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County of Barrhead wellness challenge: road to success

July 31, 2019

Organizing a fitness challenge internally that saw 90 per cent participation rate is an incredible feat achieved by the County of Barrhead. The aim of the challenge was to encourage staff to take advantage of the municipality’s health and wellness benefit programs and teambuilding.

In last week’s Digest, we shared how the three goals set by the County were achieved. Then there were the added benefits, which included building relationships that extended beyond the challenge, as well as sustained, healthy activities.

From a management perspective, having a healthy body and mind helps to increase productivity in the workplace. Lindsey Ellwin, a Municipal Clerk for the County who is also a certified fitness trainer, knows the benefits of having a healthy body and mind.

 “One staff said that everyday they’d made a point to put down their electronics and go outside to play with their kid,” said Lindsay. “This right here meant a lot to me! It meant that we won no matter the outcome of the challenge.”

How were County of Barrhead staff so successful?

They had a few not-so-secret ingredients to success:

  • They ensured they had buy-in from their chief administrative officer (CAO).
  • They kept communication open with everyone.
  • They were open to feedback from participants and used it to refine their challenge.
  • They identified participant leaders who helped motivate their team members.
  • They focused on designing a challenge that was accessible to people of all fitness abilities and across all departments of the organization.
  • They created visuals to motivate their participants.
  • They researched grants to help offset the cost of prizes.

 “It doesn’t matter how big or how small your organization is,” said Patty Wierenga, Financial Controller at County of Barrhead. “If your human resources department or CAO decides to take it on, commit to it. The staff is appreciative of these events.”

As the County of Barrhead basks in the aftermath of a successful inaugural corporate fitness challenge, they are now planning for next year’s challenge. Keep your ears open and your gears ready, since next year they may just challenge your municipality!