Creating a solid employee wellness program

with Rue Patel.

Transcription
Welcome to the manufacturing wellness podcast. Our mission is to help improve your workforces overall health and well being. I’m your host, Laura Timbrook, and national board certified health and wellness coach and wellbeing strategist for the manufacturing industry. Hey everybody, welcome to the podcast today we have on Rue Patel. He worked at General Mills for 28 years, and led one of the largest and most profitable manufacturing facilities in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. ru Patel really focuses on business strategy, the manufacturing business and building a strong culture of employees. And today we’re going to be talking about employee wellness, the importance of it, how to start building it, what has worked. So welcome rude to the show. Well, Ruth, thank you so much for joining us on the manufacturing wellness podcast. I know, I met you back with Lisa Ryan, when we did the manufacturing engagement summit. And that was really good. And you talk so much about what you did at General Mills and health and wellness, our employees and your programs. So I wanted you to come on and talk a little bit about your experience real can you kind of tell everybody a little bit about who you are and your background?

Rue Patel
Absolutely, Laura, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it. And it’s been a great connection since Lisa picked us off, you know, a while back, but you know, I’m a guy who started his own consulting business about a year ago. And I help small businesses, midsize businesses get better strategically, provide leadership coaching, and then do some public speaking on the site. But that’s all built off a base of 35 years in the food business and food manufacturing. And so my heart and soul is in a factory on the factory floor. And most recently 29 years with General Mills, and 15 years running their largest manufacturing firm, which is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. So I am now an Iowa guy. But yeah, manufacturing leadership built, built out a school or a class and General Mills that ran 20 some years on leading and providing leadership coaching for you know, our younger generation and our new managers. And based on experiences that we had and people that we’ve learned from, and it’s been, it’s been a great ride. So here we are.

Laura Timbrook
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s, you know, really kind of amazing. It’s funny now, now after hearing you talk every time I look at a Honey Nut Cheerios box, I’m trying to figure out if this is ruse, this is one of his places these words with Honey Nut Cheerios, so it’s been fun. It’s a little fun game with my kids in the grocery store. They’re like, hey, look where this one was made.

Rue Patel
Oh, wait, you’re taking the fruit snacks out, because it’s a homemade boy.

Laura Timbrook
That’s awesome. But um, I know you had so much experience at General Mills in implementing employee wellness being, you know, kind of a leading force in that can you kind of tell us about when General Mills started implementing some employee wellness is and the drives behind that.

Rue Patel
So I’ll be super honest, I was not the driver for a lot of it. But I was a supporter and a big believer in wellness. And so this thing for us in our cedarapids plan probably started 20 years ago, when we installed basically took a storeroom and threw a gym in place and then got the local fitness companies to rent us, if you will, a couple trainers who would come and keep the equipment clean, but more importantly, show our employees how to work safely run that equipment. So even treadmill safety right? You can just tap on an item and eight miles an hour. So how do you do weights, and then we have people come in with an and run classes, whether it was yoga, or Pilates, or what we call now hit class that started about 20 years ago, so every employee had access to this gym, and it kind of got people thinking a little more about it. But then people weren’t always comfortable working around their fellow employees. It’s kind of a weird idea, right? So you know, I’m going on break in the middle workout, I’m in my uniform and changing my shoes and my peers are walking by the window looking at me. I don’t want to be part of that. So we supplemented them with with gym memberships. Every employee also had a gym membership in town, and the gym had four or five locations so you could pick your location. And then we extended that to retirees as well. So the wellness philosophy extended past current employees have said Hey, you guys commit a lot of time with us on a weekly basis and annual basis in your lifetime. And, you know, we’re not Walking away from you. So we looked at this thing really as a business opportunity. But it’s really driven by a culture.

Laura Timbrook
That’s, you know, it’s so amazing to hear that. I mean, I love how they first started off, because it was so, so simple. You know, they started off by teaming up with a local gym, or fitness organization. And we know, right now gyms are really struggling. So when our gyms can start pairing with organizations to help out, that is a win win, both for the organization. And for the gym. I mean, I know a lot of people listening here come from small manufacturing facilities that don’t necessarily have these huge budgets. So being able to say, I don’t have to put all this out initially, that we can, you know, team up with the local CrossFit gym, or the local Pilates studio or something like that. And work with that. I mean, that’s kind of that’s a simple solution to get started and see essentially what your employees like. And I like how you pointed out that you know, what your employees didn’t really enjoy too much of having their peers walking by didn’t mind

Rue Patel
that gym at work is always has people in it. But it’s not comfortable for everybody. So you got to give people different options, and you kind of meet them where they are. And part of it was an external opportunity for him. And it worked out. It worked out really well for us. Now what we did was he put some skin in the game for that extra opportunity, right? So because we’ve already invested in house, Jen, which by the way, is a nice gem. But we said hey, externally, you got to go and, and make seven visits a month, nothing crazy. Seven a month, which is less than two a week. But if you gotta if you’re going to be accountable to do that little happy to pay for your membership out there.

Laura Timbrook
That’s really cool. I know, a few companies that I’m working with right now they’re starting to bring in fitness trailers and stuff like that. And others already offer reimbursement for gym memberships. So, you know, for you guys to be doing this 20 years ago, I mean, that was unheard of I was in corporate 20 years ago, and I there was nobody that I was working with, that was focusing on employee wellness back there. So and it’s interesting how you brought in that culture aspect on how you know, it wasn’t just your current employees, but your former employees, your retirees, well, I shouldn’t say former employees, but your retirees that were given this opportunity as well, because we all know as we age, we need to keep working out because we know it helps build that bone density and retain that bone density. And that’s really important. So for you guys having that foresight to understand that in that culture. explain a little bit about how that improved. Did you see improvements in your employee health

Rue Patel
and benefits? You know, we did and we we track it in many different ways. And benefits are tough to track in terms of costs, because benefit costs change every year. And then we’re managed from a corporate basis, right? So it’s really hard to like, isolate down to what our costs are, but we have we track things like, you know, absenteeism, and absenteeism is down in the 2% range, which is really good. And our people, you know, they come to work, we track into the participation of people. So this thing is led by a committee of employees, Laura, and, and it’s not led by a manager instead, but it’s a committee of employees. And they kind of tell us, hey, Ru, here’s here’s the budget we like for the year. And here’s kind of the adventure of planning, and what do you think? And every so often, they’ll invite me to sit in the committee, because they know that I’m an avid gym user. And they do things like what we’d like to think about smoking cessation class, which we do every other year, we’ll, we’ll get one of those going. And they also know that variety is the key to life, right? You can’t run the same programs over and over because they get stale. And so there’s a couple of years that we had, like free weightwatchers programs, if you signed up, you know, General Mills will pay for it. And that was a corporate wide view of monophysite. Pioneer, but it was bigger. So we incorporated the things they did, and then added to it. So we take that free weight watchers program for employees, and then put a contest and say, hey, let’s team up with teams of four and let’s do a weight contest or a body fat reduction contest. And for us the measure was you know, how many employees participate. So I remember there was a year we had 115 employees participate out of like 650. Right, well, that’s a great, that’s a big number for that kind of program. And it was good and people were happy and proud and stuff people’s lives changing because they now set up their own little peer group. And they had a little bit of peer pressure but their lives got better. And I think that was really awesome. So we also included an annual health, wellness and safety fair. And again, it wasn’t management driven, it was employee driven, we brought in outside vendors. So we would help them with nutrition, we’d help them with bone density talk about we help them with cancer screening, we help them with three, four fitness organizations would come in, we bring chiropractors and urban massage therapists, and just give people a good look at what wellness can be. We bring people in and have like a meditation session. Not super well attended in the factory, but it’s an option. And maybe it doesn’t work for you, in fact, you but you can take some of those concepts and mindsets home with you and do meditation. And that, quite frankly, is where I learned that this meditation and this this peace of mind, even if it’s true, or five to 10 minutes a day, was a game changer. And so I picked that habit up for one of those sessions. And I do it at home every day. I did it at work, people think I’m sleeping in my office. So couldn’t do couldn’t do that sort of stuff. But the safe annual safety ones that we probably had 150 people participate in putting boots and stands together, and information sessions. And so again, employee driven is a key to this thing, right? They wanted it, they had fun with it, we gave him we gave him the time to pay time to go do this stuff and be creative. So we’ve helped facilitate it for sure. But employees always listen to their peers, a whole lot more than one listen to management. So when the peers spoke, the employees listened to this committee being employee driven, really important for us. So we didn’t have a manager purpose, we didn’t have a manager leading it. And that was those were fun to attend. You know, we’d always have a meal outside and could be a salad bar. And quite frankly, some days we grilled chicken out there, every so often we’d have a hot dog day, not the healthiest thing out there. But we talked about balance, right. So you can have a hot dog. And you can be healthy, and you just do it in moderation and learn to manage it instead of managing you. But those days were good. We’d also bring in our local hospital, and they do PSA screening and that sort of stuff for folks and do your body densities studies, and you can enroll in their programs for free. So we try to keep this thing so it was all encompassing, and not just about the gym.

Laura Timbrook
Yeah, you know, it’s so funny that you actually talk about it being employee driven. Because we see something very similar in different companies, I find that when it’s management run, it is it is runs as almost like it’s a force like you have to be healthier. And employees don’t come they don’t want no employee wants to be forced, be healthier, they want to be supported. And when you deal with, you know, your peers, that is more of a support type environment. So we do see things being more highly attended, when it’s something like that. You know, so that was really interesting. And I love the fact that you were talking about the PSA testing, because I think a lot of my plants and factories that I’ve worked into, they don’t realize that PSA testing, if it’s offered, those rates of attendance go up. Because one is generally they’re more male dominant, right. And then the second one is because they’re scared of it, they’ve a lot of them have known somebody. So I’ve seen many people walk through a health fair that would have never attended only because that PSA testing was offered. So I think that’s when we talk about biometrics and all that stuff, all that stuff is really important. But you got to hit them where it counts in that PSA testing. A lot of times we see it the same thing we see with women with bone density, we no women in our bone density, we’re concerned about it. So those are two female and male oriented things that will naturally bring people and of course, we saw start, this is always great, do

Rue Patel
you got a great local partnership with a massage therapist and her company and they’ve been coming for 10 plus years, and they say they have the best day at the plant. But you know, what’s cool about this culture thing is that I know at least three employees, three men who got diagnosed with early stage cancer through the PSA test, and they are the first ones to publicly state. It’s a health fair. It’s like um, you know what, I would never gone to see a doctor. I had no symptoms. And, you know, the jeweled blood ran all the tests and boom, the next day, you know, next thing you know, I’m getting a phone call. And it’s a phone call. It saved my life. These guys are very public about it. And you know, this is a case where I could name names

Rue Patel
but about it. And the next year, more people show up, right to see the value, but they’re not going to go to the doctor and do it. And they’re not going to volunteer to walk into a clinic and say, I’m raising my hand, they draw blood. Nobody in the right mind does that. So you got to make it available to them. And you got to kind of meet our employees like where they are. So, you know, we’re three shift operations. So the health fair ran 24, seven, it was a lot of work to put on. But the third shift always gets left out. And that can shift, you know, you leave at five o’clock. And so it’s like, well, I shift just got started two hours ago. So what about the rest of the time, so we ran the same 24 seven. And we want to make sure those third scepters who probably arguably have the more difficult lifestyle, and difficult time balance in their lives, we’d even come in with the with the sleep experts to help these off shifters out. And, and that sort of stuff. So, you know, we really tried to meet our employees, where they were as, as our average age went up, and the average age of the plan was about 40 734 years ago. You know, we said, well, what is a 47? year old? Right? And all of a sudden, you know, we’re not talking about people with infants, we’re talking about folks who are entering the grandparents stage. And what does that look like, and now they’re looking at retirement. So part of mental health and emotional stability was at we have financial resources coming in to provide peace of mind and financial planning, which just take stress away from people, right. And so we kind of tie all that stuff together. And so our wellness committee have a lot of physical wellness stuff in there. And some of the spiritual stuff within our finance team gets involved and says, well, let’s find ourselves, the rd organization that isn’t going to come in here and sell products, but it’s going to help coach our focus on managing what we had as a great pension and 401k plan, and even just an ottoman, but that stress, right? And stress shows up in lots of different ways. So we try to capture all we could now what I’d say there’s quite a lot of stuff that rocks that didn’t get turned over. But I think we did a pretty decent job with it. Yeah,

Laura Timbrook
I mean, it definitely sounds like it even you know, associating the age of your employees and what they’re looking at and bringing in that financial aspect. I know, so many companies think of health and wellness as green smoothies and health fairs. But it goes so much more than that, you know, when we talk about the core principles of wellness, it’s food, it’s sleep, it’s nutrition, but it’s relationships and purpose as well. So bringing in all of that, and we know that relationship with finances is a huge stretch, stressor, it’s number, it’s one of the top three on our list of stressors. So being able to help our financial health is is huge, because yeah, it’s one of those things that I’ve seen so many people, I did it myself, I had that 401k plan, you never looked at it, you filled out that form once, but I can tell you from experience this year, you know, being as health and wellness speaker and everything being shut down, your business really kind of goes a different path. And I had a really hard time dealing with the fact that I wasn’t making money. And, you know, my financial planner, he looked at me goes, you made your salary this year, he goes, you just did it in a different way.

Unknown Speaker
And

Laura Timbrook
my investments that we changed earlier in the year really paid off. So I actually made more in 2020 than I did the previous year. And I wasn’t traveling.

Rue Patel
But it is, but it’s a big, it’s a big stressor. And, you know, you often hear about these folks that you know, retire and are penniless. And it’s like, well, I thought we did all the stuff we could to enable them to have a great life after they invested in us for 30 years what happened. And I think we we as managers and leaders own a lot of that. We got to make sure that we can take that horse to the water and make that water tasty. Don’t think that they want to drink it. And people don’t sign up to go sit with a financial guy, right? So we kind of made that a habit and two times a year that company shows up and people have now gone through it and retired and said and these guys do pretty good work. So again, the culture kind of grips that thing and takes that forward by set by giving it the reviews in a positive way. athletes that the employees look for more than its management program that got thrown out. Yeah, the other thing we did Laura is this thing worked out great. We had an onsite occupational therapists come in twice a week. And she came in in all three shifts. And you know, as we talked to her to kind of set up the program. It was really to help our employees with things like ergonomics, help them with chronic pain, help. Then with posture, she gets she, it took about a year for her to gain trust in the floor. Because the management thing, they’re checking on us, they’re gonna fire us if we’re not healthy right now. Well, not really. But she looked like help pretty quick. And, you know, I’ll tell you how this works. So she walked by on my office, and she said, Well, let’s, you know, you’re slouching in your computer, which I’m doing right now. And she said, Let’s fix the angles screen. Let’s make sure you got the right chair, make sure you got a foot rest. And, you know, let’s let’s look at the soles of your shoes and make sure you support. And so she was a one stop shop that went from office to shop floor. And we even got her involved it when we install the new capital projects, right. So before the equipment got purchased, while we’re in the design phase, well, we got her involved in the design phase to manage ergonomics before the machine designer actually made the equipment. And, and our employees had input on that along with her to do that. So up front, they got a machine that they could work at comfortably and safely all day, instead of it coming in, and then someone has a shoulder problem or back problem with a neck strain, because we’re looking at a screen up here. And then it takes us, you know, any company takes us months, and now it’s gonna cost us money, and we just spent 6 million bucks. And do we have the money for this? Do right the first time. And she helped us do that. So we’re just trying to be creative around finding ways to you know, stay injury free, keep referrals healthy at work at home, and get good habits. Yeah,

Laura Timbrook
and you made a really good point about having your employees trust her. Because I think that’s a lot of times, you know, institutions or organizations will put in a wellness program. And it doesn’t work and they stop it. But it takes time. I know, when I started working at a paper mill. The first time we couldn’t get people up there, they were not talking to that lady up, they’re going to tell him what to eat. Half of them thought I was taking their beer away. So finally, I actually put a sign in front of where I was doing the coaching. And I said I like beer, tell me about your favorite. And suddenly, more guys started coming up and willing to have a conversation, most of them wanted to talk about their favorite beer. And that was okay. First Year, not so great. Second year a little bit better. I’ve been now there almost five years. And I have to say I probably get almost every person on that floor coming up. Even if they don’t sit down and talk to me for a little bit, they’ll at least tell me Don’t worry, I’m eating my veggies. And they’ve walked out. But it’s something but yes, it does, it takes time to build that relationship. So it’s so important to kind of stick with it and alter it because it really does. So many of you have the workforce thinks that they’re going to lose their job. And if they think that going into this is going to lose their job, or you’re going to be tracking them, they’re not going to come in, they have to realize it’s safe. And you know, this is there for them not for you know, management to use it as a firing basis.

Rue Patel
It’s even as simple as you can’t happen to have a security camera and right now you’re tracking who’s going in. So we just, we just had to be really, really good and careful about it. We remember starting this whole onside thing a few years ago, and the buffalo plant. And we had a chiropractor come in once a week. And I said, Hey, listen, it’s gonna be tough on the floor. And then once you work on things like ergonomics, and posture and that sort of stuff. And this is going back 20 years. That’s if you’re going to gain your trust by cracking backs, because folks will go to a chiropractor if it’s for free, and it’s on site. But I want that to come down to about 20% of your time. And it’s trust and relationship building cracking backs, but I want you on the floor talking to folks at their place about what’s working well, what’s not working well, opportunities to change. And it took him It took him about a year. And now you can’t get into sales. But his schedule is jammed. And so that those are ones, those are ones but they do take time and you got to stick with it. And it’s not going to be easy to get any new program, at least to get started. Yeah,

Laura Timbrook
yeah. Especially when you’re trying to earn earn trust and depending on the relationship that you have had with management in your organization, is going to be a big telltale sign on how long it’s going to take and how how it’s implemented. So I love some of the simple solutions you had. Now I do know that you did something to actually help do a little bit more with building relationships. And that was kind of your coin. You guys had the coins. Can you tell us a little bit

Laura Timbrook
about them.

Rue Patel
Yeah, it’s it’s where you’ll find for me, Laura is I steal stuff and ideas from people all the time. But I completely stole this idea. We had a couple Air Force generals in the plant. And one of them was General at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. And we were doing a tour and he’s walking through and we were our intention was to learn things like maintenance from them, and leadership from them. And they were going to learn some things from us like continuous improvement and that sort of stuff. So great partnership with that air force base and the Thunderbirds out there. But he asked if he could hand these coins out to folks. And I said, What is that about? So he says, Hey, if someone has a really great job, or you think they’ve done a great job, and are worthy of recognition, I’ll spend some time with them. And I’ll give them a coin. That’s our way of recognizing them. And in the military, they call them challenge coins. But he uses that reward thing. And so he gave one of our employees, one of our stubborn employees tough. I mean, tough girl, a coin. The next day, I heard her screaming in the cafeteria about this coin she got and she’s passing around a certain amount of friends, like, I got a coin from that general check this thing out, right? She was beyond excited. And I had to go talk to her about I got a hug out of that deal. Wow. But it was like the most powerful thing. So I asked him, I said, Do you mind if I just steal that from you. So he gave me the manufacturer that does it for the Air Force. And we started making coins. And what I did was every year I made a different design. And on one side was plant values. Those are always important and the way you recognize people’s that went above and beyond and those plant values. So if you’re above and beyond on things you did in the community, that was one rare errors. And so you got recognized for above and beyond and delivering results or driving continuous improvement or taking care of people, you got a coin, I actually tracked them on an Excel spreadsheet. So not everybody got a community prize. And we didn’t do any reward and recognition for performance, right? So you want to balance these things out a little bit. And you only won one a year and only made 100. And there’s 650 people in the plant. And so not everyone’s going to get by design. Not a participation trophy at all. And so we saw I really did that for about 10 years, and people would come to me and and say, Hey, I didn’t get a coin this year. And like, well help me understand what you’re doing. Maybe I missed something. So help me understand what you’re doing to earn it and they tell him my clock, I showed up and clocked in and did my work like well, that got you a great paycheck with great recognition and great rewards and great benefits and a super awesome place to work. But you know, this is for really special behavior, performance attitude, taking care of somebody else, they come back in a week and said, Hey, I’m working on that. And here’s what I’m working on. And so that worked out pretty cool. And some of the neatest things was like, you know, that our veterans in our plant really understood the value of that coin, more than the non non but because they got that and then the service. And I yeah, it wouldn’t be unusual. you’d learn when to recognize people and coin them up in public. And it comes you put in your hand, you give them a handshake, and deposit the coin. And that’s, that was just the gentlest way of doing it. But you don’t really do that in public and you learn what not to do. People want recognition differently. And so when you know your people, you kind of figure that out. So I come from mechanic in my office 30 year guy, a veteran in tears because he got cleaned up, and we call it getting cleaned up. And that will kind of have you thinking a little bit rough guy, tough, rough Dude, you know, like, in tears. Now he’s talking about his military experience and stuff about what this coin means. Well, guess what happened at dinner that night? We sharing that with his family. That’s our culture, right? You the right things to take to create that dinner conversation and a druggie culture, and the family sees it and the guy is proud and for the first time in our lives is meant guess what happened to me at work today was super cool. I can’t wait to share this with you as a family. While you’re making a difference, I think oh

Laura Timbrook
my goodness. 100%. I mean, just from that gratitude, and and that thankfulness You know, a lot of times we always think that to show employees that we’re grateful, it has to be money or we have to be giving them something big, but sometimes it’s it’s something that’s meaningful. And obviously those coins and connecting with your employees in that manner is is really, I mean, that is powerful because I do know a lot of these in the plants and facilities I work in, you have a higher veteran rate. So the fact that you’re acknowledging that I know one of the first plants I went into and I was working with was just having a nutrition conversation with somebody and he just happened to mention that he was a former Marine and I ended up thanking him for his service and He got all teary eyed. And he’s like, you know, when I was in Vietnam, he goes, we were known as the baby killers coming back, he goes, for you to sit here in front of me. And thank me. He goes, that means a lot, he goes, because it was really hard. And it was that kind of understanding that really made me realize how much acknowledging that is important to a lot of our workers and something that I really didn’t think too much about. Other than my parents growing up, you, you always told me that when you find a serviceman or woman that you thank them. But that really changed a lot of how I did do things. So it was interesting that you kind of pulled that in on that culture and really kind of embraced your employees that way. It

Rue Patel
would never have happened if we didn’t have, you know, General goldfein in the, in the plants, talking to our folks. And me actually just stealing the idea. So I guess the lesson here is, don’t be afraid to take someone else’s idea. Don’t be afraid to tweak that to make it work for you. Because that’s what you got to go do. You got to be creative and find ways to do it. Our family tradition with veterans, and service, folks, whether they’re EMT or police officers, firefighters, if you see him in a restaurant or buying their meal,

Laura Timbrook
that’s great.

Rue Patel
you know, it doesn’t cost a whole lot, but it teaches our kids good habits to respect the folks that give us her freedom, right? So I’m not sure how that ties into wellness, but it ties in to being a good person, which to me is part of why that’s right. So

Laura Timbrook
100%, it ties into purpose and relationships and building that in that recognition, that gratitude. It’s all it’s all part of wellness, because something so little that we do that we don’t think much of affects somebody on a much deeper level that most of the time we can’t even understand.

Rue Patel
Right? And we’ll do, we’ll do that anonymously. Because it’s not to make a scene or to get credit, it’s to give credit. And just just show appreciation. Absolutely. As a fellow American. Yeah,

Laura Timbrook
I love that idea. I might steal that one.

Rue Patel
Ihave had a lot of people steal it. Yeah. And it’s, it’s fun to do it in front of your peers. And then the next day, you know, someone else is doing it. Again, it’s not one of the things that cost a whole lot. I’ll tell you what, it makes your day feel pretty good when you did that. Right. So

Laura Timbrook
absolutely, that’s fantastic. Now, out of all the things that you’ve done, what is the one thing that you thought is the most critical when helping to improve whether it’s employee health or your culture,

Rue Patel
you know, having our employees involved. So me, I said this a couple of times, but our, our employee wellness team is not led by someone on my on my direct team. It’s actually led by a quality engineer, who’s a fitness buff. And then there’s a ton of employees that look very different than fitness people. They look like employees. I mean, there’s men and women, there’s always young, there’s folks that are I call them obese, there’s folks that are fat, it’s all the above, and everyone wants to live a pretty good life at the end of the day. And they join for their own reasons. But having them have a say, you know, giving them the credit of a budget that you sit down with and respect and say, you know, we’re going to give you money every year, you tell us what you need, we’ll figure it out. helps them drive this culture piece. That’s,

Laura Timbrook
that’s great, because I know I’m actually working with somebody right now, that is working on an employee driven wellness program. And she’s hitting some roadblocks, you know, but, you know, I can’t wait to send her this episode, because she’ll really appreciate it. But it’s interesting to hear what you said, and you know, having that budget, and you know, knowing that budgets going to come there and how it’s going to help people and the fact that you’re kind of including everybody, you don’t have to be fit to attend the health care. Because I know so many people that are overweight or know that they have maybe blood sugar issues are coming and you know, for a lot of women, and I’ve seen this a lot in corporate wellness is if we do a health fair at noon, because a lot of times health fair start around noon, well, but from a women, woman, female mindset and some men too, but it’s more the women that then stepping on a scale after lunch is not going to happen. They’re not going to step on that scale after lunch. You’re lucky if you can get them to step on the scale first thing in the morning, but if you put it after lunch, they’re definitely not going to step on the scale. I’ve had women leave health fairs in tears. You don’t want to have somebody leave in tears for my health fair. That is that’s not about it. So you know, I told the one organization that one time I said let’s get the scale out. Now. All but biometrics. I said no, it’s not. You’re chasing people away having that scale there.

Rue Patel
Or put this or put the scale where it’s one in one out exactly. And give people privacy with things that they that are kind of near and dear to them. Yeah, sure, yes. But

Laura Timbrook
having that and making it all inclusive and everything like that. I mean, that’s such a great, a great tip for somebody that’s just starting out and moving forward, or maybe is running a health and wellness, employee benefits. And it’s not going well, because maybe we have to look at where who’s leading it. So I just want to thank you so much for your time and talking about all this. Can you talk a little bit about how they can get in touch with you, because I know you do some consulting for businesses. And I want you to have this opportunity to tell them a little bit about what what you do. Well, thanks,

Rue Patel
Laura. So I’m taking my 35 years of big fortune 500 experience and mistakes made, and leading leading a $2 billion facility to help small businesses and do some of these very things we talked about. And it centers around leadership, and it gets to things like continuous improvement, and I do a ton of coaching. But people can get ahold of me on LinkedIn, easily available ru Patel, and happy to help or just even have a conversation. And what I figured out is that, you know, I’m not the right help for everybody. But maybe I know somebody that is. So in my, in my retired life, one of the key philosophies I have is, you know, I have to look like how, and if I don’t, then I gotta move on. And I’m not here to waste other people’s time. And I don’t want people wasting my time. So that philosophy has worked out pretty good. Pretty well, for me, it’s like, and ask people directly did I look like health today? And you know, we so we have like a little accountability model built in every time we work together. And yeah, they are what’s in the longer term, folks, once a month. Tell me how I look like health. And if I don’t, do we need to do something different. I’m not afraid of that. And they shouldn’t be wasting their time and money. But you’re adding value. And I think you’ve noticed in my conversation, simple is good. I’m not the guy with complex ideas. I’ve been around, people that throw words out, I can’t spell and I can’t say and it’s like, well, then I’m not gonna do it. So keep it simple. Keep it in sets of twos and threes, people can manage and work on some stuff that makes a difference.

Laura Timbrook
Awesome. And I’ll put your link to LinkedIn on the show notes so everybody can find you and everything like that. And I just want to thank you so much for joining me today and having this conversation. Laura. Thanks, great senior,

Rue Patel
I love that box in the background. Made my morning with I clicked in. Just Good. Good talking to you now and I love what you’re doing around Well, that’s the thing. It’s so important for our workforce. And our leaders specifically to understand that is a critical part of their organization. And yeah, it’s going to cost money, but it’s an investment that’s going to pay itself off again and again again, so thank you for that. Oh, thank you.

Laura Timbrook
That’s awesome. Thank you so much.

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