Staff retention: free judo lessons for kids keep security staff happy

A leading HR director has come up with a novel way to improve staff retention – by letting employees’ children learn judo for free.

Valerie Dale, head of HR at G4S Security Services, which has 15,500 staff in the UK, hopes to attract hundreds of employees across the country to the scheme, which will offer four free judo lessons at a club of their choice and subsidised classes thereafter to kids interested in learning the martial art.

The £1m project, which launched last week, forms part of a wider partnership between the British Olympic Association and FTSE 100 companies, whereby private sector firms are encouraged to promote sport among employees in return for benefits gained through improved staff engagement.

Dale – herself a karate expert, having practised the technique for 17 years – told Personnel Today the project would help G4S stay one step ahead of competitors, as it offered staff benefits for their families as well as employees.

“The Olympic Association partnership is about companies proactively being encouraged to get involved in sport – to give back and to help assist particular sporting activities. We give them business knowledge and in return we get improved employee engagement,” she said.

However, she said it was too early to tell if any of the kids learning judo now could become part of Team GB in the London 2012 Olympics.

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