A good run for your moneyOn 1 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Charlie Hockey, HR manager at Bio-Rad Laboratories, takes us behind thescenes of an Olympic-style team-building eventThe Athenian Akabusi Challenge The Akabusi Company, Unit 14, Doolittle Mill, Froghall Road, Ampthill, BedsMK45 2ND Phone: 0870 444 1975 E-mail: [email protected] Laboratories is a multinational manufacturer and distributor of lifescience research and clinical diagnostic products. Each year, the NorthernEurope region, covering the UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Scandinavia, Israeland South Africa, stages a staff conference with the aim of building effectivemulti-disciplinary teams, sharing information and motivating employees. The annual conference provides employees with the opportunity to meetface-to-face with colleagues from other territories with whom they usuallycommunicate with by phone, e-mail and video conferencing. It enables them toshare experiences and overcome any language or cultural barriers. Previously, the conference had focused on having a motivational speaker fromoutside the industry, followed by a series of break-out training sessions foremployees. For 2004, the company wanted to take a different approach that wouldreally capture the audience’s imagination and would consequently improveeffectiveness across the territories. Different approach When we began developing a new conference programme we wanted to present somethingdifferent for employees who are target-driven and competitive by nature. So weapproached The Akabusi Company [founded by Kriss Akabusi, famous for hisathletics and subsequent media career], which appeared to meet the requiredcriteria. The Akabusi Athenian Challenge is a computer-linked interactiveteam-building ‘game’ designed to communicate information in a fun and engagingway. It is based on a concept of ‘edutainment’, which enables teams to completevarious timed challenges both in- and outdoors. The challenge is based on anathletic theme and has a live scoreboard running at all times, so teams arealways aware of their position. The activities were specially designed forBio-Rad to ensure that messages were both appropriate and inspiring. The aimwas to leave the participants motivated for challenges they would face in theyear ahead. Customisation The conference involved 210 delegates from across the Northern European region.Prior to the event, a panel was formed made up of representatives from everyarea of the business along with The Akabusi Company and its technology partnerCorporate Adrenalin. Together they developed the different customised themesthat would make up The Challenge. In total, 26 teams participated in the training. Each one comprised at leastfive different nationalities, and representatives from four differentdisciplines. A trained facilitator was also assigned to every team to help theexercises run smoothly and to reinforce learning points. As the teams were chosen from across the different territories, ouremployees were encouraged to collaborate prior to the event. Before arriving,each team member was given the name of an animal and the objective was toarrive at the event as an interpretation of that animal. Other activities included: – Matching pairs – delegates had to match the two Bio-Rad products thatwould normally be sold together from a selection of pictures. – Finding your way around the company website – a set of questions weredevised to which the answers could only be found on the company website – Employee photo-fit – finding out who’s who in the company. – Guess what’s in the box – a Bio-Rad product was placed in a box and teamshad to guess what it was, using only their hands. The vocational training was tailored to each specific job function.Non-technical employees used one of our Bio-Education products to ‘solve acrime’ by carrying out various experiments using the products in our DNAfingerprinting kit, while members of the sales team took the opportunity tocarry out a review of the year and develop common goals for the future. Results The event achieved its objective to build effective teams within thebusiness and to bring together the whole of the Northern European region. Itenabled UK employees to share their experiences and working practices withtheir counterparts from different countries and feel that they were animportant part of the Bio-Rad team. VerdictUnited we standThe Akabusi Athenian Challenge helpedto produce a strong team identity within a large, multinational organisation,allowing individual employees to feel part of a bigger whole.Ease of use * * * *Ability to meet business needs ** * *Value for money ** * * *Impact * * * * * Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.