Strategic Planning. Training. Market Positioning.

One Good Idea

Years ago when I was part of what was then called the IPC EMSI Council, we used to end every meeting by going around the room sharing one good idea from each company. I still include time for that in the IPC EMS Program Management certification courses I teach because it always opens the door to new thoughts among the students. And, occasionally when I come across something I find interesting I do it in my blog.

The one good idea I’m sharing today comes from Concept2. They are an exercise equipment company that makes rowing and ski machines. I bought one of their rowing machines because they were top rated, had almost zero customer bad reviews and actually manufacture their equipment in the US (we can’t keep manufacturing in the US if we don’t make an effort buy US-made products). I discovered after I bought my machine that I wasn’t just getting a product, I was actually buying into a community of rowers. They sponsor global competitions and individual or team “challenges” several times a year. They have even partnered with a third-party software vendor to make it possible for rowers to virtually race each other.

The one good idea comes from their challenge schedule. Their end-of-year holiday challenge is for rowers to either row 100,000 meters or 200,000 meters between black Friday and Christmas Eve. Unlike their other challenges, where the reward is simply a certificate and a listing on an online Honor Roll, they donate money for each of rowers meeting one of the two challenge levels (the amount doubles if you hit the higher goal). So, in addition to motivating exercise during the holidays, folks that hit that goal are helping raise money for three charities. It is impossible to cheat because the rower “reports” your meters to an online log via a phone app or computer link.

I’ve noticed that several of my client companies have wellness programs and do company-sponsored food drives around the holidays for their local food banks–it is a pretty common practice in manufacturing firms. So, the one good idea I’m proposing is that if your company has both a wellness program and a food drive, consider finding a way to link the two by including a company donation tied to wellness program participants meeting set exercise goals. Its a win-win for both efforts. A few tips to make the program count:

  • Make sure the goal achievement payment promises will align with any budgetary constraints (it is demotivating to hear that goal achievement levels exceeded the amount the company is willing to donate)
  • Define the exercises that will qualify for the goal so there is no issue with what participants define as exercise and make it a broad enough list that people without access to exercise machines or a gym can still participate
  • Make sure the metric is easy for everyone to measure (time is a great measurement, since it is easy to check your watch)
  • Make it easy for people to log their hours as they happen in a central place (ideally an online spreadsheet)
  • Celebrate the accomplishment (a lunch, certificates, maybe an honor board).

Done right, employees have motivation to engage in healthy habits during a time when everyone typically overindulges, a local charity gets a little extra support and good “social responsibility” PR is had by all. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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