Three mistakes to avoid if you want to make your corporate sports programme succeed

You’ve decided to initiate a sports project with the intention of bringing your employees together around this initiative. Let us be clear: there are risks of failure.

Here are the mistakes to avoid if you want to integrate sport into your company. Many companies fail to bring such a project to life by succumbing to easily avoidable pitfalls.


So, if your sports project is still in its infancy, if a very limited number of your employees have joined it, or if the consequences are ultimately negative, it is probably because you have made one or more of the following mistakes.

1st mistake: failing to include sport in a global corporate strategy

Leaving employees to fend for themselves 

Companies have said: “the project didn't take off, even though we put the resources into it: we distributed sports coupons to our employees through the Works Council.” This is a classic mistake: thinking that simply proposing incentives will be enough to bring employees together. However, simply providing resources will only convince those who are already on board and who already do sport regularly. It misses the key point: creating a collective and inclusive momentum within the company.


Not taking advantage of the sports project to reaffirm the company’s vision and values

A sports project must be considered as a corporate project. Both corporate projects and sports projects involve the same sense of teamwork, a spirit of competition and risk taking.


Whether done individually or as a team, sport makes it possible to develop strong qualities and principles that reflect the company’s values. A sports project is therefore an opportunity to strengthen the company culture by involving all employees.



A sports project must be considered as a corporate project. It will take more than incentives to unite employees around a sports project.


How many projects have failed to meet the objectives set because the initiative from Human Resources contradicted the demands of line management, putting employees in an uncomfortable position?


An example: Human Resources encourages regular and group physical activity in certain predefined timeslots, but the line manager takes a negative view of this because they are afraid of a drop in commercial performance during these periods. They therefore put pressure on employees to reduce their physical activity.


Without the manager’s support, the sports project is doomed to failure. It is therefore necessary to take the time to convince everyone. And there are many arguments that can be used: encouraging sport in the workplace increases net profitability by up to 14% and productivity per employee by between 6 and 9%. Similarly, motivation increases, and absenteeism and turnover rates drop!

2nd mistake: Not supporting and encouraging sport

By not adapting to employees’ sporting routine 

Lack of time is one of the biggest obstacles to making sport part of employees’ daily routine. Introducing more flexibility into the working day can help solve this problem. But sport can also be considered outside office hours: employees may prefer to exercise at evenings and weekends. The corporate sports project must therefore not overlook sport outside of company time during its consideration, leaving as much freedom as possible to the employees. 

Not investing in suitable equipment 

If doing sport means being uncomfortable for the rest of the day, employees will be demotivated. Indeed, according to Frédéric Delannoy, Technical Manager of the Fédération Française du Sport en Entreprise: “Simply having a shower on the premises encourages running at lunchtime”. For example, at United Heroes, there are two showers available for lunchtime runners.

Not communicating the benefits of sport

Joining up to a project obviously requires good communication. While it may be easy to get younger people involved in a sports project, older people may be convinced by arguments around the benefits of physical activity (protection against cardiovascular disease or reduction in the risk of diabetes). You can also highlight the beneficial effects of sport on the environment, by focusing on walking short distances and choosing cycling over car journeys.


Burnout: symptoms and prevention of burnout


3rd mistake: Underestimating regulatory issues

Neglecting the safety of employees

In theory, companies can be considered liable in the event of an accident when sport takes place in the workplace, even if this liability is limited by law. The company has an obligation of means and not of results.

Its duty is therefore essentially reduced to risk prevention. It is considered that the individual plays an active role in their sport, and therefore in ensuring their own safety. The company must demonstrate that all means have been implemented to prevent and limit risks.



The company’s sports facilities must be insured. The company must ensure that it complies with the legal safety requirements for its sports facilities.



If the company invests in sports facilities, it must ensure that it complies with legal safety requirements. This includes declaring sports equipment to the competent administration, taking out insurance and displaying emergency information. Otherwise, they risk significant penalties.


If you want to unite your teams around shared values, the biggest mistake you can make is not proposing a sports project! Only 7% of companies encourage their employees to do sport. Have the courage to differentiate yourself and to boost your employer brand as much as quality of life at work for your employees by launching your sports project!


Now you know how to avoid these mistakes, all you have to do is take a look at our schedule to roll out your sports and well-being programme.