Happy at work? Kansas City business is among nation's healthiest employers

KC business has some of US's healthiest workers
KC business has some of US's healthiest workers
KC business has some of US's healthiest workers
Posted at 4:59 AM, Sep 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-19 10:28:15-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tuesday, a Kansas City-based sporting goods company will find out where it ranks on a list of the country’s healthiest employers. ranked Pro Athlete, Inc. third in its 2016 list. The website will announce its 2017 rankings during a conference Tuesday in Chicago.
Pro Athlete is a northland business that runs several websites that sell things like baseball bats and gloves. Local publications have consistently named it as one of the top spots to work in the metro.
“You're here too many hours in the day to not have fun,” said Andrew Dowis, Pro Athlete's Chief Operating Officer.
To make sure the 55 or so employees at Pro Athlete enjoy their work, the company offers several perks. It starts with a cafeteria serving free breakfast, lunch and dinner. One study showed 67 percent of employees with access to free food at work were happier.
Pro Athlete places a big focus on its employee’s health. There is a swimming pool, racquetball court, basketball court and fitness center on campus. A wall of trophies highlights success stories for employee’s weight loss and other health goals.
“This is the way to incentivize your people,” Dowis explained. “Recognize their hard work, because it is hard work, and there are some really cool stories on this wall. When you bring your family up, they get to see all your hard work and that you're recognized for it.”
The headquarters is decked out with memorabilia from Kauffman Stadium. It includes a bar, coffee shop and clothing store where employees get $100 to spend annually. Each area has its own name.
“It feels nice to not feel like you're five steps away from the job you do every day, it feels like you’re in a legit bar off campus,” Dowis explained. “It's something we like to do with all the spaces to create a little more appeal for everybody.”
A variety of studies show happy employees do better work and outperform competing businesses by 20 percent.

Dowis said his company doesn't measure the return on investment it places on employee happiness, but he said the company would not be as successful if the employees were not a priority.

“It's fun, and it's the right thing to do in our eyes. We do feel like we get more energetic employees and stuff like that, and we get a tighter-knit group, but we don't really measure, we don't have metrics to say if this is working, we just believe it is,” Dowis explained.

Pro Athlete, Inc., receives between 15 and 20 applications per day, even when there isn't a job opening.

Several other metro businesses have been recognized for going above and beyond with employee perks, offering things like trips, volunteer opportunities and free food.