USAA recently renovated its fitness center, which is free for employees to use.
USAA recently renovated its fitness center, which is free for employees to use.

Health is central to USAA’s corporate culture, and the financial services giant promotes a raft of programs to improve employees’ activity levels, fitness, diet, work-life balance, health care, productivity and all-round physical and mental well-being.

“If you offer good wellness programs and offer healthy choices, your employees are healthier and that usually translates to happier employees,” said Kent Fortune, vice president and general manager of the Colorado Springs campus. “When they don’t need to take time off because they’re not well, they can use that time to enjoy time with their family and friends. That resonates with employees.”

Aiming to boost the “physical, financial and emotional wellness” of its employees and their families, USAA uses its 49-acre Colorado Springs campus and facilities to create what it calls “wellness surround sound.”

That means discounted healthy snacks, meals and drinks in the cafeteria, digital billboards displaying wellness messages, free water and ice in all break areas, and recharge zones.

The Energize Zone, a large activity room with sweeping views across Pikes Peak and the Air Force Academy, boasts pingpong tables, shuffleboard, televisions and elliptical machines. Fortune said the new Recharge Zone, opening next month, will include areas to read, study and nap.

USAA’s own fitness center, which was renovated in 2015 and reopened early this year, is now free for every employee. Previously, employees had to pay to use the center. It includes a full range of cardio machines, free weights, weight machines, free fitness classes and equipment such as Bosu balls, steps and kettle bells. Employees can hire the on-site personal trainer or request a free workout program to use on their own.

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Other benefits designed to boost employee well-being include on-site health services with a nurse on staff, physical therapy, massage therapy and child care, telemedicine, concierge services, nursing mothers’ rooms, ergonomic consultations, sit/stand work stations for all employees, free personal financial planning sessions, assistance to quit smoking or lose weight, flu shots and annual health risk assessments.

Under the “Healthy Points” program, employees earn discounts on their medical premiums by participating in health activities.

The cafeteria is designed to promote healthy choices, with point-of-sale nutrition information, all healthy and healthier items presented at eye level (and less-healthy alternatives placed where they are harder to see), foods prepared to minimize calories, salt and fat where possible, and healthy food available at every price point.

Outdoor facilities include the softball field, beach volleyball court, basketball court, soccer field, running and walking trails, disc golf, a newly renovated pavilion with air conditioning, heating and change facilities, and two tennis courts. Fortune said employees join on-campus leagues and pick-up games, with pickleball and Wednesday night soccer games becoming particularly popular.

“Athletics and sports allow us to get to know each other on a personal level,” Fortune said. “We’re outside of work, I get to know about your family, what you’re about — the more I get to know you there, the better it helps at work.”

It also helps the company’s insurance teams and investment teams to come together, exchange ideas and try new things, he said. “It starts going across different business lines, which really helps us.”

“Our wellness and health benefits are twofold,” Fortune said. “It helps people be more productive at work, but it also helps them have a better, more rich life with their family.

“It goes back to that work-life balance. We want you to be successful in your life as well. When you put that together, that’s what also attracts employees. They know, ‘They care about me as a human being.’ That’s a pretty powerful thing.”