News - April 15, 2013

Slimmed down We Day

Only sports activities will be included.
Interest has been waning for years.

We Day goes back to its roots.
We Day, a sports day for staff to be held this year on 14 May, has been slimmed down compared with previous editions. The budget is much tighter and all non-sports elements have been scrapped. The reason is the dwindling interest, explains Tineke Tromp, director of HRM. The event used to attract about 2200 participants; this year no more than 1500 are expected at most. 'You don't reach two thirds of the employees,' says Tromp. 'Everyone is different and you should cater for that.' So the event is going back to its roots as a sports day. Getting acquainted with colleagues from other departments is no longer an explicit objective of the day and coffee-tasting or cupcake decorating workshops are a thing of the past. So is live music.
Dropping in on the Neighbours
Henri ten Klooster, head of the sports centre and organizer of the We Day, is disappointed. 'The event has proven its value over the past 13 years,' he says, 'but like this, We Day's function of promoting social cohesion is destroyed.'
Surveys among Wageningen UR staff suggest that the cohesion between departments leaves room for improvement. 'But people hardly ever take a look at what goes on in other science groups,' explains Tromp. 'Whereas collaboration between them is exactly what leads to synergy.' Part of the We Day budget has therefore been reallocated to the new concept of Dropping in on the Neighbours. In March, employees were invited to pay a lunchtime visit to various departments for a lecture or a guided tour. Tromp also wants to encourage staff to attend each other's open days and demonstration days.
So the functions fulfilled by We Day in the past are to be split and fulfilled in new ways. After the sports day there will be an evalua¬≠tion of the new approach.