I’d like to introduce you to a company close to my heart. We’ve known each other for 25+ years and they offered me my first job (albeit digging through boxes and boxes of files when I was 13 or so).
Welcome to the show, CIDA! CIDA just happens to be the company my father built. They are extremely dedicated to their employees’ wellness and well-being and I count myself lucky to get the insider scoop.
Sometimes word of their initiatives trickle into my inbox from my dad (by way of a forward with some emoji’s sprinkled on top – he really loves those things…). It’s exciting to learn how their team supports each other in healthy habits and activities. The latest: a series of hikes they’re doing together this summer. It’s my honor to share with you some insight from Mya, the Director of Interior Design, who put this together.
Now to the good stuff!
Taylor: What inspired you to set up the CIDA hikes?
Mya: My main reason for scheduling these hikes was to promote social events with our employees outside of work hours, as we tend to work pretty diligently during the work week. While I, myself, have a hard time breaking away from my desk to socialize, some staff do take walks during lunch together. Many of our staff do take hikes with family and friends on the weekends and I thought it would be fun to try and coordinate these monthly as a group and even pair it with events as the seasons change (berry-picking, pumpkin-patching, Christmas-tree-hunting, etc.).
Mya: Thanks! We are all really proud that our employees voted us into this amazing category! One sentence from our mission statement really seems to speak to both of these; we have high standards, we encourage people to grow, and we enjoy what we do. CIDA understands that for an employee to become the best professional they can be, they need support, guidance and understanding from the organization. We know that investments made for employees pay off to happier clients and staff, a better built environment and an improved broader community. Most of all, we enjoy what we do!!
Taylor: What kind of ROI do you see with participants of your events/wellness program?
Mya: Our staff definitely seem happier after non-work events/social gatherings together and certainly gain health benefits when these include active tasks. These group activities increase our social bond and encourage us to get to know each other, and our family members, on a personal level, which of course makes us all more invested in each other. Those bonds make our working environment more like a family situation than purely co-workers.
Taylor: I love that these hikes focus on both social and physical wellness. We’re hearing a lot lately about social well-being, community and belonging as leading wellness trends – do you have any other fun ideas up your sleeve that you’d be willing to share with our community?
Mya: CIDA has always coordinated a summer picnic/camp trip, which does tend to include hikes, lawn games, water balloon fights and the like. We have also had teams for various events like the OHS Doggie Dash and just participated in the Rappel for Her event put on as a fundraising event for Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest. CIDA also takes part in the annual Summer 10,000 step challenge where we engage in some healthy competition with other small businesses in our area. This challenge is organized through our health insurance who also points out that insurance premiums are lower when groups are healthier. Fridays have historically been “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” at CIDA, which we all know decreases stress levels and creates a happier work environment, but you can bet that at least one dog is in our office randomly each week at any given moment (my two are here with me today).
Taylor: Who leads the wellness program at CIDA? Do you have a Team or Champions or volunteers? How does leadership play a part in getting folks involved? Leadership buy-in is often a contributing factor to participation levels in our programs. Do you find that having the President + leadership team involved boosts participation?
Mya: I’d have to say that Rachel Johnson typically heads our wellness program (strongly support by our president, Jennifer), as she is generally the one to coordinate the details for most events, but all employees are encouraged to offer suggestions and to maintain a “captain” role in any event that they may bring into the office. Because CIDA is open to these events, our staff know that they are welcome to bring opportunities to our attention. This allows a wide variety of events and activities, as well as, a sense of ownership in our company and our larger communities. Involvement by leadership definitely boosts participation and CIDA has always had the kind of leaders that get in there with the team and make any task fun. This definitely crosses over into the non-work activities as well. CIDA really is a no-ego type of an office – we are all in it together.
Taylor: Any other advice for companies looking to start a wellness program (or bring new life to the one they have)?
Mya: Just to look for, and be open to, opportunities. Often times your staff lead you to these by their passing conversations. I think that’s how the CIDA Hikes came about and it just seemed appropriate to coordinate an office-wide hike. So far the response has been amazing! We kick-off CIDA Hikes this Saturday and plan to do them the first Saturday of every month.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE:
Social wellness is super important. Building and finding a community helps you stick with your healthy habits, encourages you to try new things and can keep you engaged long term. So, by all means, Community-up!
You could apply this across many of your communities; here are some ideas:
In your workplace: invite some co-workers to join you in an activity/class/adventure. With your family: start a friendly competition that challenges you all to reach goals, now – you have others to check in with and hold you accountable. With your friends: plan a weekend hike or trip that support a healthy lifestyle (hint: a healthy lifestyle is broad, don’t let it feel constricted to exercise. Maybe you go to a spa to de-stress or cook together, creating a fun and social outlet around a meal).
Who is CIDA? Find out more on their website – http://www.cidainc.com
Please, share your ideas, successes and calls to action with us.