(Story by Adam Worcester originally appeared in Puget Sound Business Journal)
It seems natural to assume a business that helps companies improve their employees’ well-being would have happy workers of its own.
Limeade does, CEO Henry Albrecht said, but it’s because the Bellevue company works hard at it.
“First of all, we are obsessed and very intentional about our culture,” Albrecht said. “I use the concept that values really matter, and should drive everything the company does.”
Albrecht set up four core values in 2006 when he founded Limeade, which markets a corporate software platform that helps employees monitor their health and performance. Two new values were added this year after a company retreat.
One of the new values, “We’re a team,” addresses the need to stay focused as the company grows.
“When we had only 10 people, teamwork was totally implicit. We didn’t have to say anything,” Albrecht said.
As the company has rocketed to 155 employees — including 48 new hires since the start of the year — it has a chance to guinea pig the software solutions it sells to large organizations, including Jamba Juice, Puget Sound Energy and the state of Washington.
The software asks employees to choose something they want to achieve, such as volunteer opportunities or a healthy heart, then creates a personalized program to help them reach their goals. Workers earn points and rewards for meeting challenges. Results are monitored and posted, so viewers can tell at a glance how many employees are at risk for say, lack of sleep, or unhealthy blood sugar levels, or bad backs.
Limeade touts its platform as the solution to two common workplace problems, worker disengagement and soaring health-care costs. It treats these as related issues, contrary to the traditional view of the corporate wellness industry.
“I’ve seen so many companies that think culture is staging fun events, like margarita Fridays,” said Laura Hamill, an organizational psychologist who is Limeade’s chief people officer. “There are some benefits to that for employees, but when the party’s over, what’s left?”
“What happens when they’re back doing their day-to-day work? Do they feel meaning? Do they feel like they’re valued?”
At Limeade, the answer seems to be a resounding “yes.” New Limeade hires receive a “well-being” benefits package that includes a fitness tracker, health coaching and biometric screening, and there’s a generous paid time-off policy.
At headquarters are a treadmill desk and a stationary bike employees can sign up to use, as well as adjustable-height desks that allow people to keyboard standing up.
Account manager Lia Marley, who joined Limeade nine months ago, has utilized her certification as a Crossfit trainer to start an employee fitness club, leading lunchtime workouts.
“We’re lucky at Limeade to have values and a culture that overlap a lot,” Marley said. “I’ve worked at other companies where there was no overlap. At Limeade, it’s mostly overlap. It’s the direct result of hiring well done.”