CGI Group connects staff well-being, charity with annual walking event

CGI Group Inc. hosted its 11th annual global walking event at the end of September, connecting its commitment to employee health and well-being with charitable activities.

During the event, called Walk Around the World, employees were encouraged to get out and walk for 30 minutes, but also take some time for themselves and connect with their colleagues. Employees were also encouraged to share the event on social media with a new event filter. 

Read: Why employers should promote workplace walking

“At the individual level, members are walking obviously for their own health and wellness,” says Adam Burtnik, health and wellness coordinator at CGI Group. “At a collective level and a business level, obviously, it’s showing a complete buy-in to the support for health and well-being and that it matters to us.”

Alongside the walking event, many offices also took part in volunteer work or donating to charity. Employees in Quebec City, for example, supported a local not-for-profit organization by donating children’s clothes, school items and food. In the Greater Toronto Area, CGI Group made a cash donation to the Ontario Association of Food Banks and supported two local food banks with non-perishables.

“In Montreal, they supported the Salvation Army, providing sporting goods and clothing,” says Burtnik. “In Victoria, it was sort of a historical celebration . . . to bring awareness and celebrate the heritage of that local Victoria area. The different causes are always locally inspired, but at the mass population level it’s a health and well-being initiative.”

While the walking event demonstrates CGI Group’s commitment to health and well-being, it also runs a variety of wellness initiatives throughout the year, says Eve Belanger, manager of health and well-being for Canada at CGI Group.

Read: CGI Group targets employees’ health goals, action plan in new year wellness program

The organization hosted its third annual mental-health month in May. This November, it’s organizing a mental-health awareness week. CGI Group has planned a variety of activities for the week, including an introductory webinar on mindfulness to help employees experiment with the practice, according to Belanger.

The monthly programming varies, says Burtnik. Last year, it promoted the recognition of colleagues’ work through an internal platform. Every recognition for a job well done was accompanied by an alert sent to the employee and their manager, along with a donation to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“From an information perspective, we offer webinars on a number of different topics,” says Burtnik. “This past year, we offered webinars on Alzheimer’s disease and caring for caregivers. For members who might be supporting a family member of ill health, we want to make sure they’re recognizing their own mental health and well-being throughout that process, which can often be challenging. So there was some tips and support tools presented and shared during those seminars.”

Read: Mental-health focus leads to culture change at CGI Group