R-A-C-E: Four Compelling Reasons to Participate in Corporate Road Races

runnersIn cities and communities all across America, businesses, corporations and other organizations are given the opportunity to participate in local road races. Most often these races will include a 5K and Fun Run, with an occasional longer distance race. However, because they are designed for corporate participation they will often include unique features not found in typical community races. Yes, there will be the t-shirts, water stops and post-race munchies. But there is often much more such as team competitions, awards for C-suite leaders, and prizes for teams donning the best running outfits. Corporate race events are fun…and they encourage fitness.

Here in Atlanta there are ample opportunities for corporate teams to join the fitness fun. The Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk is the largest race in Atlanta devoted to corporate participation. Produced by U.S. Olympian Jeff Galloway, the 5K Run/Walk includes a training program, a field of 400 corporate teams and 16,000 runners and walkers, and  concludes with the largest company picnic this side of the Chattahoochee.

Not your average  winners' ribbons

Not your average winners’ ribbons

The Button Down Dash, sponsored by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, is a more intimate event designed to bring the Gwinnett business community together, support local nonprofit organizations, and enhance the health of the community. In addition to the 5K Run/Walk, the Button Down Dash includes a Fun Run, 10K and the ever popular Diaper Dash where fit mammas and poppas race while pushing their children in strollers. Instead of the typical race medal, plaques and trophies, the winners take home a coveted gold briefcase or the sought-after neckties presented to each finisher, (in addition, of course, to the t-shirt).

Wherever these races are held, the race organizers will encourage corporate teams to participate, touting the benefits of participation. What are those benefits? Below, are just four of the benefits of participating. Read more of this post

How to Avoid the Scarlet Letter in Your Employee Wellness Program

scarletLetterHester Prynne struggled with the open shame and guilt of sin—much like many employees today who are forced to endure the shame placed upon them by well-meaning employee wellness programs.

The name Hester Prynne may not ring the bell of our memory, but many of us remember what she was forced to bear. Hester is the key character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter. She gives birth to a daughter, revealing her affair.  Upon being found guilty of adultery in 17th Century Puritan Boston, she is forced to wear the scarlet letter “A” on her dress as a sign of shame.

With employee wellness booming across America, we are seeing some effective initiatives and some flops. Mixed within both spectrums of the attempts at employee wellness success, is the unintended consequence of employee shame. “Laura” is a modern-day Hester Prynne. Read more of this post

What Sophisticated Employers Know

Who are the enlightened and sophisticated employers? According to Andy Webber, President of the National Business Coalition on Health, they are the employers who “see health management not as an operating cost but an investment in workforce health and productivity.”

ZeroTrendsDee W. Edington wrote Zero Trends with the purpose of demonstrating that the improved health status of employees will not only reduce healthcare costs for the company, but also increase performance and productivity in the workplace. His book is about a new model of healthcare that defines healthcare as a combination of illness and wellness strategies that affect the bottom line of organizations far beyond simply striving to reduce the cost of insurance premiums. He contends “health management is a health strategy, but equally important, health management is a business and economic strategy.”

Avowing the cost of health is less than the cost of disease, Edington maintains that an unhealthy workforce cost an organization more than just the expense of treating illness. The cost of poor health hits employers through Read more of this post

Who Qualifies to Be Your Corporate Wellness Champion?

ChampionThere is a significant misconception in many organizations who aim to birth an employee wellness strategy. This misconception revolves around the question of who qualifies to be the Wellness Champion for the organization. The prevailing opinion will often be that the only people worthy of leading the wellness strategies are either nutritionists, dietitians, nurses or fitness gurus. While having an understanding of nutrition and fitness certainly is helpful to whoever is leading the wellness program, it is not the primary qualification. I likened it to the latter section of a job description where the recruiter will list qualifications that are “a plus” but not necessary.

Effective Wellness Champions are first business oriented. They are equipped with a well-rounded set of business acumen skills. Holly Firestine, Manager for Wellness and Worklife at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, affirms this. She comments, “A business approach to wellness, where there is a true strategic approach to programming and measurement that aligns with corporate strategy, is critical to the success of anyone seeking to lead Wellness in the workplace.” She continues by adding, “The Wellness Leader must have the ability to sustain the culture through stakeholder engagement throughout all leadership and staff levels in order to establish credibility and authenticity with all employees.”

Your athletic trainer may be effective in a Zumba class, but can she effectively lead in helping the organization meet its strategic initiatives? Employers are wise to look outside the circles of Athletic Trainers, Iron Men and Nutritionists when seeking to fill the position commonly referred to as the company Wellness Coordinator. Read more of this post