When taking pretty much any position within the various departments of club and resort operations, one given is that it probably won’t be a desk job—you’ll not only be on your feet a lot, but can also count on covering a lot of ground while performing your duties on the property.
But management at Congressional Country Club (CCC), Bethesda, Md., still felt that, to show its sincerity about promoting employee wellness, it needed to find a way to encourage its employees to try to walk even more while at work. Thus was born “Get to Steppin’,” a five-month challenge that was issued to all employees who were willing to sign on to commit to walking a total of 10,000 steps a day (roughly five miles), in return for the opportunity to earn a big-screen TV or cash prizes.
Over 100 employees “stepped up” to the challenge and were issued pedometers and monthly calendars, so they could start tracking their travels while on the club property. They also pledged to follow the rules of an Honor System/Code of Conduct established for the competition, and received special instruction from Congressional’s HR department on how to begin a fitness walking program, including tips for walking faster and for how to correctly perform warm-ups and stretches.
THE GOAL:Encourage employee wellness at Congressional Country Club through a “Get to Steppin’” walking competition.THE PLAN:Offer prizes for employees who log the most steps over a five-month period; issue pedometers and monthly tracking calendars and establish rules through an Honor System/Code of Conduct.
THE PAYOFF: Winning walkers, from a field of over 100 competitors, logged over 300 miles. Many contestants maintained or lost significant weight, and have continued with a walking program after the contest ended.
Every month, participants were required to turn in their tracking calendars with their total steps, as logged each day on their pedometers. Contestants within some departments even formed walking groups for support, and it wasn’t uncommon to see many participants using their lunch breaks to get in some extra steps.
“Get to Steppin’ created excitement about getting moving to get fit,” reports Dean Davidson, Congressional’s Chief Financial Officer. “It also spurred a few side challenges, to make things a little more interesting!”
Many of the participants, Davidson adds, were also surprised to learn just how walking more could result in weight loss and feeling better—which, of course, was the real intent of the competition all along.
When the results were tallied up so the top three prizes (42-inch color flat-screen for 1st, $300 for 2nd, $150 for 3rd) could be awarded, the true value and success of the program could clearly be seen. In 160 days, all three prize winners had each logged well over 3 million steps—or over 300 miles! In the process, they—as well as many other participants (see results table, above)—either maintained or lost significant weight.
“There are quite a few employees that have continued their walking programs and are still winning!” Davidson notes. “Walking has become part of the club’s ongoing preventative health program.”