Corporate wellness insights

5 Ways to Make Wellness Challenges Fun and Effective

Posted by Leah Evert on 05.31.2017

wellness challengesYear after year, our participants list wellness challenges as their favorite part of their company’s wellness program.

These short-term campaigns really drive engagement. Employees are motivated not only by their own health goals, but also through friendly competition with their colleagues.

Here are five tips for making your wellness challenges fun, popular, and effective:

  1. Use Technology. An online platform with a corresponding app are important for many reasons, but one of their best features is a real-time leaderboard. This is the heart of your competition, motivating participants throughout.
  2. Leverage existing competition. Does your organization have departments that compete in performance? How about work teams? Use that existing structure when creating your challenge. Employees are more likely to participate if they’re fighting for their own team.
  3. Tie in an altruistic cause. Many of our most successful challenges have been tied to a charity or philanthropic cause. For example, the company may commit to donating a set amount of money to charity if employees reach a company-wide health goal. It’s harder to forego participation when you know your effort will benefit others.
  4. Set collective goals. One of our most popular challenge formats encourages employees work together toward a common goal. For example, if participants log enough steps to “walk across the United States and back,” the whole company earns an extra PTO day. Collective, company-oriented goals really boost participation.
  5. Have many kinds of winners. Don’t just award your top three performers. Rather, award departments for recruiting the most participants, or locations for having the most spirit. Reward submissions of photos or videos, or multiple raffle winners. Having many ways to win prizes keeps attrition low and engagement high.

Wellness challenges are great for both health and camaraderie! Want to talk to us about running a challenge at your workplace? Send us a note and we’ll be glad to get you started.

Leah is a Senior Director of Business Development at WCS and has over 10 years of experience in employee health and wellness strategy. She is also a Registered Dietitian and Certified Exercise Physiologist.

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