The darkest day I ever had at Honest Tea happened in April 2015, when my beloved personal assistant passed away unexpectedly. It reminded me how fragile life can be, and reinforced why health and wellness are a big part of our company culture.
That's not to say that all of my employees have to be runners or fitness buffs--instead, it's about what we can do to give our employees the tools to make wellness a part of their daily lives. Our first step? To add the following question to every employee's annual, written evaluation:
Optional: Do you have any personal health or wellness goals that you would like me to write down for the coming year?
We've done this for years, and always phrase the question as optional because we recognize not everyone feels comfortable sharing a health goal.
Over the years, we've had employee goals range from the ambitious-- such as completing an Ironman triathlon or losing 30 pounds-- to the more mundane, such as walking before work twice a week or participating in Meatless Mondays.
But no matter the size of the goal, we've learned that it makes a difference to put it down in writing (with your boss as a witness!) to help create positive pressure to achieve it.
Of course, there's no negative consequence for employees who don't achieve their health goals, but every year at the end of our annual company meeting, we give out "Wellness Awards" as part of our employee award ceremony to those employees who meet or beat their goals.
There have been several teary moments when we were able to celebrate a colleague who conquered a challenge. Witnessing these moments of success have often helped the rest of the team set ambitious goals for the year to come.
Here are a few of the other wellness opportunities we offer:
Intra-company health competitions
We have a lot of naturally competitive people in our company. We've learned over the years that within our team, bragging rights are often the most effective and coveted rewards (although we do also offer the winners actual prizes).
We'll have team competitions and individual competitions, and love it when someone unexpected wows with a top-place finish.
After hearing feedback from our employees, we brought on a health coach to support people's health and wellness goals. The coach is available by phone or email, and conducts seminars, writes a weekly tip for our all-staff biweekly newsletter, and runs the intra-company health competitions.
Prioritize healthy food options at work
Every beverage marketer knows that you want your drinks merchandised "eye to thigh" - the height which a consumer first looks, rather than at the top of bottom of a shelf.
We always make sure to offer plant-based lunch options whenever food is served in the office (salad does not count as a main course!), and we get fresh fruit deliveries so employees have the choice to eat something healthy for a snack.
That's not to say we don't have birthday celebrations and other all-staff treats, but we use our snack options to try to keep everything in moderation.
Take away the excuses by bringing health to the office
We have a group of employees who schedule "Wednesday Walks"--people gather in the lobby and walk the nearby Capital Crescent Trail together during lunchtime.
We also offer boot camp in the office twice a week (moving around some chairs to make space), and installed two standing desks so team members have the option to sit or stand throughout the day.
When we moved into our current office space in 2008, we made sure to renovate one of the bathrooms to include a shower--having it in the office takes away the excuse that people can't bike to work or run at lunch.
When we sold our one billionth beverage last year, we talked about how we could really thank our employees in a way that felt true to our brand and what we stand for.
After tossing out different options, we chose the one that seemed the most "us"--we purchased bikes for all employees who wanted them (and most took us up on it!).
That decision felt like the most "Honest" way to celebrate the milestone with our team -and to communicate that we want them to stay healthy and vibrant for the rest of the journey.