When the clock strikes 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you’ll find a group of Springfield’s Connell Insurance Inc. employees donning workout clothes and heading outdoors. “They’ll go out walking together, or sometimes they’ll go biking,” says company President Tim Connell. “Sometimes they’ll even go kayaking.”
But these employees don’t clock out before lacing up their sneakers and kicking up the cardio. Instead, working out is part of the company’s wellness program. “We have a trainer who they can work with, both one-on-one and in a group setting,” Connell says. “These two weekly workouts are the group activities that are offered with the trainer.”
After the trainer visits Connell Insurance’s Springfield location, he heads to the company’s other location in Hollister for a 3 p.m. group workout. “We do group activities at both offices twice a week,” Connell says. Not everyone participates, but they have the option to, and that’s what matters. “The number of people going out every time doesn’t make it a success or a failure,” Connell says.
If employees can’t make the group workout, they’re encouraged to exercise in other ways. “What we allow them to do is whatever they feel comfortable doing,” Connell says. “If they will just get up and get away from their desks, that’s what we want.”
Access to a trainer and subsidized gym memberships are just two aspects of the company’s wellness-focused culture. “When people think of wellness, they usually just think of working out,” Connell says. And it doesn’t stop there. “There’s mental wellness, financial wellness, social wellness,” Connell says. The company has hosted classes on financial wellness and gives employees one week out of the year to volunteer on company time at a nonprofit, social service or church organization of their choice.
While wellness is an important part of the company’s culture, starting new team members off on the right foot also ranks high on the list of cultural musts. “We provide new employees with a couple of books as soon as they start with us,” Connell says. One is StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. “This book helps them with communication skills and realizing we’re all different,” he says. The other is Good to Great by Jim Collins. “This gives them a good idea of our culture and where we are trying to head,” Connell says. “Our culture is a culture of always striving to do better, both for ourselves and for others around us.”
It’s all made possible by Connell and his partners—co-owners Randall Gammill and Mike Nangle. “It has to come from the top down,” Connell says. “If we can help prepare people to look at things in a better light, it helps them. If they can be better people in here and better people out there, and we did something to help with that—I think that’s what our duty should be.”