With one successful year under our belt, C.M. Smith’s employee Wellness and Engagement Committee is always trying to encourage more staff members to participate in our monthly events. Not surprisingly, that’s been easier said than done.

When the committee launched its first walking challenge in May 2015, employee response was underwhelming. As we prepared to kick off the program again last month, we knew we needed to get more people excited about it. We did something right, because we ended up with nearly 100% participation and a collective total of 7,683,011 steps!


How did we succeed this time? We considered our audience. We know our employees are busy juggling frantic work schedules and personal commitments. So instead of creating a walking challenge that many considered too time consuming, we re-branded the competition as a 30-Day Step Challenge.

In fact, commitment from each participant was minimal. All employees had to do was clip on a C.M. Smith-provided pedometer and report their weekly step count to their team captain. A prize of $125 to Fleet Feet – a local athletic footwear retailer – for each member of the winning team helped motivate people, too.

“We really tried to consider what kind of activity would excite employees and foster a little friendly competition,” said Brigid Gunn, C.M. Smith’s Director of HR and Wellness Champion. “Everyone still went about their daily routine, but now may be more mindful of taking the stairs or parking a little farther away.”

Step Challenge Participants

Team Walk Winners

Step Challenge Champions

The winning team – Mike Martin, Andy Hintz, and John O’Connell – recorded more than 910,000 steps during the four week period. All employees completed the challenge and received a small reward for their participation and commitment. Some even pledged to keep tracking their steps.“In addition to being a fun team activity, the step challenge really made me realize how much I move – or don’t move – each day,” said C.M. Smith Vice President Susan Boucher. “A few little changes can make a big impact. The contest was a remarkable achievement for everyone who participated, as well as for the Wellness Committee. I’m already looking forward to next year’s contest.”