Subsidising race fees as an employee benefit

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Based in Boise, Idaho, Kount produces solutions for fraud and risk management, helping to reduce fraud losses for online merchants and payments processors. Kount has a commitment to the organisation's core values of innovation, agility, customer success, future focus and teamwork.

One of the main reasons people choose to live in Boise is to take advantage of all the activities available in the surrounding area. Running, biking, boating and a host of other outdoor activities are all part of the Boise lifestyle and are embraced by Kount’s employees. Many employees are avid bikers and runners who participate in a variety of races for both personal satisfaction and charitable causes.

This led the senior management to create a benefit of paying for employees’ race entry fees.

“We knew of employees who were training on their lunch hour or biking after hours, and it seemed perfect to encourage this type of team building activity and overall wellness while supporting races that benefit non-profit causes,” says Kate Lenz, Vice President Human Resources. at Kount.

This was another way to encourage more employees to get and stay active, set goals and work toward them.

“Since we already provide reimbursements for gym memberships and sponsor a company softball and soccer team, this was another way to encourage more employees to get and stay active, set goals and work toward them.”

The inspiration for the initiative came from an employee who took part in several local races. The employee was asked to champion the program and subsequently picked five events that he personally knew were well organised and accessible for many ability levels. Kount then advertised the events to all employees and encouraged them to sign up. Kount also paid the entrance fees.

“Feedback for the program has been fantastic,” according to Lenz. “Employees love the support and it has built an additional level of team interaction within the office.”

Since the program was introduced Kount has had employees suggesting other races that they are interested in and have since added them to the schedule.

“Employees bring us the races they are interested in whether for personal goals or to support a cause they believe in. We’ve supported races for causes such as breast cancer, leukaemia and low-income medical clinics among others,” says Lenz.

Forming part of Kount's health and wellness benefits

Given the enthusiasm and the overwhelming support for the program, Kount has continued to support the program as part of its health and wellness benefits. Kount will be introducing branded running jerseys and T-shirts for bike and running races respectively.

Kount will also be introducing a “couch to 5k” training programme to help employees that aren’t runners, or who just want to get into shape, or train with other employees. These training sessions take place at lunch and outside work times during the working week to fit around employee timetables.

Kount will also be introducing a “couch to 5k” training programme to help employees that aren’t runners.

Would Kount recommend this type of program to other company’s looking to increase staff morale?

“Absolutely,” says Lenz. "The cost is really minimal and the benefits are very visible. Even those employees who don’t participate like knowing that they could if they wanted. The camaraderie that comes from training together, participating together and having a “non-work” related experience together really builds a sense of team, and I would even say a sense of family, in the office.”

As far as implementing programs like this, Lenz tells other companies to go for it,

“Find employees who are passionate about races, cycling, or other sporting events like these and let them run the program – they are natural leaders and it feeds their passion. Encouraging employees to train and compete together as a team creates a real sense of comradery and helps to keep staff healthy, all while encouraging participation in worthwhile events.”

About Don Bush

Don Bush, Kount

Don has worked in several management roles within the technology segment for over 20 years with both hardware/software manufacturers and as a partner in two top technology marketing agencies

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