This post was written by Saamir Gupta.
The topmost concern of multinational consulting organizations these days is keeping the employees happy. How to keep a track of employee engagement when teams are spread across the world? How to make sure that employees know other team mates when they are constantly traveling for work or are on another project site? How to root in the sense of work life balance and healthy living with crazy 12-14 hours of work every day?
We designed Fit Team Challenge to attempt an answer to all these questions. We invited participations from a global team of about 150 consulting professionals – part of the same company. These professionals were spread across the world, from remotest towns of south India to biggest metropolitan cities (New York, Sydney) – pretty much across all time zones.
The goal of the competition, besides the coveted title of the fittest team, was for everyone to get into the lifestyle of fitness.
Teams (We love working in teams and what comes with it – the pat on the back or kick in the pants)
We invited participation in teams of 5, participants could team up with the people from same office location, from the same project. Location was not be a constraint. Participants who did not have full 5 member teams, were invited solo and we teamed them up with other such participants to form the complete teams.
Workouts (Quick, fun and rewarding – scalable to your abilities)
2 workouts were released every week along with the scoring criterion
Each workout included basic, elementary moves suitable for ALL fitness levels and can be scaled down / up if needed; Each workout under 30 minutes of time
Workouts did not require access to the gym / complicated equipment – participants could do it wherever, whenever within the specified timelines
Each work out was to be done by every team member
Scoring (As consultants we can’t live without a bit of complex math and overwhelming Strategy HINT: strategizing with the team will play a big role!!!)
For each workout, the team was given three ranks as per their three scores: team lowest score – score of the lowest scorer in the team, team highest score – score of the highest scorer in the team and team average score – average of the team scores
Final rank was calculated via 50% weightage of rank from average score and 25% weightage each from highest and lowest score
Teams were also be ranked based on total age (team with maximum age got most points), weight (team with maximum weight got most points), diversity (gender, career levels and locations) and the maximum number of pic/video submissions on FITology while doing workouts each week
The final ranking was based on a total of 12 ranks (8 for workouts and 4 for Team composition and collaboration)
The workouts were self-regulated and self-scored
Redemption (the fun just doesn’t end here)
For every week, the lowest scorers in each team was given a chance of redemption: a bonus workout. To give a chance for the lowest scorer to redeem himself/herself, the team needed to finish workouts and submit scores earlier than deadline (details mentioned below). The bonus workout was then revealed to the lowest scorer
Once successfully completed, the lowest score was interchanged by the team average score and scoring was done accordingly
Timelines (We always work towards deadlines, why not workout)
The competition was run for 4 weeks
Weekly timelines during the competition (IST = +5:30 GMT) were set and shared with participants
All communications on Internal Employee Communication Platform – ‘Circles’
To our surprise, a lot many people opted for it. We got 60 participants in 12 teams from around the world with age group ranging between 25 – 50 years and weight ranging between 47 kilograms – 115 kilograms.
We gave them quick and easy (Scalable) workouts every week with links to each exercise, scoring criterion and some fun healthy tips as well.
Sample Workout Details
As many repetitions as possible in 10 minutes
Your score is the total number of repetitions in 10 minutes. Rest times are included in 10 minutes. You cannot change the sequence of the movements in the workout. (1 round = 18 repetitions)
This is a time priority workout. You need to push yourself for 10 minutes to get the best score. Pace yourself to last for 10 minutes and not exhaust before 10 minutes.
Saamir – 252
The scaled down version of certain movements have been prescribed as a measure to maximize relative intensity despite limitations. The goal is to keep the same stimuli as the original movement and progressively develop the ability to perform the actual movement.
The scaled down versions of movements should be used not as a medium to enhance your score but should be adopted only in case of limitations like an injury, strength or flexibility/range of motion issues. Each individual, if using any scaled down version, will have to mention it along with the score. There will not be any penalty for using scaled down version but would be leveraged for tie-breaks.
Weekly Fitness and Nutrition Tips
It was great to see active participants pushing everyone in their respective teams to strive for better scores. In spite of hectic work schedules, participants wanted to take time out for this activity and we could sense they thoroughly enjoyed the ‘Eustress’.
By the end of the competition, we realized that we were not only inculcating team spirit and healthy habits in the employees but we were also uncovering some interesting analogies from the results
Dedication and persistence lead you to success than mere credentials: The team which started from the bottom ended at the top and the team which started from the top ended bottom. Team with Individual Star Performers could not lead the team to victory because of absence of support from other team members
Managers were the most exploited (career level): Participation from Managers has been lowest as compared to Analysts, Consultants, Senior Managers and Managing Directors. 3 out of 4 teams led by Senior Managers end in bottom 5, No Managers led any of the teams. Consultants were the most successful team leads!
Location does not really hamper your fitness schedule: Adherence to the schedule was same for people traveling or stationed at a location. LatAm Node team topped the chart followed by Middle East Node team and Warsaw Node teams
We applied the three concepts of self-determination theory –
Relatedness – teams were fighting for the title of ‘Fittest Team’. Constant leadership messaging to initiate and drive the competition helped to draw eyeballs to the game
Autonomy – we gave people the autonomy to become participants, autonomy to do the workouts wherever, whenever
Competence – the workouts could be scaled as per the physical abilities of the participants. Everyone could have a valid score at the end of the week
The best part of the fitness competition is that no one needs to tell you how well you performed, you feel it within! It is always about pushing yourself beyond the limits and discovering the better, more competitive and a happier you.
This post was written by Saamir Gupta.