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Inside Columbia Sportswear's Wellness Program

Benjamin Prinzing
Apr 29, 2016 4:14:22 PM

In a world full of  endless "wellness program" possibilities, how do you know what components are the right fit for your program? Should you start on-site fitness classes, have annual biometric screening events, deploy an incentive management platform or maybe do all three? This month's spotlight is on Cassie Buckroyd, Health & Wellness Manager at Columbia SportswearI got to sit down with Cassie and learn her step by step process to creating the right fit for their team. 


Cassie is a "jack of all trades" - she's not only solely responsible for managing the execution of her program, she is also logging in development hours, coming up with the strategy, designing marketing materials and implementing roll outs along with evaluation. Whew, this girl stays busy!

Since Cassie spearheaded the wellness program re-brand in January 2015, employee participation has been steadily increasing.  Her path to success has 4 phases: Assessment, Planning & Implementation, Maintenance and Evaluation.

Phase 1: Assessment

Cassie had a 4-6 month period where she audited Columbia's existing wellness program. She assessed the previous program's strengths and weaknesses. Cassie didn't find any gaps when it came to being active (we already know Columbia is all about outdoor activity) where she did find gaps was in their cafeteria. The lack of healthy meals and healthy grab-and-go snacks was a catalyst for Cassie's "Spring Into Health" challenge. 

Phase 2: Planning & Implementation

When it comes to planning a challenge or event, there are two main steps to take before implementation; understand your population and create your message strategy. Prior to implementation of  "Spring Into Health," Cassie assessed her population and determined that she had a mix of warehouse and office workers. From experience, Cassie understood that warehouse workers aren't always on their computers, so she designed some fliers to be posted around the campus. For her office workers, she sent out weekly emails about the positive benefits of eating fruits. 

  • Make sure you know your population - are they predominantly in front of a computer or do some of them work in a warehouse? 

  • Create your message and how to position it in the best way. For warehouse employees, word-of-mouth might be the best route or printed fliers. Cassie suggested finding out when the next "all hands" meeting will take place and securing a spot on the agenda for wellness program updates. For those in the office, staring at computers all day, make sure that it's visually stimulating. Newsletters and emails are effective also, explainer videos are even more powerful and can be thrown into the mix for some variation. 

Check out this wellness program explainer video we created for one of our amazing clients, ControlTek:


P.S. We create our animated videos using  It has a super easy drag-and-drop interface. The hard part will be coming up with your storyboard first.

Phase 3: Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, consistency is the best policy. Cassie maintains her program's participation by introducing a new challenge or topic every quarter. She noted that doing an activity every week or month can turn people off and make them feel inundated. Like I said above, Columbia is all about outdoor activities. Since her population is keen on their exercising habits, her approach is to introduce different perspectives of wellness like "financial wellness." Cassie also has recurring biometric screening events in between challenges to offer awareness and education for their team members. Check out this previous post on, "4 Facts About Biometric Screenings You Should Know."

Phase 4: Evaluation 

Currently, Cassie is evaluating Columbia's wellness initiatives by gauging participation to verify how many people are actually attending or registering for their challenges. Cassie also uses surveys to get feedback from their employees.  A great survey tool to use after an event is SurveyMonkey, it's incredibly intuitive and even has templates ready with event specific questions. 

Download our Workshop Satisfaction Survey as an example of questions you could ask.

If you're not already plugged into the local "wellness community," sign-up for our free bi-monthly Worksite Wellness Network events.

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