The program also includes bigger events such as the three-month Biggest Loser weight-loss challenge. Held early last year, the contest pitted the group's east campus, including Kendall Toyota and Lexus of Kendall, against the west campus's West Kendall Toyota, Lexus of West Kendall and a collision center. Weigh-ins were held every two weeks and participants got a coaching push from nutrition and exercise counselors. Nearly 100 employees participated. The east campus won.
"When you bring in a competitive aspect, you see people engage even more," Perez said. "I just think the auto industry is based a lot on metrics and numbers, so people can identify with something quantifiable like weight loss."
A substantial prize pot also helped: $6,000 in all, with $3,000 for the biggest loser, $1,800 for second place and $1,200 for third. The dealership group provided part of the prize money while participating employees kicked in $2 per pay period for three months.
The group followed that competition with another weight-related challenge called Maintain, Don't Gain, intended to help employees avoid weight gain during the holidays. The three employees on each campus who recorded the biggest drops between their initial and final weigh-ins received an exercise bike for first place and Fitbit fitness trackers for second and third.
This year, the group is kicking up the fitness factor another notch with a series of challenges. For example, in the first challenge, Roberts and the four dealership general managers competed in lower- body strength contests against Wiltz and his four corporate directors. Then the dealership general managers and their directors within each campus squared off in upper-body strength contests. To avoid injuries, a personal trainer comes in to show participants the correct form for exercises, Perez said.
"After that, we'll have employees from the service departments at both campuses compete, then the sales departments, parts departments and so on for the rest of the year," Perez said. "And in the meantime, we will still hold weight-loss challenges and a blood-pressure challenge. The feedback from employees about these events has been wonderful."
In addition, the program is broadening its scope by focusing on emotional and mental health. That emphasis includes mindfulness coaching seminars and monthly massages. "We want employees to be physically active and mentally and emotionally happy," Perez said.
While the total cost of the wellness program was unavailable and the results are difficult to quantify, Perez said dealership group officials intrinsically know it's worthwhile. The corporate culture has changed dramatically, judging just by the snacks served, weight lost and the number of employees who substitute stairs for elevators and participate in competitions.
"Our goal was to change our culture — get employees to embrace fitness and do it in a way that they see the company is serving and helping them," she said. "That way they're able to give so much more at work." With no doughnuts or birthday cakes required.