Business of Well-being

Cooking With Intel - How Intel Employees Keep Their Dishes Fresh

Movement. Nutrition. Mindset. Recovery. These four pillars make up the foundation of Intel Corporation's wellness program, Vitality.

"This is a real shift from relying on biometric-based clinical type of wellness program to a lifestyle activity-based program," explained Tami Graham, Director of Global Benefits Strategy, Intel Corporation.

From Arizona to Oregon, Texas to Colorado, and New Mexico to California, the company's philosophy extends beyond employees dieting and quitting smoking. As Graham offered, Intel Corporation likes to meet its employees where they might be.

"We take an assessment up front," she said. "Not a standard health assessment, but we use imagery. We probe around and ask them, 'How do you feel today? Are you ready to take on the day?' We will also ask them if they find themselves slamming the alarm and do not want to crawl out of bed."


Nutrition is a solid core component of the pillar-the pillar is derived from the company's partnership with EXOS, a health and wellness a health and wellness performance organization - and allows employees to do more than just learn a salad is better than a powdered doughnut; healthy eating seminars and cooking classes are available to them, too.

Cooking classes for Intel employees are found at staffed sites in the kitchen or Intel cafe' and offer opportunities to learn new cooking skills and techniques and proper food preparation. The topics Intel's cooking classes cover are Healthy Mind, Rise and Dine, and Spice Up Your Health.

The goal of each class is to teach employees how eating the right foods boost concentration and elevates mood, in particular breakfast, and how using the right spices paired with particular food items can improve digestion and control blood sugar. Employees watch cooking demos and meals made on-site at Intel by a head chef. After the demonstration, employees often bring home meals to feed their families.

Over time, engagement in cooking classes have increased to a point where Graham noted they are extremely popular.

"Employees are actually enjoying these services," she said. "When you are talking about 54,000 people in the United States, we want them to do more than letting them give blood to monitor their health. Our goal is to activate our people. We believe in the value of activation."

Nationally the company has been recognized as a leader in the health field. In 2015, the company received an award by the National Business Group on Health for Excellence and Innovation. Graham added that is the biggest award the organization extends.

Internal wellness programs are not new for the organization. A biometric-based wellness program, including blood draws, health coach consultations, and cholesterol and blood glucose monitoring, was the mainstay of Intel's wellness activities.

Over time, Graham said, they added employee incentives that added up to $250-including $25 when an employee had his or her blood drawn and $25 for completing a meeting with a health coach. Initially, employee engagement ranked at 30 percent. After incentives were added, employee engagement jumped to 70 percent.

By the end of 2014, employees received the incentive for blood draws, for example, but were not making lifestyle changes. Focusing on eliminating tobacco use and lowering BMI did not result in changes for employees either. By 2015, Intel introduced its Vitality program to help employees create a new "you".

In the first year, Graham said, the company kept the incentive program for its employees and explained the value of all the services within the program equated to $850 per employee. By the end of 2015, the incentive program was frozen.

The result? Engagement by employees has increased due to an increased offering of wellness options, such as the cooking classes, gyms, personal training, small group training and online tools.

"Seeing pre-diabetic people transform into people without diabetes at all is one of our most proud moments," Graham added. "When people come up to you say, 'this health coach who I am working with really cares about me', it shows that intrinsic motivation is at work."

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