Every summer thousands of employees from hundreds of companies pit their wits and athletic abilities against rivals in popular corporate showdowns. But it is after competitors return to their desks from events like the UK Corporate Games (4-7 July) and the UK Challenge (20-23 June) that the lasting benefits emerge.
The drive to win is strong but so is the desire to enjoy an excellent opportunity for team building and camaraderie. The diverse line-up of sports and age-group categories at the UK Corporate Games illustrate its inclusive ethos: there’s something for all employees, including poker, dragon boat racing and tenpin bowling.
“The most competitive event by a long shot is the go-karting,” notes Ben Dobson, national sales manager for the four-day Corporate Games.
Intel reports that 96% of its participants said the UK Corporate Games boosted their morale. The fact that teams come back every year shows the event ticks the box marked motivation. “Many companies return with bigger teams as more employees want to get involved when they see what they can get out of it,” says Dobson.
According to Intelligent Sport, which organises the UK Challenge, 99% of participants at the 2012 event said they believed taking part improved their performance back in the workplace. The 54-hour Challenge, held in June in Dartmoor this year, tests teams’ strategic thinking, as well as their mental and physical strengths under time pressure.
The benefits of participating read like a Human Resources department’s ‘to-do’ list: individual skills development, job satisfaction, empowerment, retention and innovative thinking.
The feelgood factor that events like these generate can cascade across an organisation, especially when the build up, participation and positive feedback feature in internal communications. “Many companies actively promote and cover the Games in their newsletters and magazines. This is another important way of using the event to build and maintain motivation in the workplace,” says Dobson.
Tips for setting up a winning company team and getting it noticed:
• Nominate a team leader to co-ordinate recruitment, preparation and publicity. They need to be single-minded, wildly optimistic and a totally ruthless taskmaster
• Encourage buy-in from senior executives, preferably if they ‘walk the walk’ and actually join the team
• Sell the idea to colleagues by emphasising the health and personal development benefits as well as the networking opportunities
• Start a Facebook page and Twitter account to keep everyone in the know and involved
• Think about fundraising to invest in the all-important kit in corporate colours so you look the part
• Talk about what you are doing – constantly. Make sure your employee magazine gives you plenty of coverage. This story has everything editors love: people, passion, drama, excitement, team spirit and fun.