Case Study: A matter of health

February 22, 2018 -  By
Photo: Gachina Landscape Management

Gachina recognized the winners of its “No Shave November” contest at its annual Christmas party. Photo: Gachina Landscape Management

After Gachina Landscape Management Founder and President John Gachina died from prostate cancer in 2015, men’s health became a greater focus for the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company. Company leaders launched a multipronged effort to encourage the company’s employees (94 percent of which are male) to be proactive with their health care. There have been several women’s health efforts as well.

The company has chosen Movember—a social movement that encourages men to grow facial hair during the month of November to raise awareness for men’s health issues—as a key focus of its efforts. November 2018 will be the third year Gachina participates in Movember. Activities include focusing on healthy living tips, such as nutrition and exercise, during weekly “tailgate talks” and having a “No Shave November” contest. There were prizes for four categories, says Denise Ritch, Gachina’s human resources director. Categories included longest beard, most creative, fullest and newest growth. Winners were awarded gift cards and recognized at the company’s annual Christmas party.

“It was just a small thing, but you could tell it was something everyone really enjoyed, and that’s what we were aiming for,” says Ritch. “It created conversation—including conversation at home. People would ask ‘why aren’t you shaving?’, and that opened the door to talk about it.”

Stacie Callaghan, Gachina’s marketing manager, adds that female employees were encouraged to participate by creating a “Mo Challenge” to get active. For instance, Callaghan created a challenge to move at least 150 to 200 miles via biking, swimming, running or hiking in memory of her father who passed away from lung cancer in 2016.

Besides raising awareness about men’s health, the ultimate goal is also to encourage men to follow through on scheduling their wellness checkups.

Photo: Gachina Landscape Management

Photo: Gachina Landscape Management

“We do offer health insurance, and if our employees choose our plan, we want to see them follow through on the free wellness checks each year,” says Ritch. “And even if they have a different insurance plan, we still want to know that they’re going for those checks. Early detection is the key to survival when it comes to cancer.”

Ritch says the company decided it was too invasive to verify if employees followed through on their wellness exams, so it opted to provide encouragement only. Based on feedback from employees, she believes it’s been a worthwhile effort, and men are becoming more comfortable with talking about health issues and following through on exams. Instead of feeling embarrassed or a stigma about health concerns, they’re recognizing the importance.

Overall, Ritch says the effort has been a small investment of time and money. Costs have included matching $610 from employee Movember fundraising and purchasing gift cards for prizes. She says it’s something other landscape companies could easily incorporate to raise awareness about important health issues their employees may face.

“Sometimes simple really is better,” Ritch says. “This does not have to be an elaborate effort to make a difference. And even if it just makes a difference in one life—maybe one person who goes in for a wellness exam and finds something early—then it was absolutely all worth it.”

Photo: Gachina Landscape Management

About the Author:

Payton is a freelance writer with eight years of experience writing about the landscape industry.

1 Comment on "Case Study: A matter of health"

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  1. Casey,

    What a surprise when I opened my email today. Thank you for writing this article about an important issue facing men’s health. I hope this will start a conversation in our industry.

    Jackie Ishimaru- Gachina
    Gachina Landscape Management