From the Blog:

Changemaker spotlight: Dr. Wald at USAA knows well-being can drive business results

Every day at 5 a.m., expect to find the USAA Enterprise Medical Director exercising in their on-site fitness center. Why? Because Dr. Peter Wald believes well-being makes him a better employee and a better leader.

“If our employees aren’t here every day, we can’t serve our members. USAA as an enterprise is very focused on our employees’ well-being. They’re the ones who deliver service to our members each day.”  – Dr. Peter Wald

Dr. Wald has been with USAA for over 15 years. The organization has invested in well-being for over 10 years and eventually outgrew their original vendor. Dr. Wald knew they needed a compelling experience with immersive technology for their employees, which is why USAA partnered with Limeade in 2015.

Partnering with Limeade

USAA partnered with Limeade to create the Healthy Points Program. They wanted something that was fun, social and gamified. It needed to be mobile and address all areas of well-being, from physical and emotional to financial and beyond.

“We chose Limeade because we needed a better experience for employees. In fact, it had to be just as good as our member experience — that’s the standard we hold ourselves to. For example, USAA is very digital, so members need to be able to access all the services USAA offers on their phone. Employees expect that too.” – Dr. Peter Wald

The Healthy Points Program is a social experience. During team challenges, employees cheer each other on or nudge each other to complete a challenge. Employees love the social recognition component — and the friendly competition.

USAA is committed to supporting employee well-being

Among other culture accolades, USAA won the 2017 Limelight Award for Organizational Support. USAA had the highest participation levels — 75 percent — across all Limeade customers in 2016. We admire their commitment to leadership buy-in, team recreation spaces and quiet recharge zones.

USAA provides attractive incentives for participation like USAA swag and medical premium discounts. They even added a stretch incentive (a gym bag or branded water bottle) for those who reached above the top incentive level. But they know that intrinsic rewards like team unity can go even further.

To boost participation even more, they launched an enterprise-wide competition with a leaderboard based on monthly participation. Departments compete to win the Enterprise Wellness Award and a large, “obnoxious” trophy — and it’s created quite the buzz. Senior leaders talk about program challenges and the trophy in their meetings. This helps them set an example and promote the program in a public, consistent and light-hearted way.

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“The highest level of our organization is committed to employee well-being. Senior management echoes the belief that in order for employees to best serve our members, they need to be in tip-top shape — physically, financially and emotionally. We need to support our employees so they can support our members. Commitment is a two-way street.” – Dr. Peter Wald

Connecting well-being to business impact

Getting leadership buy-in took work. In his early years at USAA, Dr. Wald entered the boardroom to highlight the importance of supporting Healthy Points. The punch line? It’s tied to the results USAA cares about like turnover, absenteeism and even customer satisfaction.

“We’ve always had this idea that there’s a hierarchy of components you can report on — and it’s all based off participation in the program. As employees participate more, we see a decrease in turnover, planned absence, time away from work and lower spend in disability. We can’t prove causation, but we can show a strong relationship between Healthy Points and business metrics.” – Dr. Peter Wald

The results Dr. Wald anticipated are here — findings include:

  • 80 percent reduction in worker’s compensation and long-term disability
  • Low compound annual growth rate of around 2 percent of employee
  • An association between increasing program participation and decreasing turnover, unplanned absence, and time away from work

Why is Dr. Wald a Limeade Changemaker?

Dr. Wald sees the link between well-being and engagement — and is building the business case to support it. How? He’s bringing the Limeade Results Model to life by highlighting unique connections between well-being, employee engagement and company goals.

At Limeade, we want to improve well-being in the world, and we can’t do it without changemakers like Dr. Wald.