Working out helps employees work better

You might think that the pay and prestige of working at one of Temecula’s hottest restaurant/night spots would be its own reward, but that was not enough for Iron Wok CEO Vicente Curiel.

Curiel wanted to do more to recognize, motivate and retain the 100 or so people who have made his establishment such a success. So for all their hard work, Curiel gave them the ideal reward: even more hard work, in the form of a corporate membership at Evolution Fitness center in Murrieta.

“This is a great way to retain employees and keep them happier,” said Curiel. “In our industry, employee turnover can be as high as 20 to 40 percent every year. But since we started our corporate membership for our employees at Evolution Fitness, our turnover rate is down by 25 percent.”

Iron Wok is just one of an increasing number of Inland Empire businesses that are helping their company’s bottom lines by getting their employees in shape. Some business owners reimburse their employees for health club membership fees.

Curiel says his employees who work out are more productive and feel better. “We are proud of how we take care of our staff,” Curiel said. “And whatever it costs, we get back far more in increased productivity and better employee retention.”

So when they are not slinging hash or toting drinks, you can find Iron Wok’s finest down at the club, slinging weights and toting barbells.

“Our corporate members use their memberships in a lot of ways,” said Tana Broaddus, a trainer at Evolution Fitness. “Some use memberships as an incentive or award for high performance. Others use it for employees who maybe let themselves go physically and it is affecting their work. So they come here, take a class, work with a trainer, and soon they are feeling more energized — more motivated.”

Evolution Fitness specializes in showing average people how to move better and become more athletic by using the same training techniques that professional athletes use. “A lot of our trainers work with professional athletes,” said Broaddus, who is also a professional dancer and dance instructor, “including football players, baseball players, motocross riders and others. We work with their balance and core strength to make them even better. And we work with average people, or people who have never even been in a gym, the same way.”

A childcare center onsite allows many parents to drop off their children for an hour while they work out a few feet away. A juice and smoothie bar provides pre- and post-workout refreshments.

“Our club appeals to people who like a variety of classes and equipment to help them get fit,” Broaddus said. “Everything from a golf simulator and indoor rock climbing, to power lifting classes and Tahitian cardio. People love that golf simulator, where they can hit balls indoors and see their ball flight and club head speed displayed right in front of them on a computer.”

Including lots of folks from Iron Wok. “We chose Evolution Fitness because it is close to our restaurant and we believe it is the best facility in the area. It is great team-building,” said Curiel.

Pechanga is another local employer that offers corporate health club memberships to their employees. They say they find the program rewarding. “We use L.A. Fitness in Murrieta, where our team members and their families get a discounted rate,” said Ciara Coyle, a Pechanga spokesperson. “The idea is that if people are healthy, they get sick less often. If they get sick less, they miss less work. It becomes a positive spiral.”

But Pechanga didn’t stop there. They also have an onsite health club just for employees. “They can go in there and work up a sweat before or after their shift,” said Coyle. “We have TVs, headphones and all the same equipment as a health club.”

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