A Culture of Fitness at Nautilus/Bowflex
Andrea Herron 00:03
When future talent is deciding to apply for a job, what are their most important considerations? Well, if they’re like most of us right after the job description and salary range your employee benefits page is going to be next. The reason is simple. Employees directly relate benefits to their overall perception of well being. And HR leaders are constantly adapting their benefit offerings to meet the needs of their evolving workforces. But let’s be honest, some employee benefits are way more interesting than others. Hi, I’m Andrea Herron, head of people for WebMD health services. And I’d like to welcome you to the HR scoop. On this podcast, I talk with other HR leaders to explore the world of unique employee benefits, and about the challenges of managing unique workforces, because well being isn’t a one size fits all approach.
Hi, Kim, and welcome to the HR scoop. I am thrilled to have you here today. And I’m really looking forward to talking with you about all the amazing things going on at Nautilus. Thank you. I’m super excited to be part of this. Great. So to get started, how about if you could tell us just a little bit about yourself and your role there and Nautilus?
Kim Hanley 01:24
Absolutely. I have been with Nautilus for 12 and a half years, I am a senior Human Resources business partner. And that means that I get to support specific groups within our organization. So I have about half of the business that I get to partner with on a regular basis. And that’s I think the part I probably enjoy the most is really getting to feel like I’m engaged in the operations and not just sort of a transactional function. That’s great.
Andrea Herron 01:53
And I know that there are so many wonderful things going on there. How many employees does Nautilus have currently, we have about
Kim Hanley 02:00
450 direct employees, we also utilize temporary staff for peak seasons, which for this year has been most of the year in some of our key departments like customer service and distribution. So, you know, with that, we probably have another 75 contracting or temporary staff that are working for us. And then we’ve got numerous locations around the world. We have six locations currently, as well as field staff, which would normally be your sales employees. Right now. We’re all kind of field staff. But typically, that would be your sales, individuals that are working from their homes.
Andrea Herron 02:41
Nice. I mean, if ever there was a year to get some home gym equipment, I would say 2020 is the year so that makes perfect sense.
Kim Hanley 02:49
It it certainly is gangbusters from that perspective.
Andrea Herron 02:53
And I know a lot of your headquarter employees there in Vancouver, you all do a lot of benefits on site, which I’m sure has shifted through the, you know, COVID dynamic. So I would really like to spend some time talking about what you offer, maybe how it’s changed. And to dig into that a little bit. I know you all have something called a wellness passport program. So could you tell us what types of things that a passport includes?
Kim Hanley 03:20
Absolutely, this is something that we launched, I would say five years ago. So it’s it’s been in place for a while this year will certainly look different. But typically, it has we call it different routes. So there’s a couple of required routes. One is a biometric screening, which the company does provide on site in our in our larger locations twice a year. So employees can do that, or they can go to their doctor. That part, of course, is just trying to make sure people are staying on top of anything that they’ve got going on or underlying conditions they might not be aware of. So we think that’s really helpful in making sure that we’re assisting our employees and sort of taking care of themselves proactively. And then another portion that’s required is an online general health assessment and sort of the same thing walking through at the end, it’ll give you some prompts on things that you can do maybe differently. Perhaps it’s getting more sleep or more exercise or putting down the wineglass which is hard to do these days, but they’ll have different recommendations at the conclusion. So those are the two things we ask employees to do minimally to participate in the program. And then the other thing is they have to if they want to be a part of it to do eight alternative routes, and that can be anything from increasing your 401k to signing your kids up for a sport to planting a garden, obviously really anything in the fitness front counts. So if they joined the kickball team if they did 100 workouts in the gym or anywhere, if they did a 5k run for an event, all of those would be included and then at the end of the year, we do drawings. So there’s $500 gift cards that people can receive if they’ve kind of checked some of those boxes. And then you also get $150 Medical premium credit on your first six checks. So it equates to about $25. A check that is reduced by doing that. So we’ve had really great participation, I think we’re a competitive group overall. So people enjoy trying to get to that we call it a blackout when you get stamped, and all of the squares on your passport. So it every year, we seem to be getting more and more individuals that are joining in and, and doing that which we really love to see. Yeah, there’s
Andrea Herron 05:36
so many things I like about what you just said. But you know, the incentivizing of really preventative and whole person, well, being focused options is a great place to start and knowing your population and that they are competitive, you know, to be able to work that in is really great. And it showcases how for benefits to be really utilized, they have to be tailored to the people using them. Because you know, what you all do there is awesome for your group, but it may not work at a different place. And that’s one of the reasons that I love having these conversations is you know, every workplace truly is different, but you can find ways to match whole person well being and tailored to those people.
Kim Hanley 06:21
I absolutely agree. And we really try to do that as well, our you know, our thought is, and I think people sometimes are intimidated when they come to work for a fitness company, often when I’m interviewing, someone will start out with saying, I’m not active. Now, I’m not fitting out, but I’d love to be, but we don’t want anyone to feel like that’s a requirement. You know, we all start our journey at different times in different ways. I didn’t start working out regularly until I was in my 40s. And I think it was in great part to the to the support of the team that I’m around. And, you know, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. I’m not going to run as fast as you know, our folks that compete in like, the elite runs, but that’s okay, you know, you get out there and you do what you can, and hopefully, you know, good example for your own children and your own family and others around you as well. Yeah, really
Andrea Herron 07:08
meeting people where they are. And exactly, you said people do want to be on that elite team and you know, are super competitive. And that’s awesome for them too. But you know, there’s also the couch to 5k people who are just as inspired.
Kim Hanley 07:21
Absolutely. And we are we want to try and make those options available to everybody. So you know, you might not be on our Tough Mudder team the first year you might start out at a rugged maniac and you know, get out there and get muddy and and experience that with the team and feel great about it. But maybe next year, you want to do something, you know, and challenge yourself to go a little further and do a little bit more or not income and cheer the team on as well.
Andrea Herron 07:45
Yeah, and having those those options really helps when you have a workforce as large as yours because everybody wants to do something a little different. Yes. And you mentioned the kick balls. So I just have to ask, you know, where did that start with that idea? And do people do they play? Do they cheer the team on kind of what does that look like?
Kim Hanley 08:05
I love this one because it everybody can do something around kickball. And it’s been going since before I was at Nautilus. So more than 12 years, I want to say it’s probably been about 15 years. And initially it was departments. So one department would have a team and another department would have a team. And as the business changed, we did more of a mixing it up which I like a lot a lot better. So we usually have about 50 employees from our Vancouver location. Typically, it’s in sort of the end of the school year, June to early August that we have the teams every team will play usually once a week at a local elementary school that’s down the road from the office. And a lot of times we’ll have folks that will be out there cheering them on, you know, supporting their favorite team. We do little recaps of that each week so you know what the standings are. And at the end, we have a big family barbecue at a different location a little bit bigger, where everybody can come and we have the final playoffs. And we have individuals that are doing play by plays for it. So it’s really fun and exciting. And what I mostly love though, is after the season is done, and I’ll see you know somebody from accounting talking to somebody from product development, and I know that there’s just nothing that they would do workwise together so what’s that connection and it is almost always that they’ve been on the same kickball team. And so that’s really fun to see that those relationships kind of continue when you you sort of have your in with different departments and I think that’s maybe not what it started out to be because it’s just a fun thing to do. But it’s also like a nice side effect of
Andrea Herron 09:49
it. Yeah, those cross departmental relationships seem like they would be a huge benefit to the employees and you know, even the work product because now you know other people out I have your little work sphere that you can bring into projects and, you know, on the field and off the field.
Kim Hanley 10:06
That’s absolutely right. And I think it happens more often than we probably think that it does.
Andrea Herron 10:10
So since this has been kind of a long held tradition there at Nautilus, and then along came 2020, and COVID. You know, I’m assuming you all didn’t have kickball this year, maybe you did? Or if you didn’t, how do you see that perhaps changing? Will it be more inclusive in the new remote world? Or is it something you just plan to pick back up?
Kim Hanley 10:31
Our hope is that we do pick some of these things back up, we know that it’s going to be we didn’t do it this year. You know, again, it starts typically in June. And so that was definitely at a time where we wouldn’t have wanted to get groups of that size together. So it was definitely unfortunate. And I would be on calls, and I’d see folks in their kickball T shirts, and they would comment, like, I just have to feel like I’m still part of the kickball season, since we were having it, which I mean, it’s it was both sad, and also kind of a little uplifting that it you know, and something that they look so forward to, but we do hope for for things like that, that we’re able to, to get back to it. I think that they, you know, the, I guess I’m gonna put it in quotes. But the good news about being in a situation like this, it has forced us to evaluate the ways we connect with our employees. And it’s not going to be the same. And I think we will also have more individuals working remotely, even when we can all return together. And so we’re going to have to continue to find that balance I, I think we’ll still have in person things like kickball. But we’re also going to need to be more responsive to individuals who might not want to do that, and aren’t in the office and be more virtual than we have in the past. And so I’d say, you know, that’s kind of a good thing, we probably are a little behind on on those kinds of activities and initiatives. And we’ve certainly put a lot more time and emphasis on it in the last six months or so.
Andrea Herron 11:58
Yeah. And you are not alone on that. I believe that people who have previously been working remote are now saying welcome everyone. Now you see the struggles and how can we make it better for all of us going forward, and there is definite value in that, although it is harder to do with some initiatives and programs and others
Kim Hanley 12:16
agreed it some don’t lend themselves kickball, again, is a great example. But there’s many, they don’t lend themselves to the virtual world. And so those aren’t going to be the options that we go forward with. But there are other things you know, we’ve been really focused on encouraging people to do virtual walks, and record that for their passport, or designate a day and say, Everybody get out and do one mile, run, walk whatever you want today, and just try and keep that sort of front of mind. But know that it’s going to look different, we’re not going to all do it together, we used to do, you know, a couple times a year big block walks, and we would walk the block as a as a company just to get out sometimes it was spur of the moment, sometimes it was planned for a specific initiative. And so now we’ll just do those, you know, maybe you just do them with your your home office folks, the people that you’re around and get outside if you can,
Andrea Herron 13:07
yeah, your own very own quarantine. Yes, exactly. Nice. Well, thinking about, you know, when we do transition back into the office, you know, of course, we’ll have to hold space for keeping things flexible, and you know, virtual options. But I believe you will also have an employee gym on site. And I’m curious about the gym. And if people you know, generally use it, do family members use it, you know, candidates that come in, are they curious about it? Because some places have onsite gyms. But, you know, it’s not the norm in every business. So if you could give us some insight into your onsite gym, I think that would be very interesting.
Kim Hanley 13:47
Absolutely. And it’s probably when I do my wrap ups for interviews, one of the questions I get most regularly from candidates they want to know about the gym. And we’re lucky enough to have not only one at our headquarters in Vancouver, but we also have them in several of our other locations as well. So our distribution centers and our location in Minnesota. So it’s great that it’s not just for the team in Vancouver. It is open to families, their age, age thresholds, of course, but in general families are able to come in we’ll see small groups that will get together and do classes a couple times a week. So it’s very organic. It’s not anything that’s you know, a sponsored activity, but you’ll see them doing that. In fact, I know one of the groups that was doing it a couple times a week has transitioned over to teams and they’re still doing their workouts together which is super, super cool to see and hear about but it’s definitely not only great just to have that so it’s readily available. It’s much harder to walk by the gym and say you don’t have time when it’s literally down the hall so it makes it a little bit easier slash harder depending on what your your your mental state is of wanting to go but it’s really convenient to do that. But it’s also nice on the product side where we can get a new product that hasn’t launched yet and in for employees to test and see what that’s like and provide recommendations. And we do that often. So that’s something that’s sort of a, you don’t really think about, but it’s definitely a perk, both from the business side, but the employee side to our employees really want to know what’s coming out and to hopefully help them be a part of the process.
Andrea Herron 15:27
Yeah, that is a win win from a user testing and an employee morale and mental and physical health benefit.
Kim Hanley 15:34
Absolutely. Yeah, I think we’ve we’ve really scored all around on that one.
Andrea Herron 15:39
Have you noticed any major successes, or perhaps some challenges of having a gym on site that people should be aware of? If they were thinking about it? You know,
Kim Hanley 15:48
I wouldn’t say there’s been any big hiccups that we’ve seen along the way, you know, people are very respectful of others in the gym, and also just taking care of the equipment, I think, again, because for the most part, it’s our own product, we want to make sure that it’s well represented, and that we’re, you know, doing our best to be good advocates for it. So overall, that’s great. I think it’s one of those things where, you know, you’re gonna have space constraints at times certain products that people want to see that maybe there’s not as much of more it’s higher use, I’d say, those are the things that we hear about, you know, as areas of opportunity the most. But overwhelmingly, it’s really, really positively received.
Andrea Herron 16:33
Great, yeah, kind of normal, normal things. And when you have a limited capacity, and a lot of people are interested, which I mean, honestly, what a great problem to have, sorry, true turns working out today.
Kim Hanley 16:46
And we all kind of know those peak hours in the gym, and you can avoid them. If you if that’s something that is really important to you is to have maybe some quiet time in there, you can definitely do that. And I think some of those folks have certainly figured that out on their own
Andrea Herron 17:01
grades. That is so helpful. And I guess I wanted to just wrap up with a question that, you know, maybe in 2020, if there’s something you’ve had to do differently, or that you weren’t able to do or, you know, if there’s something new that has come up from being remote, or if you’re going to think about your benefits or your passport program differently, any insights into kind of 2020 and its own challenges.
Kim Hanley 17:29
Yes, it is just been a year of different experiences for sure. And, and there are lots of things that we’ve done in the past that we that we weren’t able to do this year, and will continue not to be able to Halloween is a big event at our office where we usually have lots of departments decorating and the kids come through. And it’s pretty amazing to see what folks do and that won’t happen this year. But we’re really trying to find other ways to still stay connected. So you know, I referenced teams earlier, that’s been really something we didn’t utilize very much previously. And so we’ve got different channels set up in there for parents, so they can sort of share their best practices for getting kids rolling on school, or healthy recipe shares, we’ve got sections for those kinds of things we’ve taken, we’ve got a group that does birthday cards for the the team each month, and now those are transitioned to be virtual. So they all record a message to each person having a birthday for the month, and we email that to that group versus a hard card that we would have done or put in the mail or on their desk previously. So we’re adapting, I think some of those things will stay around because they’ve been really well received. And I think, again, is probably prompting us to look at our activities a little differently. But I think, you know, again, some things I hope will come back in person. But I like the aspect of the connection that I think we’re experiencing outside of our home locations where we are able to tap into some of those other areas of the business that we probably have less contact with most of the time, you know, sharing first day of school pictures remotely has been fun or national joke day happened at the beginning of the pandemic. And so all day long, at the top of the hour, we would have a joke that went out and people really responded well. So I think you just have to kind of be adaptable and see what’s available. We’ve implemented some mindfulness workshops that are available to the team to I think, never more has that been something that folks really want to learn more about and take advantage of. And this is a good time to introduce them and see if that’s something we want to continue with when we get back to whatever our our new normal looks like in the future.
Andrea Herron 19:46
Absolutely. Those are some really great ideas and definitely we’ll call them silver linings. Yeah, soon, you know, having to be nimble and do things a little differently kind of all of a sudden. So thank you for sharing all Have those and to close? I think as HR people, it can sometimes feel harder for people to get to know us because we are people after all. And so what I would like to ask all of our guests something here at the end is something a tad more personal. So is there something that people might not know about you that you would be willing to share? Yes.
Kim Hanley 20:23
Let’s see. Well, my first job that I had, I worked on a Christmas tree farm. So I’m a really expert Christmas tree farmer. That was one of the things that I would do in the summer was prune Christmas trees. And then in the winter, I would go back and help with the sales and parking attendant and all kinds of things. So that was my first my first job. And that was a great experience for sure. And I you know, I can pick out a Christmas tree like nobody’s business and trim for you, too.
Andrea Herron 20:54
I bet. What a great job but a happy job.
Kim Hanley 20:57
It’s not great to prune those Christmas trees in the summer. They’re very snappy.
But at Christmas, all the joy Oh, yes, definitely.
Andrea Herron 21:08
Awesome. Well, thank you again for your time. And being on our HR scoop podcast. It was great talking with you. And I hope that our audience gained a few ideas that they can take back to their own organizations.
Kim Hanley 21:22
Absolutely. I appreciate your time to Andrea and for inviting me.
Andrea Herron 21:25
Right. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the HR scoop podcast. Please take a moment to rate and subscribe on Spotify, Apple, Google, or directly at WebMD health services.com/podcasts