Affiliated with 1600 clubs and organisations, England Athletics support nearly 200,000 athletes. With such a massive influence, they needed to lead from the front and show that they prioritise their own wellbeing too. But could they achieve the engagement they needed?

England Athletics inspire athletes and runners of all abilities and backgrounds to fulfil their potential and develop a lifelong love for the sport.

And, as a sporting body, they keenly understand that high performance is contingent on good employee wellbeing.

To live up to their weight of responsibility and deliver an excellent service, senior stakeholders at the organisation understood that the welfare of their employees had to be at the top of the business agenda.

England Athletics needed a workplace health solution that:

  • Engaged employees from all backgrounds and demographics
  • Adapted and personalised for hard-to-reach populations
  • Integrated with existing wellbeing initiatives
  • Enabled data-driven decisions to inform a robust wellbeing strategy

The ultimate goal, in the words of CEO Chris Jones, was to “create an environment where people would feel empowered, trusted, supported, and given the bandwidth and flexibility to produce their best”.

So, England Athletics launched Champion Health.

Hopping the engagement hurdle

England Athletics had the mission – they had the platform in place to achieve it, next it was all about getting their employees on board.

As any HR team will know, a wellbeing initiative is ineffective if it doesn’t get into the hands of the people who need it.

But getting wellbeing initiatives into employee hands is often one of the trickiest hurdles for organisations to negotiate.

Research has found employee engagement with EAPs to be as low as 2.5% (People Management) and many employees are not even aware of their organisation’s wellbeing offering.

Engagement with Champion Health’s services is on average 10x that of traditional providers, so England Athletics could be confident that by partnering with Champion – they already had a head-start in terms of getting their employees on board.

The next step was to work with their designated Champion Health Wellbeing Lead, to co-develop an engagement strategy that would result in more England Athletics employees than ever before engaging with their wellbeing.

Getting a head-start on high engagement

To lay the foundations for organisation-wide engagement, the senior team at England Athletics were determined that by ‘Go-Live day’ (when the platform is available to employees), Champion Health would already be firmly anchored within the organisation.

To do this, they took advantage of a range of pre-launch engagement solutions that Champion Health tailored to them.


1. Announcement video

Leading from the front, England Athletics’ Chief Executive Officer, Chris Jones, met with Champion’s Health’s videographer, to record an interview that explained England Athletics’ mission statement for wellbeing, and why they had chosen Champion Health to make this happen.

This interview was circulated when England Athletics announced that they would be offering Champion Health’s platform to their employees.

As well as celebrating the partnership, the video also emphasised the message to employees that England Athletics genuinely wanted to have a positive impact on their lives, both inside and outside of work.


2. Early-bird access for leaders and line managers

Next, the entire leadership team joined an early-bird demo of the platform with double Olympian Jack Green, Champion’s Head of Performance.

They became familiar with the full breadth and depth of Champion’s clinically-backed platform, from the unique personal health assessment, through to the personalised action plans, to the “world of wellbeing”.

The leaders were able to see for themselves the amazing impact that Champion’s platform could have on their employees’ lives – and armed with this knowledge – they were ready to ensure the platform got into as many hands as possible.


3. Promotion by senior leaders

Senior leadership buy-in and promotion is essential to drive engagement with wellbeing.

The leadership team at England Athletics knew this, and, having now been demonstrated the full range of Champion’s services, they were ready to generate a buzz about their new market-leading wellbeing platform.

As the company approached their ‘Go-Live’ day, they spread the word amongst their teams about the exciting areas of the platform they would soon have access to.

To supplement this, they were provided with co-branded materials that seamlessly integrated into their communication cycles, to ensure that Champion stayed front-of-mind.

Champion’s platform covers every area of wellbeing, so naturally each leader and manager favoured and promoted different areas of the platform.

CEO Chris Jones personally recommended the sleep section, which provides educational content, guided sleep meditations, sleep stories and soothing sounds to help employees get the night-time rest they need.

The starting pistol sounds

England Athletics’ platform launch day kicked off with an organisation-wide ‘Go-Live’ webinar, again with Jack Green.

The employees had their whole wellbeing journey laid out in front of them – from digital health assessment, to personalised content that was tailored to them.

Every employee could find something that met their wellbeing needs, whether that be Olympian-led workouts, mind-sharpening guided meditations, menopause support, sleep stories and so much more.

With Champion front-of-mind, and a world of wellbeing now available at their fingertips, the England Athletics employees were quick out of the blocks. They started completing their digital health assessments immediately.

The engagement strategy that England Athletics had carefully cultivated with Champion was yielding some impressive results – 64% of employees completed a personalised health assessment within 1 week of launch day.

The HR and leadership teams at England Athletics now had access to wellbeing data that would allow them to develop impactful wellbeing interventions that supported their employees in the areas that meant the most to them.

Continued acceleration

Throughout the following weeks the Champion registration window for England Athletics employees stayed open, and engagement continued to climb.

During this time, they were in regular contact with their designated Champion Health Wellbeing Lead, who was always on-hand to provide further guidance and communication materials to boost engagement even further.

As the end of their registration window neared, the senior team at England Athletics, working closely with Champion Health, took the decision to extend the registration window by a further two weeks,

This would give every employee time to complete their health assessment, and access their tailored wellbeing action plan. During that time, engagement with the Champion Health platform reached 94%.

It’s a marathon – not a sprint

England Athletics have finished lap 1 with a healthy lead.

They have succeeded in engaging 94% of their workforce with Champion’s services, and more of their employees than ever are now following tailored action plans and taking steps to improve their wellbeing.

This high level of engagement has given the HR team at England Athletics access to data-driven insights into the wellbeing of almost every employee across their organisation.

Within Champion’s Premium package, they will now work closely with Champion’s wellbeing experts to develop a bespoke wellbeing strategy, which uses the data gained from the employee health assessments to target the areas that matter the most to England Athletics’ employees.

When their next health assessment opens, England Athletics will continue to work alongside Champion to increase their employee engagement with wellbeing even further.

Maintaining employee engagement with wellbeing is a marathon, not a sprint, and England Athletics have no intention of easing the pace.

England Athletics is one of many leading organisations that uses Champion Health’s services to prioritise the wellbeing of the people that power their organisation.

Find out how you can support your people and generate record engagement. Book a demo now and discover Champion Health.