Workout at Work -- Team members gather at TMMI's fitness center for an exercise class, one of the many ways the plant encourages its people to get and/or stay fit.
The alleged rise of robots notwithstanding, you still need people to build cars these days. And the work can often be labor intensive.
Yet neither of these realities prevented Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) from climbing to 16th nationally in the Healthiest Employers rankings for 2017
Healthiest Employers is an independent organization that collects and measures employer health data to empower the wellness community. Its annual rankings help recognize companies that proactively shape the health of their employees.
TMMI certainly fits that description. In 2015, it appeared on Healthiest Employers’ radar screen at 86th place. The Princeton, Indiana, plant then jumped to 44th in 2016, and to 16th last year. Even more impressive? TMMI was the only manufacturing-based entity to crack the top 100.
It’s an amazing accomplishment, but also not entirely unexpected. Since 2006, TMMI has offered a wide array of health-driven programs to its more than 5,300 team members — from general wellness screenings and flu shots to more comprehensive initiatives promoting healthy lifestyles and behaviors.
“Safety and quality are top priorities at TMMI,” says plant vice president Tim Hollander. “Wellness is an essential part of safety for our team members. We’re committed to providing resources to enhance and enrich their lives.”
Pink Power -- TMMI team members turned out in force for last September's "Race for the Cure" event in Evansville that helped raise funds to be used toward breast cancer research.
A Comprehensive Approach
Delivering on that commitment begins the day team members start their jobs. Before assuming their production roles, team members must complete a six-week physical conditioning program at one of TMMI’s three on-site wellness centers. That training, customized to fit their specific jobs, ensures they have the knowledge and skills they’ll need to be safe and healthy, both on and off the line.
But it doesn’t end there. TMMI has a dedicated wellness department with field experts who continually promote wellness going forward. So, for example, team members can consult with personal trainers who can assess their physical state — measuring such key biometric markers as cholesterol level and body fat percentage — and then prescribe nutrition and exercise regimens to boost their fitness.
On an ongoing basis, the TMMI wellness team also hosts a series of educational opportunities to encourage team members to go even further. For instance, the campus cafeteria hosts periodic sessions where team members can learn how to prepare healthy recipes. The on-site fitness center offers massage therapy. And all-company events, such as the Fall Family Day, provide free flu shots and medical screenings.
“We’ve had situations where a team member had a cardiovascular test that recommended they see a cardiologist,” says Laura Kallbrier, who manages TMMI’s onsite wellness programs. “It turned out this person had over 85 percent blockage of their carotid artery. We’ve had other team members who’ve had mammograms who’ve been referred to specialists. For those people, we know we are really making a difference.”
Role Models -- TMMI wellness consultants lead local fifth graders in an exercise session during the plant's annual Live Well Camp.
Sharing Best Practices
TMMI also shares the lessons it’s learned with the community in which it operates. A prime example: The Live Well Camp offered to 5th grade students in Gibson County.
“We transport them here by school bus, give them a tour of the plant and teach them why it’s so important to exercise regularly and eat right,” says Kallbrier. “We’ve found that’s a good age to expose them to that message. They’re open to new ideas. And, in turn, they can have an influence on the behaviors of their parents.”
That’s not all. Some of Toyota’s other plants in North America use TMMI’s program as a benchmark for measuring and bolstering their team member wellness initiatives.
Clearly, workplace wellness isn’t just a “nice to have” at TMMI. Rather, it’s a deeply ingrained value that has a direct impact on its day-to-day operations.
“Everything we do has wellness built into the process,” says Kallbrier. “Our success on this front is also a reflection of leadership. The commitment to wellness starts at the top of our organization and continues all the way down. And our executives don’t just talk about wellness. They are actively involved in promoting it. They lead by example. That makes all the difference.”
By Dan Miller