In June, Equatex employees cycled to work as part of a health and wellbeing scheme, part of a wider HR initiative to engage employees. Equatex HR Specialist, Barbara Kehrli, discusses how initiatives like Bike to Work can help in enhancing employee engagement and building company culture.
Health, wellbeing and sustainability are very important to us at Equatex. At the beginning of the year, we established an internal employee engagement initiative called House of Engagement, which aims to bring our company values of trust, innovation and commitment to life through a number of different schemes. Employees are encouraged to bring forward ideas about what we can do to enhance engagement further and this has led to a number of suggestions around teambuilding events, training opportunities and health.
One of the most recent schemes that employees participated in was Bike to Work, a national event in Switzerland that encourages employees to get fit and have fun. Each organisation forms teams of four employees, who then bike to work instead of commuting by car or public transport. Throughout May and/or June, each team records the kilometres and number of days they have cycled to work using an online tool. Teams can then see how they compare to other participants in their company and across the country.
Bike to Work is a very good initiative as it combines health and sustainability – you are improving your own fitness while not using the car as much. Equatex had six teams taking part, including one in Norway, and they enjoyed it very much. In Zurich, employees usually commute by train or tram so people found that switching to bikes had a great impact on their fitness.
Teams were comprised of members from different departments so the scheme has also brought together employees who may not have had contact with one another. From an HR point of view, it was important to us to bring employees together. There are fun stats too so, for example, Equatex employees cycled the same length as the railway network in Switzerland during the challenge.
As part of House of Engagement, we have also introduced ‘random lunches’, where employees add their name to a list and each month we randomly pair up two employees to have a lunch date. It could be their colleague or someone they have not met from a different department, and it helps to enhance relationships between employees. We also have ‘Executive Board lunches’, where employees can book lunch with a board member once a month. And finally, we have engagement beyond work, where we list charities our staff members are involved in.
The Global Corporate Challenge
The next initiative employees are participating in is the Global Corporate Challenge, in which thousands of employees around the world compete in teams of seven and work towards a daily target of 10,000 steps. The programme also provides lots of information about wellbeing in general, helping to create a culture of health. The reception has been fantastic and we’ve already had over 100 employees sign up.
In 2016, Equatex is looking to build on our global winning culture. We are a young and old company at the same time: Equatex was established 18 months ago, but many of our employees have worked within the industry for a long time. Initiatives like these can help in building company culture.
Overall, House of Engagement has helped us to focus on employee engagement and development. What’s more, initiatives like these can have a lasting effect – I’m still biking to work even though the initiative has now ended.