AT&T has more than 243,000 employees, located throughout the world in the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. AT&T’s employees represent a wide range of demographic diversity and work in a variety of different environments across office settings, retail stores, call centers and external installation and maintenance worksites. As one of the largest providers of healthcare in the private sector, AT&T is committed to helping its employees stay healthy by providing access to healthcare coverage for more than 1 million employees, retirees and dependents. AT&T realizes that employees need more than coverage to be healthy—they need information, empowerment and support.
About the Chairman’s Challenge
In 2011, AT&T launched a comprehensive workplace wellness program called Your Health Matters (YHM). YHM provides a comprehensive suite of resources and tools for employees. After conducting a series of focus groups and quarterly surveys, AT&T identified that employees wanted an extra boost of support and inspiration from the company. Realizing that there is no better way to demonstrate employer support than to start with company leaders, the Chairman’s Challenge was created.
Launched in the fall of 2012 by the Chairman himself from AT&T’s global headquarters, the Challenge was open to approximately 100,000 employees.
The Challenge invited employees to set their own health goals, and track their progress against those goals over a six-month period. The Challenge included monthly check-ins, where employees were able to share information about progress made in their wellness journey. This was done via a confidential microsite that was managed by a third party. Throughout the competition, YHM offered tools and resources to help employees pursue their Chairman’s Challenge wellness goals, and encouraged peer-to-peer support. AT&T’s grassroots employee “Champions” played a key role in sharing resources with other employees and supporting colleagues across departments as they worked to make healthier choices in their daily lives.
Realizing Impact, Recognizing Success
The Challenge engaged thousands of employees over the course of six months to take control of their health and wellness. Employees were left with the understanding that AT&T values its employees and is willing to invest in them because of a true concern for their health, welfare and personal success. There was also a strong sense of accomplishment among employees for the outcomes achieved in the Challenge.
Employees reported increased levels of physical activity, improved energy levels and better nutrition habits following the onset of the Challenge.
At the end of the six-month time period, finalists were selected by a leadership committee, and employees voted for five winners of the Challenge, one from each of the five main business unit groups at AT&T. The winners were announced during a live all-employee webcast hosted by the Chairman. Each winner received a $1,000 cash prize and a $5,000 donation to a charity of his/her choice, followed by additional individual recognition including supplementary video spotlights and multiple internal publication features. The following videos can be viewed on the AHA Workplace Health Playbook site at heart.org/playbook.
Joe began his Chairman’s Challenge journey just four months after losing his son to a battle with brain cancer. Fueled by the memory of his son’s courage, Joe made his own health a priority.
Quiency initiated the Chairman’s Challenge with a pledge to achieve a healthy weight. By the time he was announced as a winner, Quiency had dropped a total of 165.5 pounds, and integrated physical activity into his daily routine.
Susan had attempted to quit her pack-a-day cigarette addiction in the past, but the Chairman’s Challenge gave her the push to make it permanent.
Looking Forward: Chairman’s Challenge II
The Chairman has recently convened his second challenge, Chairman’s Challenge II, which is spanning much of 2015. Taking things a step further than before, the following components were added to the second Challenge:
- Additional employee populations are now included, such as non-management employees—with an international adaptation as well.
- Participants now have the ability to compete as teams.
- Participants have the option to track their progress (miles run, steps taken, hours slept, etc.), through a mobile-enabled tracking platform as they work to reach their goals. Participants also have the option to keep their journey private, or share their progress with their colleagues to garner support throughout the Challenge.
- Conveniently, participants can give an update on their journey via a series of questions within the tracking platform each month. The information provided in these check-ins will be used to help determine the finalists. After that, employees will again vote to determine the winners.
- Giving back to its communities is a responsibility AT&T doesn’t take lightly. That is why AT&T decided to up the number of winners—and donation amounts—to offer the greatest possible impact to its communities.
- Winning individuals will receive a $5,000 donation to a charity of his/her choice.
- Winning teams will receive a $10,000 donation to a charity of their choice.
- All employees who complete the required check-ins will be considered Challenge finishers and will receive special recognition for their accomplishments.