Employers are increasingly struggling to recruit and retain good talent. To attract the best and brightest, companies continue to up their game by offering more perks and benefits – particularly wellness-related ones. Wellness programs demonstrate that employers value the well-being of employees – both inside and outside of the workplace. However, offering FSA contributions, incentive-based flat screen TVs, or on-site flu shots are no longer good enough. Employers who view their employee’s health as essential to their company’s mission are redefining what wellness perks look like today.
5NINES is a 16-year-old Madison technology company with approximately 20 employees. They embrace employee wellness as an integral part of workplace culture and demonstrate that you don’t need the deep pockets of a behemoth, publically-traded company to do it. As a matter of fact, most U.S. employees state that they would rather have simple, practical wellness options regularly available to them at work then receive traditional incentive-based perks like cash back for joining a gym (that they don’t have time to go to).
Rylee Wedekind, COO of 5NINES says, “We are expanding our employee happiness initiatives by providing things like nutritionally balanced lunches, weekly educational ‘lunch & learn’ sessions that include guest speakers, access to on-site fitness options, and more.” The team at 5NINES believes the program will increase employee well-being and work satisfaction. Equally important to the fiery Wedekind is hiring small, local vendors – as opposed to “large corporate restaurants whose owners shoot elephants and other trophies.”
Hence, as part of her weekly catered lunch program, Wedekind and her team only order healthy, nutritionally-balanced meals from Madison-based small businesses. She is firm on providing meals with fresh produce, lean protein, and vegetarian options. Finding delicious meals that aren’t filled with preservatives and calories can be challenging for a small company that’s mindful of their budget. But Wedekind, who helped build the success of 5NINES by being innovative and resourceful, has partnered with local companies, like THRIVE Madison, to meet her criteria: good taste, good nutrition, good people.
Bringing the team together for family-style meals and a fun, educational group discussion is not only a perk for employees, but a great way to improve overall company success. Providing healthy lunches boosts employee productivity by 20%, improves morale by 40%, and reduces employer’s medical costs up to 50%. Access to exercise options at work improves employee performance by more than 15%. And an innovative program that provides perks that employees actually want, such as food and fitness, improves employee retention by 45%.
But for 5NINES, the focus is on culture and well-being. Providing a uniquely innovative culture in the workplace has always been a huge part of their philosophy. As a technology company, innovation is essential to successfully creating a work culture where employees can thrive. So, putting an innovative twist on traditional wellness perks, by offering nutritious lunches, bringing in health experts, and coordinating access to on-site exercise are logical offerings for 5NINES. Future goals include discounted therapeutic massage, personal training, circuit training, and even dance lessons with THRIVE Madison. Sounds like adding a “Dancing with the Stars” viewing night may be in order at 5NINES.