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SGS Ghana employs around 200 people in its offices and laboratories in locations across Ghana, including Accra, Tema, Obuasi, Ahafo, Tarkwa, Damang and Akyem. Ensuring the health and wellbeing of these employees forms an intrinsic part of our employer value proposition. We believe that healthy employees are more likely to perform better, feel happier and be more resilient to risks associated with illness, injury or depression. Employee health also has a direct impact on employee productivity and, consequently, improves business results.

SGS Ghana employees during health walk

The Ghana HR Team launched an initiative, the SGS Wellness Program, in 2017. This started off with programs such as in-house health screenings and staff health forums. In October 2019, the HR team coordinated the first ever health walk across all SGS branches in Ghana. To help accomplish this daunting task, a multi-departmental committee was formed and put in charge of the planning and execution of program. The committee consisted of the HR team, the Operational Integrity (OI) team and staff representatives from all business functions.

On the day of the health walk, participants from each branch attended a safety talk by OI representatives before starting off on the impressive routes, which covered an average of 4.5 km. Participants, who included SGS staff and subcontractors, and their family members, began walking simultaneously at 6:30 am.

The event ended with fun aerobics sessions and, in one location, a football match. Participants were given awards for teamwork. Those participants who were judged the most fun and energetic during the walk also received awards. A healthy breakfast, which included natural fruit juices and other healthy options, capped off the exciting day.

All participants wore branded “SGS Health Walk” t-shirts, which also advertised the various business services provided by SGS Ghana. The motivational health walk lasted approximately one hour and provided an opportunity for team bonding, family interaction and, most importantly, lots of fun. It was a much needed stress buster. Employees were particularly appreciative of the involvement of the Managing Director, Kiki Gyan, and other senior managers, who were fully engaged in the day’s activities and provided leadership support for the initiative.

An online survey conducted after the maiden health walk found that employees were extremely positive about the event and its organization. Around 92% of respondents were likely or most likely to recommend the event to family members and colleagues, and 75% of respondents rated the team building aspect of the event as very good or excellent. In terms of the perceived health benefits, respondents cited improved morale, improved cardiovascular fitness and feeling less stressed, more relaxed and more energized. There was overwhelming support for repeating the health walk, with more than half of respondents indicating that they wanted it to be repeated at least four times a year.

While plans are underway to coordinate future health walks across Ghana, one laboratory team in Tarkwa is already keeping the momentum alive by organizing its own monthly team walks. Long may the enthusiasm continue!