This is our space dedicated to bringing you cutting-edge insights, observations and discoveries unearthed from GCC’s work with over 4000 of the world’s most respected companies, over 1 million employees lives, over 1 billion data points, and collaboration with some of the world’s most respected research bodies.

The Countdown is on, 6 weeks to go

posted 4/17/2014

6 week count down to GCC 2014

The launch of GCC 2014 is just six weeks away with places filling fast.

Almost 350,000 employees are counting down to the program’s launch day on May 28, and they come from some of the most successful companies in the world; PepsiCo have chosen to partner with the GCC as part of their commitment to improving the health and habits of their workforce. They’re part of an impressive roster of global brands which also includes The Wrigley Company Limited, Deloitte, Standard Life, PwC and Rolls-Royce Plc, to name but a few.

There’s still time to join these big names on the starting line and sign your organisation up to the GCC, which delivers improved health and performance of your workforce by educating, engaging and exciting them into lifelong healthy habits. Registration is simple, easy and fast, and initiating change in your organisation is as simple as setting aside one hour.

Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today; reserve your employees’ place and change their whole lives. It’s a big promise, but it’s based on an even bigger insight: empowering your workforce to take personal responsibility for their own health has a measurable impact on your bottom line.

So, there’s just six weeks left to create a true culture of health for your employees. With the world’s biggest and best organisations entrusting their most valuable asset – their human capital – to the GCC, you know you’re in good company.

GCC changes lives

By Tom Sermon, GCC CEO

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Workplace Wellness: 11 Guaranteed Ways To Fail

posted 4/15/2014

Workplace Wellness Fails

In recent years, HR departments have been expected to deliver more with less, and the design of workplace wellness programs is one of the areas where this is evident. The result is that many programs are being deployed without sufficient resource, resulting in low participation and poor results. It’s a vicious cycle: the standing of HR is potentially damaged and employees become alienated from the very resource that can improve their performance and their lives – you.

Based on ten years of observing workplace wellness around the world and being guided by some of the most respected HR Directors, VPs of Benefits, CEOs and Wellness Heads, here are the top eleven most common mistakes I see and hear.
This checklist gives you a chance to learn from the (sometimes quite expensive) mistakes that have cost others their chance to change their employees’ whole lives.

1. You don’t get something for nothing

Many organisations plan to create a wellness program without allocating a budget. If you think of workplace wellness as a way to fine tune your employees – who remember are your company’s most valuable asset – then you need to apply the same thinking that you’d apply to having your company’s machinery serviced. Firstly, you need to do it regularly (before problems arise) and, more importantly, only entrust the job to technicians with the right tools and experience.

A wellness initiative is a major undertaking and adequate funding, and the right partner, are critical to a successful program. If your wellness budget is nothing, then that’s the return you can expect to see – nothing. In fact, exposing your human capital to a poorly planned and assembled program that bores, demotivates and confuses them is the best way to ensure they drop out and become far more resistant to your future initiatives.

2. Doing wellness to your employees, not for your employees

Most wellness programs fail because the target audience has no interest in what is being offered. For a program to work it needs to use the tone and language that appeals to your most sedentary, disengaged, and distracted employee. It not only needs to include activities that are universally accessible and attractive, it must also be framed creatively in a tone that repositions bland ‘workplace wellness’ as a desirable and valuable element in employees’ lives. They should feel it was created for them, rather than feel it’s something being done to them in order to benefit the organisation.

The best way to achieve this is to unite everyone and give them a unique role in the biggest and best show your workplace has ever rolled out.

One Sz Doesn't Suit Everyone

3. Thinking that one size fits all

No two people have the same attitude, physical strength, self-discipline or motivation. And likewise, not all of your employees need the same type of help at the same time. Some may need assistance with nutrition and others with increasing their physical activity. Some might need help with engagement and others with improving the amount/quality of their sleep. Even within these elements, employees will vary in terms of their level.

A program that enables your employees to start together but then gradually operate at their own pace ensures that they build levels of self-awareness, motivation and connect themselves to the right tools, options and resources that are available as and when they need them. It also means that your wellness offering becomes a journey of personal discovery.

4. Paralysing people with too many choices

Too many options can stall your employees’ decision-making process. If there’s something wellness related starting and ending every other week, then there is a risk that your employees may become overwhelmed and not opt-in to anything. The likelihood is that they’ll just keep leaving it until ‘next week’, which inevitably never comes.

To ensure that you maximize the number of employees actively getting involved, it’s important to demonstrate a commitment to an overarching initiative. There’s nothing wrong with offerings like on-site fitness classes, annual health fairs, flu shots, in-house gyms or the occasional seminar. In fact, these are helpful in supporting your overall program, but there needs to be an overall program that drives people into these options.
A smorgasboard of offerings complement the behaviours and healthy attitudes you want to see, it rarely creates them.

5. Forgetting that what gets measured, gets managed

I often hear CEOs telling me, “We’re rolling out a wellness program because it’s the right thing to do”. If that’s what gets an organisation started, then that’s fine. The important thing is to ensure, as soon as possible, that there’s a set of numbers to clearly demonstrate that the program has credible business metrics. If it doesn’t, then the next time the company’s stock price falls/there’s a sales blip/a round of cost cutting or redundancies/enter crisis as applicable, there’s a risk that your program may well have a red line put through it.

Business doesn’t have much room or time for ‘nice-to-have’ expenses and the only way to position wellness as an investment, rather than an expense, is to show numbers that demonstrate you’re making quantifiable improvements across factors that improve performance. These may be elements like engagement, health scores, BMI, job satisfaction, weight loss or absenteeism. So the most pressing decision on your list is to identify which metrics you plan to measure and ensure these are tied to the overall business strategy. Also, it’s important to remember that these numbers need to be from your company and the program you’re investing in, not a dusty, generic study with dubious claims about $6:1 ROI.

GCC Insightful Blog

6. Not shooting for the stars

You infinitely improve your odds of creating a sustainable wellness program if you can gather buy-in from senior management. In my experience, HR professionals often overlook the fact that CEOs and boards are willing to grant them budget for a wellness initiative that works.

"The people sitting in the big leather chairs at the boardroom table understand the importance of walking the talk – and doing it in front of an audience."

They see wellness as a demonstrable way to show employees that the organisation cares and has a genuine interest in their health, happiness and well-being. If you look at the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and world leaders these days, the vast majority of them are fit, healthy and active; they have to be in order to perform at the top of their game, and to balance the pressure and demands of their careers, travel commitments, and their health.

When you present to the people at the top, you’re generally preaching to the converted. An additional benefit of embracing those at the top of the ladder and having them actively participate is that wellness programs are a great leveller and it’s likely that the right program will help connect them socially to every kind of employee.

7. Forgetting your core target: high-risk employees

Anybody who can carry around a clipboard can sign up a healthy, engaged, active employee to a wellness initiative then, at the end, reinforce how healthy they are. One of the reasons the CFO’s office red flags wellness initiatives is because many of the numbers published by wellness industry vendors seem to only include the ‘already healthy’ and the ‘worried well’ and leave out the high-risk employees with poor health scores.

In order to overcome this, it’s critical that your program is designed to attract and engage all of your employees, and is especially concerned with those that are most resistant. This takes some effort, patience, understanding and creativity, but the pay-off is significant because the high risk employees with low health scores are the ones with the greatest scope to improve and are the most expensive, so the return can be spectacular. It’s worth remembering that these same people are likely to be the most removed from you; while you may be using the latest gadgets and fitness apps to download how many calories you burned off yesterday and record your sleep quality, your high-risk employees aren’t.

8. Making the healthy option difficult

Healthy choices need to be easy choices and this means getting your ‘house in order’ by paying attention to the nuances of your space and culture. If you want employees to change how they look at wellness and your role in delivering it, you'll need to view your environment through the eyes of your most cynical employee.
The only way to create a true culture of health is to be authentic about it in every way.

This might mean moving the soda machines so they’re not so prominent, opening up the stairways and giving them a coat of paint and better lighting, making fruit the regular office snack instead of donuts, changing food choices at meetings and staff functions and scheduling walking meetings yourself to show others how productive getting outside to walk and solve problems can be.

If wellness is truly a priority, you have to exemplify that throughout your entire workplace. You don’t need to make a big song and dance about it - that may give people the impression it’s a novelty or a gimmick. Just firmly and subtly make the changes. Your employees will soon notice, and they'll understand

9. Thinking you can do it all in a month

Creating a genuine culture of health and changing your employee’s behaviour and attitudes is an ongoing process. Over time, your employees’ enthusiasm for your wellness program will fluctuate, which is why you need to keep your program fresh. If new activities and components are not constantly being integrated into the program to maintain employees’ interest, it may be difficult to motivate continued participation.

Similar to other business practices, continue to refine and adapt things each year. Analyse the elements of your program and reinvest in the areas that gained the most traction and delivered the biggest returns, then rethink those parts that haven’t. I say ‘rethink’ because the reasons behind a component’s failure may not be obvious. Often I hear HR managers lament the high attrition rate of employees taking part in a wellness initiative, then blaming this on employees themselves. Closer inspection generally unearths the same formula: boring program = bored employees = low uptake and high attrition. If at first you don’t succeed, then try again with a new vendor, new design and new content.

Trying to reinvent the wheel

10. Trying to reinvent the wheel

Many organisations try to launch a wellness program with just their own internal staff and the assistance of their health insurance carrier and neglect to use outside experts and vendors. The reality is that designing a wellness program usually requires expertise and experience beyond the traditional HR function. If you look over at your IT department you’ll invariably see a small head count, relative to the sheer complexity and business criticality of their activities. For many years, CTO’s have understood that it would be absurd to try to develop an operating system for your company when Microsoft has mastered it. The same goes for all of the software, hardware, communication infrastructure and networking your business depends upon.

It makes sense to select dedicated outside resources and support that can ensure your program succeeds. This also ensures you reap the benefit of your vendor’s experience across multiple industry sectors, demographics, psychographics and geographies. It also affords you the opportunity to enjoy economies of scale and access to content, expertise, talent and experience that will be beyond your budget and, quite possibly, beyond your wildest dreams.

11. Letting feelings override facts

Workplace wellness is a nuanced blend of science and art. It takes a good measure of creativity to ensure that you’re delivering an experience that connects with employees’ hearts and minds.

It isn’t enough to just alter how they behave in the short term, the real sustainable change arises from changing how employees think and feel. What must never be overlooked is that your entire well-being program must be anchored in science. The information you distribute must be clinically proven.

I’ve heard HR Directors say: “We think the World Health Organisation’s recommendation for daily physical activity is too high” or: “We don’t think our employees could eat the recommended servings of vegetables” even: “We think asking our staff to maintain this behaviour for that many months is too long, so we’ve lowered/shortened it to something we think can be achieved.” Not true. 10,000 steps a day might sound like a lot, especially for someone who is only doing 2,000, but giving people the facts (however unpalatable) along with a program that can excite them and gently move them along the path towards health is the best – and only responsible – option.

You have the opportunity to change your employees’ whole lives with your workplace wellness initiative.

In my view, transforming how people feel about themselves and helping them develop a set of healthy habits and a sense of resilience is the greatest legacy an organisation can leave its employees. You have great power in your hands, use it wisely.

GCC - the world’s leading corporate health initiative

Glenn Riseley, Founder of GCC
By Glenn Riseley, GCC Founder

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Information on GCC and OpenSSL ‘Heartbleed’ vulnerability

posted 4/15/2014

As evidenced by our security credentials and commitment to customer privacy, safeguarding the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your data is our number one priority.

As you may be aware from news coverage, an Internet-wide security vulnerability has recently been exposed in the OpenSSL cryptographic library, known commonly as the Heartbleed bug. This threat is widespread and has impacted a significant number of websites and businesses worldwide. To be clear, this is a vulnerability of the OpenSSL library, and not a flaw with the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) site / systems or SSL / TLS more generally.

As soon as the issue was publicly disclosed, we undertook extensive scanning of all our website infrastructure and assets, which found no points of vulnerability (our core platform does not use OpenSSL). Additionally, we followed best practices by patching internal infrastructure used in support of our offering and patching and updating third party systems and security credentials, as required. We also continue to actively monitor the situation.

There is no evidence that the GCC site was exposed or at risk at any point, so customers are not required to take any action to further safeguard themselves when using the site or systems. However, as an additional precaution, we recommend you update your password here.

If you would like additional information, you can contact Customer Service anytime.

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GCC and LSI celebrating success

posted 4/13/2014

GCC & LSI toasting to award success

GCC's long-standing client, LSI Corporation, was nominated for an award thanks to their contribution to health care in the Greater Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

A successful, 3-year collaboration with the Corporation meant the GCC was named as one of LSI’s leading business partners, and was there to support them when the inaugural Lehigh Valley Business Healthcare Heroes Awards took place on Thursday, April 3 at DeSales University, Center Valley, Pennsylvania.

Corporate Achievement Hero Nominees included;

  • East Penn Manufacturing Co. (Winner)
  • Moravian Village of Bethlehem
  • LSI Corporation
  • Sealstrip Corporation
  • Victaulic

The awards program celebrates individuals and organisations that are making a significant impact on the quality of healthcare in the Greater Lehigh Valley. LSI were nominated for the Corporate Achievement Hero Award, in the category of the same name.

Unfortunately LSI did not take home the award, however, it provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate a long, ongoing relationship which has seen the GCC roll out its program to program to a large part of LSI’s workforce; 2814 participants in 2011, 3696 in 2012 and 3934 in 2013.

Congratulations to LSI and all the award nominees.

For more information on LSI, please visit

GCC - the world’s leading corporate health initiative

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posted 4/2/2014

Download GCC BMI/ROI Study Results

Trusting the GCC to improve employee health and wellbeing isn’t a leap of faith, it’s a decision based on statistics, science and the simple fact that we deliver your employees back to you in better physical and mental shape than ever before.

Our latest e-book, released exclusively to you today, shows how a reduction in employees’ BMI can have a massive impact on your business’s bottom line, an impact which translates to millions of dollars’ worth of savings.


GCC - the world’s leading corporate health initiative

Source: 2013 Study Foundation for Chronic Disease Prevention Study (FCDP) (n=31,401)

Author: Glenn Riseley

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posted 3/26/2014

When people in charge of human capital tell us, “people are our greatest asset,” we know they mean it. We also know time is your most precious commodity, and making a difference often needs to be done with minimal resources.

That’s exactly why the GCC’s employee wellness program can be rolled out in an hour; initiating improvement has never been faster, easier or more effective. GCC 2014 starts May 28 with places filling fast. Watch this short video and see how a lifetime of change is as simple as setting aside one hour.

GCC - the world’s leading corporate health initiative

Author; Tom Sermon

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10 Weeks Left To Get Your Company Moving With GCC

posted 3/19/2014

Places are filling up fast for GCC 2014

Registrations are still open for this year’s GCC, but there’s only 10 weeks left until the biggest and best GCC ever begins on May 28. Places go fast, so don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today; reserve your teams now.

Here’s how the GCC works:

Teams of Seven -
Employees sign up in teams of 7 and tap into the collective accountability that already exists in your office.
Starter Kit -
Every participant receives two GCC Pulses, our cutting edge accelerometers track daily activity and are ready to use straight out of the box; No set up. No downloads. No charging.
GCC Me -
This is employees’ dynamic, virtual, scale model of themselves which brings to life the positive impact of their new habits and behaviours in real time.
The 100-day Journey -
GCC’s first challenge is a 100-day virtual tour around the world, which sets a daily target of 10,000 steps and provides a journey of discovery, reward and achievement.
GCC Nutrition -
A suite of scientifically developed tools that change employees’ relationship with nutrition so they can achieve healthy, sustainable weight loss.
GCC Sprint -
An individual challenge designed to maintain physical activity during the holiday season, typically when people can lose their way.
GCC Energy -
Helps employees bounce out of bed after discovering that exercising, eating well and resting, are the three keys to peak performance at work.

Places are filling fast. Don’t miss your chance to join the world's largest corporate health initiative and change your employees whole lives.

Register Now for GCC 2014 or Find Out More.

GCC - the world’s leading corporate health initiative

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Employee performance at work

posted 2/28/2014

FCDP proof

This extract comes from a global report which was produced at the end of the 16-week GCC event in 2013 by the Foundation for Chronic Disease Prevention in the Workplace™ (FCDP). It provides an independent evaluation of the GCC's impact on its 1,200 participating Organisations.

The main aim of this independent audit is to establish how the GCC has impacted employees' immediate health, wellbeing and performance at work. It also addresses employees' propensity for on-going improvements as a result of their changed behaviours.

Business Benefits

  1. Increased Productivity -
    Daily physical activity directly – and positively – impacts employee and workplace productivity, both from employees drawing on improved sleep, concentration levels and stamina to get more work done during working hours (i.e. decreased presenteeism) and also from a reduction in absenteeism owing to physical or emotional illness1.
    32% reported increase in productivity scores

  2. Workplace Energy and Sleep -
  3. Employee energy levels and their workplace performance are tightly intertwined. Healthy employees typically have the energy and resilience to engage in their work with vigour and confidence. On the other hand, their sedentary counterparts suffer more sluggish progress. Regular physical activity has been proven to improve sleep levels, combat fatigue and effectively sustain high energy levels2, supporting peak performance ability and positive engagement capacity.
    65% of employees feel that taking part in GCC has improved their energy levels
  4. Reducing Stress -
  5. In the workplace, employees taking daily exercise have been shown to experience improved overall mental health3 4. Physical activity elevates the heart rate, increases blood flow to the brain and releases endorphins through the body which increase feelings of overall well-being and effectively reduce stress levels. The following chart demonstrates the changes in reported stress levels pre- and post-GCC
    59% of employees reported a decrease in their stress levels at either home or work
FCDP reduces stress

Positive Impacts on Employee Health

  1. Increase in Physical Activity Levels -
  2. Working towards an active lifestyle benchmark of 10,000 steps5 (or cycling/swimming equivalent) per day, employees have effectively increased their overall (accumulated) daily physical activity levels and positively impacted their health and wellbeing through improved fitness and cardiovascular health.6
    84% of employees now meet or exceed the 10,000 step recommended daily activity level (vs. 20% pre-GCC).
    FCDP increases activity
  3. Change in Health Scores -
  4. Intention or motivation to change is one of the most important predictors of behavioural change and whether a person intends to change7 their behaviour first and foremost hinges on their perception of their own health.8
    83% of employees now rate their overall health as either good, very good, or excellent (Vs 58% pre GCC)
  5. Weight Management -
  6. There is an irrefutable link between increased physical activity and weight loss, specifically in cases of high BMI individuals9. Increasing physical activity levels directly increases energy burn, leading to weight loss. Over days, weeks and months, sustained increases in physical activity deliver sustained weight loss. It is also well recognised that weight loss directly reduces risk of type II diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
    Total estimated weight loss during the GCC = 601,750kg


There’s no doubt that successful businesses of the future will require an even more healthy and resilient workforce than ever before. It will therefore be vital that employees have the support and education they need to sustain healthy behaviours. By investing in the health of employees, organisations participating in GCC will reap the rewards of increased employee performance, productivity and engagement – all of which contribute positively to overall business performance.

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Global Corporate Challenge

1 Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz, Henna Hasson (2011). Employee Self-rated Productivity and Objective Organizational Production Levels. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; 53 (8): 838
2 Puetz, T. (2006). Regular Exercise Plays A Consistent And Significant Role In Reducing Fatigue, Psychological Bulletin, November 2006, University of Georgia
3. O zminkowski RJ, Goetzel RZ, Smith MW, Cantor RI, Shaughnessy A, Harrison M (2000) The impact of the Citibank, NA, health management program on changes in employee health risks over time. J Occup Environ Med.;42(5):502-511.
4. Batman, D, Cartwright, S (2011) Multi-Business Study into the Effect of Low Impact Physical Activity on Employee Health and Wellbeing 2011 ; Foundation For Chronic Disease Prevention in the Workplace. 5Tudor-Locke C, Bassett DR Jr (2004). How many steps/day are enough? Preliminary pedometer indices for public health. Sports Med, 34:1-8
6.U S Department of Health and Human Services (1996). Physical activity and health: a report of the Surgeon General. US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Atlanta, Ga. 7. David M. Cutler, Edward L. Glaeser, A llison B. Rosen. (2007) Is the US Population Behaving Healthier? NBER Working Paper No. 13013 Issued in April 2007
8. Weinstein ND (1988). The precaution adoption process. Health Psychol, 7:355-386.
9. Pate RR, Pratt M, Blair SN, Haskell WL, Macera CA, Bouchard C, Buchner D, Ettinger W, Heath GW, King AC, et al. (1995). Physical activity and public health. A recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. Jama , 273:402-407.

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