First-ever nationwide fitness challenge for Sprint employees draws big numbers in the name of becoming healthier
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), June 01, 2011 - In an effort to help its employees understand the importance of their personal health and wellness, Sprint (NYSE: S) launched its first-ever nationwide employee fitness challenge, the Sprint Get Fit Challenge, in early May. The response from employees has been overwhelming with more than 14,000 employees (representing over 35 percent of Sprint’s employee base) registering to participate in a friendly challenge among co-workers.
Sprint places an emphasis on employee health and wellness throughout the year, which benefits both employees and the company. The personal benefits for employees are evident with healthier minds and bodies and 24/7 access to free wellness resources. In addition, employees who work to improve their health often have lower absentee rates and are happier, which leads to increased productivity and commitment.
Through a partnership with OptumHealth, Sprint provides programs and practices that focus on health improvement for employees and dependents. From the monthly health and wellness communications to the design of Sprint’s Overland Park, Kan., headquarters campus to on-site wellness services offered at some office locations, Sprint helps employees and their dependents improve their well-being.
For the Sprint Get Fit Challenge, Sprint and OptumHealth have partnered with ShapeUp, the leading technology provider in the social networking for wellness space. The Sprint Get Fit Challenge encourages Sprint employees to join teams of up to 11 members. Each team member can compete in one, two or all three of the Sprint Get Fit Challenge competition categories:
- Exercise minutes: Any moderate to intense physical activity that increases the employee’s heart rate counts
- Weight loss: Opposing teams only see the average percent of weight change for the entire team (not any individual employee’s actual weight)
- Walking/running steps: Tracked with a free pedometer that employees received just for signing up
The competition is broken into 12 weekly rounds throughout May, June and July. Any team with at least five members competing in a given competition category receives a ranked standing in that round. Throughout the competition, employees who continue to stick with it and log their results will automatically receive cash-equivalent rewards and be entered into drawings for even more prizes. This is consistent with Sprint’s cultural philosophy of partnering with employees to take ownership of their own wellness, which ultimately can bring both the company and the employees significant long-term cost savings when it comes to health care.
According to ShapeUp’s published research, weight loss and exercise achieved during a wellness competition spread from one team member to another, improving the outcomes of the entire team. During the challenge, Sprint anticipates that employees collectively could walk as many as four billion steps, exercise 20 million minutes and lose 40 thousand pounds. In the first three weeks, the teams are well on their way. So far, employees have logged nearly 1.3 billion steps which is equivalent to almost 26 times around the earth!
“The Sprint Get Fit Challenge has provided our team with a support system where we encourage one another to exercise and get our steps in for the day,” says Scott Mahlan, Sprint employee and captain of the team that is currently in first place for most steps per person. “Because of the challenge, our team is more aware of the number of steps we take in a day. We find ourselves getting out of our offices more to walk over and talk with someone versus making a phone call, and when possible, we conduct meetings while walking around the campus.” Scott’s team even held their own 24-hour walk-a-thon where team members took turns walking over a 24 hour period, all with the goal of having fun, walking more steps and becoming healthier.
As a testament to its commitment to employee wellness, Sprint was among 48 U.S. employers that received the 2011 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles award at the Leadership Summit sponsored by the National Business Group on Health’s Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-being. Sprint received a gold award for its commitment and dedication to promoting a healthy workplace and encouraging its workers and their families to support and maintain healthy lifestyles. This marks the fourth straight year Sprint has received a gold award.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 51 million customers at the end of 1Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
Jennifer Schuler, 913-315-3324