ConvaTec utilises employee champions to engage remote staff with health and wellbeing


International medical products and technology organisation ConvaTec ran a steps challenge to launch a new health and wellbeing champions programme in 2015.

The champions programme, delivered in conjunction with Vitality, aimed to engage ConvaTec’s 958 UK-based employees, and in particular its 150 road-based sales representatives, with the health and wellbeing benefits available to them. Lisa Oldfield, compensation and benefits manager UK at ConvaTec, says: “We used some representatives from the sales force. I wanted that group because they are remote, they don’t pass the posters on the wall. They pick up their emails sporadically in the evening. We used the champions within the sales force to push the message out there, so when they’re going to their group meetings, they could talk about […] all the different benefits.”

To mark the introduction of the champions programme, ConvaTec held a steps challenge, which took place between September and December 2015. The challenge, which was promoted via email, required the organisation’s champions to recruit groups of four or five employees per team who would compete against each other to see which team could complete the most steps over the three-months. Around 10 teams competed in the challenge, which included remote employees.

The steps were measured using either an activity tracker or a free mobile app, which allowed all employees to take part regardless of location or budget. Monthly catch-up meetings that showcased ongoing leader board results were used to further motivate staff, with employees attending either in person or by dialling-in if they worked remotely. Remote employees also used WhatsApp groups to motivate colleagues to do more steps, adds Oldfield.

At the end of the three-months, the overall winning team, most improved team, and the individual who did the most steps overall, all received health-related prizes, such as retail vouchers or a Fitbit, which were presented during a ceremony.

“We were very conscious of […] the sales force because they are sitting in their cars all day,” says Oldfield. “They’re not out and about like [staff] on the factory floor. Employees on the factory floor might clock up 7,000 steps quite easily in a day, whereas when you’re sat in a car, it’s not very easy to do.

“[The challenge] was all about exchanging and working together. We don’t want to keep [the sales representatives] separate. We wanted to bring them into the fold and have everybody working together.”

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ConvaTec currently has two champions in place, one of whom works remotely. Working with this remote champion, the organisation is keen to develop further initiatives to support the specific needs of remote staff, for example around healthy eating and mental wellbeing.