The leading Singapore insurance company is sponsoring an ultramarathon under the banner MSIG Action Asia 50 – and Gourlay is taking part.
“I am conscious that as leaders, we need to ‘walk the talk’, and sometimes we impact our employees more in our action than in our words,” he told HRD Singapore.
“I will be leading by example, by training to keep fit and run in the 10-kilometre trail race.”
Encouraging healthy choices helped keep morale levels high, he said.
“When employees know you value and appreciate them, they will naturally take care of your business.”
There are a number of initiatives at MSIG to keep staff members fit, healthy and active.
“These are not extravagant programs; we arrange for healthy snacks, onsite health screening, lunch time health talks, fitness and sports activities,” Gourlay said.
“There’s a saying that ‘sitting is the new smoking’,” Gourlay said.
“So imagine the health toll it is taking on you if you keep working and not move around and stretch.”
Recently the company launched an eight-week step challenge, where staff who participated underwent onsite health screening before receiving a free fitness tracker.
“To add a dose of fun, we got them into teams, and rewarded those who clocked the most steps.”
Such programs also encourage greater interaction and bonding with colleagues, and incentivise their well-being, he said.
“We did a post challenge survey and 83% of those who participated felt healthier and said they would do it again.”
There are various studies that show a correlation between being physically active and the direct impact it has on our work performance, he said.
“We don’t have the numbers to show how our workplace well-being initiatives have increased our employees’ productivity, however as a commendation to our workplace programs which were well received, we were awarded the Singapore HEALTH Award (Bronze) from the Health Promotion Board in 2014.
“At the end of the day, it is not entirely about hitting high productivity gains because everyone has got different KPIs. It’s about recharging your people so they have the energy and enthusiasm for work.”
Currently, about 40% of MSIG Singapore’s workforce is aged over 40.
“It’s more important than ever that they remain healthy and engaged. It is not just this age group we are concerned about but generally our lives have become busier, more demanding of our time and we spend a great deal more at our office chairs.”
MSIG Singapore’s CEO Michael Gourlay is an example of a C-suite executive who leads by example.