On April 16, 2009, 30 U.S. Lawns employees and family members participated in their first Corporate 5K presented by IOA at Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando. Working to expand their corporate culture of safety, Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, decided to rally his internal staff with a teambuilding challenge to compete in the Corporate 5K as a great starting point for the launch of the new health-focused program.
“It has always been vitally important to build a culture of safety for our field employees and franchisees but with heart disease, diabetes and cancer on the rise it is becoming equally important for us to expand our culture of safety internally by educating our employees on making better lifestyle choices so they can have a healthier future,” said Hutcheson. “The key for us in our new focus is to identify teambuilding activities that are all-inclusive and most of all inspiring and fun.”
As a long-time sponsor of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), U.S. Lawns is not new to the importance of supporting health-related causes, it is actually because of their continued commitment to health and safety that they are taking their efforts to the next level with the generation of activities that will now inspire internally. “As a team we can support each other’s efforts and personal goals,” said Hutcheson. “We saw team members asking each other ‘How did you do on your training run this morning’, challenging each other to a supportive competition to beat each other’s times and encouraging each other to continue walking or running even after the completion of the Corporate 5K.”
Hutcheson feels that the benefits of educating and supporting the employees on lifestyle choices extends far beyond just the office as staff are encouraged to include their friends and family members in the teambuilding efforts. He, himself, ran the 5K with his two sons while many other U.S. Lawns participants recruited friends and family members to join the U.S. Lawns team by running or walking to the finish. “The more supportive we can be to our employees and the people that are most important in their lives, the healthier and happier we will all be as a team,” said Hutcheson. “And isn’t that what positive work-life balance is all about.”
They are currently discussing what the next interactive teambuilding activity may be, but one thing is for sure whether through a U.S. Lawns Bowling Competition or another Corporate 5K, the program will continue to be a strong company focus. “I’m proud to work with the staff in this company and I’d love to see us be a team together for a long time to come in the future,” said Hutcheson. “Any effort that can help us take steps toward a healthier future is an effort I will happily stand behind as a corporate priority and if we include some fun in the process I think we will have accomplished a great goal.”