Enterprise Minnesota Magazine - February 2012
HELPING MANUFACTURERS GROW PROFITABLY
Elevating Their Fitness
By emphasizing holistic employee wellness, MEI aims to have a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce.
Mark Iversen, VP of Human Resources at MEI
MEI–Total Elevator Solutions operates with this premise: when employees feel better, they perform better. During the past three years, the Mankato-based company has implemented a holistic wellness program to help employees improve their well-being in five areas: physical/ emotional, career, community, social, and financial.
“Making sure employees take care of themselves is something the company owner has always been committed to, as well as the rest of the leadership team,” says Mark Iversen, vice president of human resources. “If employees take care of themselves, they work better, they are safer on the job, health claims go down. Hopefully it begins to become a habit.”
MEI manufactures, installs, services, and modernizes numerous types of elevators across the country. It has 210 employees mostly in Mankato, as well as Duluth, the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, and Kansas City. The company hired RJF, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company from the Twin Cities to develop a wellness plan that offers programs and services to engage employees in all five focus areas. One major
aspect of the plan involved constructing a stand-alone fitness center on site, which employees and their spouses can use 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The fitness center includes a variety of equipment, from treadmills and elliptical trainers to Nautilus weights and dumbbells. There also are bathroom and showering facilities. In addition, MEI built a half-mile path around the company property, which is nine miles outside of Mankato, to help employees stay safe when they walk or run. Previously, they had to exercise on nearby country roads.
To meet other wellness goals for employees, MEI often brings in speakers who talk about nutrition and healthy eating, the benefits of weightlifting, financial health, retirement saving, stress management, and volunteer work. The company plans
group volunteer activities, such as packing food and raising money for Kids Against Hunger in Mankato. MEI offers another incentive: employees who volunteer for eight hours at a nonprofit can earn one day of vacation.
John Romnes, who founded the company in 1971, is an avid cyclist who often participates in distance biking events in Minnesota, Colorado, and beyond. He wanted to encourage his employees to enjoy fitness activities as well, and make it easier for them to do so, notes Iversen.
Though it’s hard to quantify direct savings thanks to the company’s wellness programs, Iversen says he has noticed a difference around MEI. For example last year, employees experienced the fewest on-the-job injuries they’ve ever had, according to Iversen.
“People are a little more conscious about their wellness—not that they weren’t before—but they think a little bit more about it,” Iversen says. “These options are available so it makes it easier for them to participate in things and take care of themselves a bit more. They don’t have to go out of their way to do it.”
To learn more about MEI-Total Elevator Solutions, go to www.minnesotaelevator.com
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