InDay: No Ordinary Health Fair

September 23, 2011

Once a month, we set aside a Friday for employees to focus on investing in themselves and their community. It’s a day to spend time outside their daily task list. Check out other InDay posts here. - Ed. 

LinkedIn’s Health Fair and Olympics were part of September’s inDay, a day each month where LinkedIn employees take a break from their typical work and give back to themselves and others. While some employees competed outdoors, others gathered inside to share their visions of how LinkedIn for Good will grow and develop over the next 3-5 years.

It was an energizing conversation to be a part of, with many excellent ideas shared.  Hosting such an engaging health fair and brainstorming for the future of LinkedIn for Good reminded me how lucky I am to work at a company that truly cares about making positive impact in its employees’ lives and in the world.

Standing under a balloon archway entrance, I loved seeing the surprised looks on employees’ faces as I welcomed them with a map of 30+ participating companies and organizations. This was no ordinary health fair. Not only did employees engage with a variety of insurance providers, but they also participated in fitness challenges, had their caricatures drawn and relaxed for massages under shady tents. One colleague said he appreciated the opportunity to talk to our medical and life insurance carriers and enjoyed the good food and raffle tickets that went along with it. Pradeep Sanders’ favorite booth was the High Striker carnival game because it was an excellent de-stressor, and he swung the hammer so hard it rang the bell.

Vendors varied from caterers with fresh parfaits, ice cream, and organic fruit to insurance providers with answers to employee questions. Disease prevention associations kept participants informed, while community organizations recruited volunteers. I enjoyed walking among the booths and people, sipping a pineapple smoothie and welcoming employees to the fair. It was the culmination of months of planning, where Paula Nelson and I, both from Human Resources, worked together with our benefits broker and members of LinkedIn’s Employment Brand and Facilities teams.

Along with the Health Fair in Mountain View, nurses were on site conducting biometric screenings, the Stanford Blood Mobile was here collecting blood and at the bi-annual LinkedIn Olympics, led by Michael Susi, teams cheered as participants sprinted around the bases, hobbled through a three-legged race and tossed a medicine ball back and forth as quickly as they could.  It was a terrific team-building experience, and various groups dressed for the occasion.  My favorite was the team whose members came dressed as the upbeat frizzy haired fitness fiend, Richard Simmons.

In the New York, Omaha and Chicago offices, they had smaller health fairs with biometric screenings and also followed their passions for inDay.  Chicago employees conducted a shoe drive for and donated blood to the American Red Cross. With over 80 pairs of shoes donated and 12 lives saved as a result of blood donations, both organizations were particularly grateful for the generosity of LinkedIn employees.  In New York, employees held a blood drive to support Sloan-Kettering, a local cancer clinic where a fellow employee was recently treated. The highlight of the day for the Omaha employees was the 10 minute massages, followed by the free biometric health screenings.  Employees also spoke with a local personal trainer and a dietitian and participated in a short relay race in the afternoon.

For HR, the Health Fair was only the beginning—a kick off event to get employees thinking about their benefits before Open Enrollment in November.  For everyone else, it was a an opportunity to engage with their benefits providers and other local organizations in a fun environment with carnival games, food and entertainment.