Limeade CEO Henry Albrecht On Why Healthy, Happy Employees Are the Key Ingredient to a Thriving Business

10/27/10

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their work/life balance sucks.

The bar for performance at our company for all of our employees is high—and it should always be high—and our philosophy is to meet or exceed that bar, you have to be healthy, you have to bring your A game, you have to have high energy, you have to have slept well and have balance, and be able to bounce back from bad things that get in your way, whether they’re health, or a relationship, or financial. You have to take care of yourself. I don’t know that startups should be held do a different bar than any other employer in that—you should have a set of people who are dedicated to a core set of values who passionately pursue those things.

X: But how does the data connect wellbeing to productivity in the workplace?

AH: Everything we measure in this model—from work related things like belief in the company, to belief in your abilities, or fit with the work culture, or health, or personal goals—everything in here is statistically predictive of wellbeing, productivity, health, or two or three of those things. And our statistical analysis shows that this whole personal approach predicts productivity about 11 times better than just looking at health risks alone.

X: How much time does the average employee have to invest in tracking their wellness through Limeade for it to be effective?

HA: After initial assessment, our goal is that they spend less than 20 seconds a day, or as much time as they want to, to improve their wellbeing.

It’s not a big investment in time, and quite frankly, even if it were a big investment in time, it’s for a good purpose. And if it’s not strategic for the company to have high-performance people, then we’re probably not the right solution for them.

X: How much does Limeade cost employers?

HA: It’s a couple of bucks a month per employee. It’s the cost of a 16 oz CocaCola a month, except it’s better for you.

X: When dealing with medical records and personal information, especially in the workplace, the issue of privacy always comes up.

HA: We take privacy super seriously, and security as well. We never share personally identifiable health or wellbeing information with the employer, except in aggregate—we can share a snapshot of their population, but we can’t share your personal data with the employer, nor would we want to.

X: So what does the employer get to see?

HA: We have different types of information that we share with employers. One of them is engagement information. We believe that the employer should be able to know at any point in time how many people are engaged in the system—how many people have been invited, have completed assessments, are using behavior change features, etc. So we provide that, we make it actionable, so right here an employer can create a challenge for their workforce. We come with come pre-canned suggestions. We have a library of hundreds of example challenges in a library we can share with employer users.

We also support peer-versus-peer challenges, so you as an employee can challenge some of your coworkers, or friends, or the team your work with activity-based programs, weight loss, or one time events. And then you can earn points, or something else—thanks, giftcards, charitable donations. And then we give people options on how to promote it. The goal is not just reporting, but how to make it actionable. We summarize what actually drives productivity, wellbeing, and health for a company, with targeted recommendations for that population. We get at some of the actual drivers that are often overlooked that reinforce productivity.

Things like openness and optimism, that’s not something you’d find in the traditional health risk assessment.

We have a medical advisor named Dr. Michael Parkinson, who is the former president of the American College of Preventive Medicine, so we have that acumen on board, but we all know that you can have as many letters as you want behind your last name, and that’s not going to motivate someone to make a change.

X: Limeade already has some clients with international presence—is a global expansion in the cards?

HA: There are some things that are especially valuable in certain types of structures of the insurance industry, but the central promise of what we’re doing—helping people improve their lives and be happier, healthier, high-performance—is not culturally specific or geographically isolated.

X: Any plans to market a wellness tracking service direct to consumers?

HA: Our strategy today is we’re helping companies deliver this wellness blueprint in a better, faster way. That’s not in our current plans, but as one of our values says, ‘anything is possible.’

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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