GCC gets us up, out and active

Paul Mayne // Western News

Robarts Research Institute staff member Elisha Lucas laces up to get in a little power walk in preparation for Western’s involvement in the annual Global Corporate Challenge, which launches May 25 with an event at the Great Hall from 10 a.m. to noon.

It’s time once again to lace up those running shoes, stretch those calf muscles and get active as Western is stepping into the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) mindset for the third year – this time opening up participation to the entire campus community.

The GCC makes living a healthy and active life easy and fun to do by taking teams a 100-day virtual journey around the world. Last year, more than 1,000 organizations (including more than 50 other educational institutions) and 370,000 participants from 185 countries around the world came together to get up, get out and get active.

And while the biggest prize is feeling better, emphasized Louise Koza, Director Human Resources (Total Compensation – Pension and Benefits), Western may soon see financial benefits from this global encounter.

“Western spends $110 million a year to support our benefits programs for employees,” said Koza, with treatments for hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, arthritis, anxiety and depression topping the list. “What I use to negotiate with our carriers each year are services and premiums to support those who aren’t doing well. It’s costly to manage that. And to the extent that we could put proactive services in place, such as the global challenge, is a good thing.”

For the first 200 teams to register for this year’s challenge, the cost of the program, ($700 per team) is split between HR and the individual department or faculty; there is no cost for employees to participate. While there is an initial upfront financial investment, Koza said so too is the potential return down the road.

Human Resources administrative co-ordinator Claudia Mendez Enciso, who heads the university’s GCC program, said teams can register on the HR homepage, uwo.ca/hr, prior to the May 25 launch.

“When you’re part of a team you don’t want to let your team down. But we’re also promoting a lot of individual programs this year, so people don’t feel like they’re being forced to do too many things,” she said, adding Western put together 82 teams last year. “It’s been proven people who exercise can focus better at work – so overall it’s a complete wellness thing.”

Koza agreed, noting people can make use of the team concept or just challenge themselves. On the team angle, she said the only limitation is creativity. She recalled last year when an HR team challenged each other to take a selfie at Windermere Manor, Brescia University College, TD Stadium and the Richmond Gates – all over one lunch hour.

“These people were out there running to each place,” laughed Koza, who also collects data from participants as a way to measure stress levels, sleep patterns, productivity and overall well-being.

“What we could see was a real movement in the needle over the 100 days. We could anecdotally see teams having fun, through their comments,” she said. “It will take a while, but it is a way of changing our culture, and we have the perfect place to do it in. Western is a beautiful campus to get out and explore.”

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FYI ON GCC. How does it work?

The annual Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) is about finding fun and creative ways to add steps and activities into your day. When you join, you receive a GCC Pulse to track your progress, with the steps you rack up counting toward your team’s virtual journey around the world. And it’s easy to get involved.

  • Put together a team of seven Western colleagues and appoint a captain;
  • The captain registers the team at the Human Resources website, uwo.ca/hr. They will receive a message their registration has been accepted, pending approval of department/faculty manager;
  • Team members are then invited to activate their online profile. A GCC Pulse activity tracker, for each team member, should arrive within seven business days; and
  • The worldwide journey begins May 25. Human Resources is hosting a launch party from 10 a.m. to noon May 25 in the Great Hall, where you can pick up some snacks and other cool stuff to help you and your team be successful.