News & Views

How can a “smackdown” improve a company’s culture? – Part 2

By Jim Tighe on Monday, June 13th, 2011


As I noted last week, the EWI WellnessSmackdown was created as a way to engage our Associates in wellness in a fun, competitive, and cost effective way.  The first go round included over 50 of our 130 Associates participating.

Some very cool stuff happened during the competition… Associates donated time to charitable events, entered duathlons, competed in stair climbing competitions, set a new record for blood donations, scheduled physicals … We hit our PHA goal… We maxed out on participation in our health fair.  There were also concrete and measurable results.  On average, we:

  • Lost 5 pounds per participant
  • Lost 2 inches off our waist
  • Lowered our blood pressure and blood sugar levels by 7%

So score it a success on the wellness scale!

But in my opinion, the biggest win was the positive impact the EWI WellnessSmackdown had (and has) on EWI’s culture.  Team members pushed each other to hit their weekly goals.  On numerous nights I heard Angi give Henry (our CEO) friendly and stern encouragement not to let her down.  People talked smack to each other about how their teams were doing and what their teams were participating in.  And people genuinely were happy when others were hitting their goals regardless of what team they were on.

EWI WellnessSmackdown - Round 1 Winners

After the competition concluded, people immediately asked when round 2 was kicking off (another great sign).  Associates had great suggestions on how to tweak and improve it this go round, with the majority of suggestions around how to encourage more interaction among the teams and Associates (another great culture sign).

It’s not often a CFO can have an impact on (non-financial) wellness and culture (at least for the positive) and I’m grateful EWI has the structure that allows for this.

I’d be happy to discuss the competition with anyone who might be interested in starting something like this at your organization.

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