A few months ago I blogged about the importance of employee health and wellness programs (Why does health get forgotten in health and safety?) Even without the support of the detailed studies into the links between employee wellness, productivity and retention, there is, I argued, a compelling, common-sense business case for investing in the health and wellbeing of your workforce.
It’s a topic that’s always been close to my heart and one I feel is a fundamental part of any organization’s commitment to responsible and sustainable business practice. There are many ways of promoting wellbeing, but one method that’s had particular success at CSC is our participation in the Global Corporate Games.
Billed as the world’s largest multi-sport festival for businesses, since its inception in 1988, over a million people from 22,500 organizations have taken part in the Corporate Games.
This year CSC entered a team of 270, which included employees, their families and friends plus clients and contractors. As well as winning the UK title for the fourth year running, the CSC team also picked up the coveted Medalist Award which is presented to the organization winning the most medals. The team also raised £21,394 for charities including the Starlight Children’s Foundation which grants wishes for terminally ill children, Cancer Research and the DEC appeal for Nepal.
The winning formula
I caught up with my colleague Mick Williams, who organizes the CSC team to ask him what makes the Games so special. Mick said, “With over 20 events, including dragon boat racing, karting and golf, there’s something for everyone. Yes there are the people who are serious about their running or their netball, but the Games is all about winning points for your team and you can do that ten pin bowling. It’s a cliché only because its true, but it really is the taking part that counts. Of course, winning is even more fun!”
It’s certainly true that colleagues who take part are effusive in their praise for the event. Many I speak to are signing up for next year almost before they’ve hung up this years’ medals. But I do get the distinct impression that it’s definitely not all blood, sweat and tears at the track-side. It’s a theory that Mick confirmed with a chuckle, “Absolutely not!” he said, adding, “I’m often the last to turn in for the night, but only because I’m trying to persuade the members of our football team to get some sleep before their match. In terms of team building and employee engagement, there’s nothing to rival the Games in my opinion.”
Employee engagement is certainly riding high on corporate agendas at the moment. In Deloitte’s recently published ‘Global Human Capital Trends 2015 Survey’, 87 percent of HR and business leaders cited employee engagement as their top challenge, up from 79 percent in 2014.
There is compelling evidence too that the relationship between employee health and employee commitment may actually be two-way and self reinforcing meaning that healthy employees are more committed and committed employees are more healthy (Bevan 2010).
After six years at the helm organizing the CSC team, I asked Mick for his view. “There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a correlation, but you only have to look at the pictures to see how coming together to compete as part of the CSC team brings people together. If that’s not employee engagement, I don’t know what is.”