Engineering firm Alstom UK and Ireland, which employs more than 2,500 people in a variety of manual and office-based roles, identified it was facing potential health problems as a result of an ageing workforce.
Claire Sallis, occupational health and wellbeing manager at Alstom UK and Ireland, says: “We wanted to encourage our employees to be more active and take more interest in their health and wellbeing. Many of our employees worked long hours and commuted into work so they weren’t getting much exercise.”
To turn things around, it introduced the Global Corporate Challenge in 2011, initially piloting it in one of its depots. The feedback and results from the 70 employees that took part in this first challenge encouraged Sallis to roll it out to the whole organisation the following year. “As well as a reduction in absence and improvements in productivity, we found that people really enjoyed the team aspect of the challenge as it helped to bring them together,” she explains. “We also saw improvements in engagement. Employees like the fact we’re investing in their health and wellbeing.”
Each year more and more employees have taken part in the challenge with around 60% of the workforce expected to sign up this year. “Our employees are really seeing the benefits of being more active,” Sallis adds. “We’ve seen them setting up walking groups and weight-loss clubs and it’s much more common to see people heading off for a game of badminton after work. It also benefits our employees’ families; rather than sit on the sofa, they’re going out for walks together now.”