's a lot of steps," he added.
Each challenge is 4 1/2 weeks in length, and the company is nearly finished with their first challenge. Once it's over, Anne will re-team all participants, placing the highest achievers in different teams to make things more fair. As each challenge is finished, new and more aggressive goals are set for the participants.
The program works because it encourages camaraderie among the employees and encourages them to get moving more. "We've got employees actually going out in groups over their lunch hour and walking around the Loop," said Kathy Rima, Executive Vice President. Kathy also said that they did the program to ultimately reduce health care costs, as companies who implement wellness programs over a period of time are considered to be more "well" by insurance companies.
Before getting started, Anne surveyed the employees to learn what was most important to them. What they learned was telling of the age of their group, which is largely in their 40's and 50's.
Only twenty percent of employees fall in their 20's. Employees cited as their top five interests: learning small steps for increased fitness, men's health issues, heart disease prevention, vitamin facts and information, and tips for increasing physical activity.
Indesign is a fit company in the business sense as well. The company develops all kinds of electrical products for companies such as Roche, Thompson, and Microsoft. And, they stay busy doing it, working on 60 - 70 projects per year. Thirty-four people who came from Bell Labs formed Indesign in late '96 and opened their doors in February '97. The company was located at Patriot's Place on Caito Drive until their move into their new building in the fall of 2001.
Based on Indesign's proven track record over the past four years, they anticipate a 10% growth in personnel each year. "What we do is fun for engineers," Kathy said. They hire software, electrical, mechanical and test engineers and recruit heavily at Purdue and Rose Hulman. "Recruiting is easy because once engineering students see what we develop, they get excited about working with us because what we do is exactly what engineers like to do."
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About Indesign, LLC
Indesign is an engineering design services firm with a proven track record of helping companies develop new electronic devices. Utilizing an ISO certified, well-defined development process enables Indesign engineers to design quality products on-time and within budget. Engineering disciplines consist of electrical/circuit design, software/ firmware design, mechanical design, human factors design, and testing/validation with a strong emphasis on products utilizing embedded microprocessors and DSPs.