Brokerage finding success with health program September 3, 2014

Real Estate Weekly | Dan Orlando

GFI Capital Resources Group knows a thing or two about investing in commercial real estate. The company has been active in the business for over 30 years.

But this summer, GFI shifted its focus to another asset: its employees.
Last Month, GFI unveiled “The Corporate Wellness Initiative,” which offers employees from all of the company’s regions the opportunity to compete in a six-week challenge dedicated to eating healthier and installing effective exercise habits into daily routines.

Employees are divided into teams and are eligible to win weekly prizes as they work to hone their diets, improve on their daily rituals and potentially “out-health” other squads.

“The wellness program has produced a great deal of excitement in our offices, and has rejuvenated cross- regional communications,” said Belinda Gillett, director of human resources at GFI Capital Resources Group, Inc . “The positive impact it has had on our employees’ awareness in terms of health and nutrition was anticipated from the program’s early planning stages, however the amount of workplace chatter that has begun pertaining to health topics and the competition was more than we could have expected.”

Looking out for the well-being of those who help drive your success is a worthwhile endeavor for reasons that are completely unrelated to a company’s bottom line. That said, operations manager at GFI Capital Becca Zohar admits that there are productivity-related benefits too.
“They’re more efficient, they’re happier. When you’re happier with yourself you can be happier working with other people,” said Zohar. “We want it to be a great place for people coming to work.”
Dawn Fang, HR business partner at GFI, agreed with Zohar’s sentiments and added that wellness programs such as theirs provide companies with an opportunity to lower insurance costs.

“When you have healthy employees, your premiums will go down,” said Fang.
Zohar told Real Estate Weekly that the initiative, “gives (employees) the opportunity to work with people in the company that they may not get to work with on a daily basis,” and therefore “helps with team-building.”

“It’s really an initiative to get employees to think,” said Zohar. “Yes about their own health but aside from the competition aspect of it we’re offering a lot of benefits to the employees.”

Those benefits and activities include in-house yoga demonstrations which showcase various stretches that can be done at one’s desk and “walks with HR” which include local group trips during lunch hour.

“It’s tools they can bring home to their families,” Zohar said. “It’s not like it should stop at the office, we really want people to implement these throughout their whole life.”
The program officially began on August 11th and will conclude on September 21st.

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