A weight-loss challenge over the holidays??? It doesn’t make any sense. It won’t work. We’ll just be setting people up for failure…
Not quite. Members of the Miron Construction team lost a combined weight of more than 500 pounds during a holiday health challenge this past holiday season, beginning the week of Thanksgiving and finishing up shortly after the 1st of the year. So, was the challenge a success? To a great extent I think it was, but I suppose that all depends on how we measure success. Do the impressive statistics tell the whole story? Let’s have a look:
- 67% Percentage of Miron Construction office/yard employees (133 total) who participated in the 8-week holiday health challenge
- 576 Total number of pounds lost
- 2.28% Average percentage of weight loss per individual
- 8-10 pounds Average weight gain for Americans over the holidays
- 1,916 Total number of pounds Miron Construction employees have lost since the first holiday fitness challenge in 2009
Well, looking at the numbers, it looks as though we were successful indeed!
So now what?
What about the long-term effect on participants’ health? What about self-accountability and enhancing employee health beyond the competition-driven challenge? Did we create lifestyle intervention strategies for high risk employees? Will we see an increase in overall health, work productivity and better scores on our health risk assessments? We may have to wait a little longer to evaluate those results, but the impact they make is arguably more important in the long run, both on employee health and the companies’ bottom line.
A competition-driven health challenge is a great way to foster workplace engagement and team spirit, especially when it parallels the existing culture of that particular workplace (just say the word “competition“ around here and the start line is jam packed with people ready to heed the call). The competition unites co-workers with a common goal, provides team members to cheer on coworkers and provides accountability that goes beyond oneself. Bragging rights for members of the winning team is simply the icing on the cake. Throw in a celebration dinner and two extra vacation days for the winning team and you’ve created one highly competitive environment!
But the greater goal, of course, is moving beyond the health challenge with the momentum and success, not away from it. To say that such a challenge impacts workplace wellness is only as accurate as the success of the next one. It’s more about using the challenge as part of a multi-component wellness program than a stage for showcasing weight loss and impressive stats.While those things matter, employees at Miron have a lot more to feel proud about. Imagine how good it must feel to start the New Year off with weight loss (aka health advantage!), rather than with the dreaded 8-10 pound gain most Americans experience over the holidays. A fitness challenge provides accountability and support to maintain our health at a time when it’s so easy to succumb to the temptations of the holiday season.
The success of our challenge puts us a step ahead of the national pace starting the New Year, but the greater goal is continuing those steps toward improving our individual and company-wide health. After all, when we cease to move forward, we don’t just stop moving…we get caught by our past and all that we have worked so hard to leave behind.
So, congratulations to Miron’s holiday health challenge participants. Keep up the great work!
Image courtesy of Google Images