A family firm has come up with a way to help companies motivate staff – by training them for their own triathlon. You Can Sport encourages business leaders to ‘swap mundane corporate days and traditional team-building activities for multisport events to improve employees’ health, team spirit and productivity.’
The Stirling-based company, run by the Coull family, recently worked with leading salmon producer Scottish Sea Farms to deliver an in-house Triathlon Festival. The event saw more than 100 employees, their families and suppliers swim, bike and run at the University of Stirling. Staff spent six months training with You Can Sport coach Craig Coull before participating in the triathlon, ‘which tested mental strength and physical ability and led to benefits for staff and bosses.’
Scottish Sea Farms’ Export Commercial Manager Celine Kimpflin said “We have a good record for motivated and passionate people, but this event really pushed that forward and the sense of accomplishment from people who thought they could never do anything like this was fantastic.
“We had all shapes and sizes involved, from people who were already fit to people who hadn’t even walked 5K and didn’t know about triathlon. Training together brought everyone to the same level – barriers were broken and instead of going to the pub after work we were training for a triathlon.”
The triathlon, which was attended by Olympic swimmer Michael Jamieson, raised £35,000 for charity and is now set to become an annual event.
Georgie Mackenzie, who works in sales for Scottish Sea Farms, said “Taking part in the triathlon led to a real sense of employee engagement; and you would end up talking to people you’d never normally meet. It was a catalyst for people to get fit and many have carried on with their training.
“It was a fun and worthwhile day and the support from You Can Sport was amazing.”
Graham Coull, an experienced triathlete, set up You Can Sport with his wife Gillian, sons Gregg and Craig and daughter Michelle. They offer a range of coaching programmes, and focus on encouraging people of all abilities to participate in sport and achieve a happier, healthier lifestyle.
The firm is also targeting the corporate market after recognising the benefit sport can bring to businesses and entrepreneurs.
Graham Coull said “Organising a multisport event has much more to offer than hosting corporate days, which can be boring – plus this kind of initiative develops over six months and genuinely changes lives. We had lots people who lost weight, and eight stopped smoking while training for the triathlon – it was something which naturally happened.
“Health and wellbeing improved and we saw how camaraderie and team spirit developed when people came together for a common purpose.”
Graham sees the disciplines of triathlon as ideal for a business event. He continued: “The key thing is participation in triathlon is perfect because everyone can do something. Most people can either run, cycle or swim so if they don’t want to compete individually they can be part of a relay team.”
The You Can Sport initiative has won praise from governing body Triathlon Scotland. A Triathlon Scotland spokeswoman said “Triathlon is a fantastic sport offering a host of opportunities for employers to utilise to improve the health and wellbeing of staff. The challenge of completing a triathlon event coupled with the variety of training for three sports is a great motivator and keeps interest.
“Add to this the opportunity for staff to volunteer their skills or raise money for a cause, and triathlon brings teams together in a great way.”