ELEKS Run&Cycling Challenge – we turn daily sports activity of our specialists into charitable funds for children’s hospitals.
The period of 2020-2021 has become a challenge for all companies, and ELEKS is no exception. We actively sought for solutions to business problems, reorganized processes to switch to remote work, thought over the ways of attracting new customers. There was also a great responsibility for the nearly 2,000 ELEKSers, as they were left in uncertainty, all alone, worried about the health of their relatives, fearing of contracting the virus, and with no chances to provide financial and psychological security for their own families.
According to the results of a company survey with more than 750 respondents in April 2020, we realized that our colleagues are concerned about low levels of physical activity, loss of meaningfulness and a sense of isolation. We also found out that the rate of experiencing companies’ care about their staff well-being among the ELEKSers was lower than the average in the IT industry. Of course, at that time the company had many programs to support a healthy lifestyle – health insurance for employees and families, team sports rewards, participation in tournaments and more.
Gyms were closed during quarantine, so the ELEKS employees that enjoyed sports sent their offers to hold a company-wide marathon. We were not able to arrange mass events due to general quarantine restrictions, and therefore had to postpone this idea for better times. And in general, in the new COVID realities, the concept of well-being has acquired a new meaning, and we realized that it is time to look for a different approach to it. To promote, expand and complement.
Therefore, we applied a creative approach to solve this issue and arrange a challenge that would be safe, charitable and meet the needs of our colleagues. We believe that health is not only the absence of disease, but is rather a state of total physical, social and spiritual well-being.
This is how we created our Run&Cycling Challenge, where in the form of a game we managed to combine our colleagues’ love for sport and charity activities. We decided to transform the daily activity of our specialists into charitable donations. Kilometres = funds: running – UAH 30/5 km, cycling – UAH 10/5 km.
We liked this idea because it captured our corporate culture, was well-timed and initiated by our colleagues. Everyone had their hearts set upon the project implementation. Knowing that the implementation of the initiative would be impossible without the leader, we chose Liudmyla Moroz, a coordinator of ELEKS sports programs, for this position. She knows the sports preferences of our colleagues as good as anybody.
The most difficult step in the beginning was to choose the platforms where it would be convenient to count the kilometres and raise funds, so that each participant in the challenge could view the results. It is important for us that everything is simple and transparent.
We asked our runners where they track their kilometres and decided to create an exclusive membership club in Strava, which those wishing to participate in the challenge could join. On this platform the participants can record the kilometres they’ve run or ridden. Since Strava could not provide all the features, we have also created an separated file to keep track of the data for the entire period of the challenge, so that every participant of the ELEKS project could check the progress of the initiative and their mileage.
We also had our project treasury opened at dobro.ua charity platform to purchase a children’s flexible nasopharyngolaryngoscope and a set of tools for laryngeal microsurgery for the Lviv Regional Children’s Clinical Hospital “Okhmatdyt”. Every year, more than 15,000 children get medical advice and care in this hospital.
The idea to allocate funds to purchase the medical equipment was suggested by our colleague Oksana Ivanchenko, Requirement Analyst, who became an active participant of the 30 Good Deeds by ELEKS initiative, a part of which is our Run&Cycling Challenge.
On May 24, we launched the challenge! Our professionals recorded the data about their sports achievements using the application on a weekly basis, and we converted kilometres into hryvnias every month and transferred the funds to dobro.ua platform. During the first month, more than 100 ELEKS employees joined the project and we raised almost UAH 150,000. To celebrate the success of the first month, we presented each participant with sports T-shirts and a postcard saying “You make this world better.” It is worth noting that with each passing month, an average of 10 people joined the challenge and we added more than UAH 25,000 to the treasury monthly. As of November 2021, we have raised the required amount to purchase the equipment, but the challenge goes on and we are currently thinking over the next goal!
We accomplished the goal of our charitable Challenge – we raised UAH 325,508.00 for the equipment and tools for the hospital, which are already being produced in France by to our order. With the nasopharyngolaryngoscope the most advanced diagnostics of nose, throat and larynx disorders can be performed to children (even babies). The set of tools for laryngeal microsurgery will expand the surgical capabilities of “Okhmatdyt” doctors and they will be able to provide qualified and advanced care to the patients with expanded range of laryngeal pathology and a wide geography – Lviv, Kyiv, Khmelnytskyi, Ternopil, Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kherson, Rivne. The doctors now use custom tools and equipment that extend the time of surgery and pose a risk to young patients.
We are very much looking forward to the moment when we are able to transfer the device and tools to the hospital, so that more young Ukrainians can breathe and speak freely, and surgeries are faster and more successful. The doctors will be more comfortable doing their work, and parents of the patients will spend less time in painful expectations for the surgery outcome.
We are also proud that more than 155 participants joined the project, which is almost 8% of the whole company staff. In total, the participants of the challenge ran 15,288 km and cycled 44,451 km. From May to November, there were 11 hours and 30 minutes of cycling and 8 hours and 20 minutes of running registered per one participant.
Dmytro Danko ran the most – 1,344 km, which is more than the distance connecting the extreme eastern and western points of the territory of Ukraine (the largest country in Europe). He added UAH 8,064 to the project treasury. Serhii Vybach became the top cyclist, who had covered 7,297 km (replenished our treasury by UAH 26,786), which is almost 300 km longer than the entire land border of Ukraine (6,992 km) and longer than the longest river in the world – the Amazon (6,762 km).
Below are comments by Serhii Vybach, a senior specialist in software development in ELEKS, on his achievements in the challenge:
“It’s a pity there are only 24 hours in a day, and I can only allocate 2 hours for sports. However, working and training is twice as enjoyable when you do a good deed. Almost after every training session I visited our club at Strava and checked the rating. I was interested in the progress of my “competitors” in the good deeds project and understood how much I had to cycle that week to be on top of the ranking of the challenge. It was also a nice surprise for me to see my name on Challenge’s list of winners, especially with such a large charitable contribution. I hope that my example has inspired and motivated my colleagues, because together we can do much more good.”
We are convinced that participation in the challenge has united our great team around a meaningful goal, helped to improve team cohesion in difficult times and to restore lost meaningfulness. The competitive nature of the challenge increased motivation, brought a sense of perseverance and positive excitement, added self-confidence and self-worth, and of course it gave more reasons to celebrate small victories. And these are the integral components of mental health care!
Subsequently, the positive impact of the challenge was confirmed in a new survey: the index reflecting ELEKS employees’ feeling that they can live a healthy lifestyle in the company went up by 8 points and the index reflecting their feeling that the company cared about their well-being raised by 3 points.
Colleagues also told us that their friends from other companies who are interested in running and cycling would also love to join the Challenge and that this is a great initiative. We were pleased to receive the feedback from the point of view of the company’s HR brand.
In this format, ELEKS Run&Cycling Challenge makes its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goal No.3: Good health in the context of maintaining employee health, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and providing the younger generation with the right to advanced health care using modern equipment.
The challenge became a unique precedent to improve team cohesion and maintain the health of the ELEKS team. We have not closed our treasury, and the project participants continue to run and cycle for charity. Next year, we plan to expand the list of possible activities within the challenge by adding swimming, and to transform the ELEKS Run&Cycling Challenge into the ELEKS Triathlon. So, there’s more to come!
- Photo: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F2-HrP7wAUDKDCn6YQ6zXCxbV6_Z_qw5?usp=sharing
- Video: we will prepare it by December 3, will be downloaded here – https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1gd9AMYjOQTPT06Xt5FI2UndQ0leJuRoh?usp=sharing
- Link to our club in the «Strava» app: https://www.strava.com/clubs/939110/leaderboard
- Link to our treasury at the dobro.ua platform: https://dobro.ua/reserve_fund/peretvoriuiemo_zaniattia_sportom_na_blagodiinist