By Lucie Dec 7, 2023

How Has Sport Strengthen Our Company Culture Throughout the Year

At the beginning of 2023, Uzinakod’s Culture team deliberated a crucial question: How can we enhance team cohesion while fostering challenges and motivation among ourselves?

Considering our already existing culture events, we created Together in Action, an innovative program centered around sports and the exploration of activities aimed at motivating our colleagues to stay active.

The success of this program is largely due to the enthusiasm for sports among many Uzinakod employees! The primary goal was to integrate physical activity into our daily work routine, making it accessible to everyone throughout the year. A blend of after-work sports sessions, gamification, and a shared commitment to embracing new challenges has characterized the recent months at Uzinakod. Let’s take a look at the program’s highlights with Lucie.

Inaugural Phases of the Together in Action Program

In 2023, the Together in Action program centered around three key themes:

  • Creating our very own BIXI challenge
  • Discovering a colleague’s passion for sports
  • Participating in the Beneva Montreal Marathon

These certainly represent the highlights of the spring and summer seasons in Montreal! Some of these activities were recurrent throughout the season to maximize the opportunity for colleagues to get together. This program serves as a valuable addition to ongoing Uzinakod initiatives. The Culture team remains consistently vigilant in identifying different activities to suggest to the entire company to reinforce team cohesion, and the chance to match our employees’ love for sports was too good to pass up.

Main Challenges in the Together in Action Program

BIXI Challenge

Since 2020, Uzinakod has been providing BIXI summer season passes to employees interested in this perk. As we all know, the return of these self-service bikes signals the arrival of good weather, and this benefit is typically very popular. This year, we wanted to spice things up (that’s just who we are! 😉), so we decided to add some excitement for the more athletic members of our team. We initiated a friendly competition among several colleagues to see who could cover the most kilometers during the season… and the counters were set into action!

Every month, BIXI provided us with a list of employees along with their respective kilometers covered, then these outcomes were shared with the entire company. That’s all it took to motivate the troops and uncover our most competitive employees!

‘’The Together in Action program and the BIXI challenge were a good way to motivate us to work out with our colleagues, even from afar. It added a little bit of competition to the mix, which kept us on our toes until the very end. Some friendly competition kept us excited, and as it’s tradition in all good-natured contests, we added a bit of banter too! Looking forward to the next round 😀’’
– Thibaut Biscay, Challenge winner

As an added bonus, we gave them a gift card to Sports Experts for a little treat, and a well-deserved spot on one of the three steps of the podium!

From left to right: Florian and Julien (#3), Thibaut (#1) and Lucie (#2)

We would like to thank BIXI for their indirect participation in this challenge, enabling 36 of our employees to collectively cover over 6,000 kilometers along Montreal’s bike paths!

Discovering Our Colleagues’ Passion for Sports

As mentioned earlier, Uzinakod is a team of experts with a passion for technology but also for sports! We’ve got a whole lot of ultimate frisbee players, basketball players, dodgeball players, and the list goes on!

So we took advantage of our monthly 5@7s to showcase the passions of some of our colleagues to the entire company!

It all started with an initiation to ultimate frisbee hosted by David, one of our Full-Stack Developer with a passion for coffee, coding, and frisbee (among other things). In a nutshell, thanks to our referral system, David successfully brought several members from his ultimate team on board at Uzinakod, creating an ongoing inside joke within the company. The question now arises: When will we have an official Uzinakod frisbee team? After offering a frisbee in our summer gift package to our employees, the next logical step was initiation.

It was awesome to see Uzinakod’s enthusiasm as I introduced my colleagues to the fun world of ultimate frisbee! Sunshine, delicious food, and refreshing drinks were added to the mix. The event organization was spot-on, and the response from everyone was incredible. Big thanks to Uzinakod for making this happen. It was a personal favorite, letting me play the part of a pseudo-PE teacher for an evening! 😂”
– David Comeau-Cadieux

This was therefore the perfect opportunity. Parc Jeanne-Mance and a sunlit conclusion to the day set the stage for a successful 5@7. David explained the rules of the game, small teams were formed, and we were off to the races! Naturally, our sports enthusiasts were treated to tasty treats as a well-deserved reward.

Next up: back to school in September! What better way to reminisce than by booking the gym at the ÉTS complex for a trip down memory lane and a dose of nostalgia! No need for envy, there’s something for everyone. This time, we handed over the reins of the event to Mathieu, Quality Expert, basketball enthusiast, part-time coach, and former sports journalist during his student years. Needless to say, our team was in good hands.

“Thanks to the Together in Action program, I had the chance to share my love for basketball with my colleagues. From introductory workshops to (more or less) friendly matches, we enjoyed two fantastic hours on the ÉTS floors.”
– Mathieu Licheron

The story goes that the team that had one of Uzinakod’s two cofounders as a player had a certain edge… We won’t tell you which one, but here’s a hint: he’s pretty tall. 😉

Participation in the Montreal Beneva Marathon

When two colleagues decided to start running after work and welcomed others to join, it led to the creation of our running team, also known as Uzinakourse internally. (You can never have too many puns with the company name!)

And why limit ourselves to the Lachine Canal when we could be taking part in the Montreal Beneva Marathon? We embrace challenges, and we were re ready to give it our all. It’s clearly stated in our values, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

This idea quickly caught the attention of the Culture team, especially Maëva, our Culture and Talent Advisor, who took charge of the entire initiative!

Uzinakod sponsored 50% of the registration fees for the event, leaving our employee volunteers with just one task: train. Whether it was a 5 km run, a 10 km run, the half-marathon, or the full marathon, there were no small challenges… everyone could participate!

“When I first joined Uzinakod, I started running with some colleagues, and we jokingly called ourselves the ‘Uzinakourse’ squad. Surprisingly, Uzinakod made this initiative a big part of the Together in Action program. They helped bring us together and contributed to our Montreal Beneva Marathon registration fees. This program has not only kept me active, but has also inspired me to do more than I thought I could!”
– Jean-Sébastien Breault

From left to right: Thibaut, Lucie, Joanna, Audrey and Florian

In total, ten employees participated, fostering a culture of encouragement and mutual support during training sessions to ensure everyone could reach their goals and surpass expectations. If that isn’t team spirit, we don’t know what is! A special shout-out to Sébastien Flamant, Full-Stack Developer, who completed the marathon in an impressive 3 hours and 34 minutes!

The Importance of Moving in Fostering Team Building

In a working environment typically sedentary like ours, the significance of regular physical activity becomes even more crucial for sustaining good health and overall balance.

On a day-to-day basis, and even more so in a flexible environment where 100% work from home is permitted, we all may encounter psychosocial challenges and risks. Incorporating sports activities, or at the very least making them an integral part of your corporate culture, is a good way of preventing some of these risks. More importantly, it helps forge connections between departments, enhances team cohesion outside the project environment, and encourages friendly competition in a supportive and caring atmosphere.

The outcome of this first edition? Countless memories, newly formed and fortified relationships for some, an eagerness to tackle fresh challenges, and, most importantly, a desire to repeat the experience as soon as possible! The mission was truly a success. Interested in joining our Together in Action program? Explore our Careers page first!

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