Downsizing, pay cuts and the daily pressures of a troubled economy can affect more than a company's bottom line. These realities also have an impact on the success of its greatest asset - employees.
Absenteeism, low staff morale and reduced productivity are all challenges that organisations increasingly face as the world emerges from the financial crisis.
But to help defeat these foes, Hercules Trophy, an inter-company team-building and networking event, will soon be arriving in the Emirates.
Through a series of heroic "labours", corporate teams must use their combined strength and wits to help defeat the opposition.
But in the end, it's really about improving corporate culture.
"The last two years have been challenging for businesses in the UAE," says Yves Vekemans, the chief executive and president of Hercules Trophy. "Hercules Trophy is an easy and effective way for businesses to give back to their people and re-engage their sense of pride in the organisation."
Established in Belgium in 1999, this innovative concept for improving business and employee performance is well known in Europe.
More than 15,000 employees representing 500 companies have participated in the event, including many well-known corporations such as Nokia, Siemens, Brussels Airlines and Thomas Cook. The company says it has enjoyed a 91 per cent repeat attendance rate.
The inaugural event in the Emirates - the first of its kind outside of Europe - will be held on February 10 next year at The Sevens stadium in Dubai.
According to Mr Vekemans, Hercules Trophy consists of 12 different labours, or challenges, spread out over a full day of competition. He says each event is designed to allow anyone to participate. The focus is on problem solving and team building.
In the volleyball event, for instance, two nets are set into a cross. Four teams compete at one time, and with two balls flying in the air, participants must quickly adapt and work together.
Each "labour" lasts just 15 minutes. There are breaks throughout the day-long event - including lunch, refreshments, prizes and a party at the end of the day - which gives companies the chance to pursue networking possibilities. Each team must consist of at least four players. One member should be appointed as a team captain and there must be at least one woman on each squad. Spare players, or substitutes, are permitted if a team member wants to take a break.
Mr Vekemans says they are expecting at least 500 participants at the event in Dubai.
Companies are also encouraged to fashion their teams based on the most effective organisational results. If a business has a particular initiative or campaign in mind, the company can unite these employees and strengthen the team.
"In one day, participants go through the five basic stages of team building: they build trust in their team, master conflict, commit to their people, become accountable for their actions and achieve results," Mr Vekemans says. "Businesses can then transfer this learning to the workplace."
The cost depends on the size of the team: Dh7,850 for a five-member team; Dh8,300 for a team of six; and Dh8,750 for a team of seven.
Ÿ For more information about Hercules Trophy, or to register your corporate team, visit www.herculestrophy.ae, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org