HR Insights


How does Gamification Impact Workplace Wellness Programs?

Posted by Tatiana Spears on July 13, 2016

healthpassport-iphone-wellness-gamification.jpgFrustrated with the lack of employee engagement in your workplace wellness program? Discover how gamification could boost engagement – and ultimately your bottom-line.

As the cost of health care continues to rise, employers are turning to prevention-focused wellness programs in growing numbers. Approximately 70% of U.S. employers currently offer a general wellness program, up from 58% in 2008.

Wellness programs have become a staple benefit for companies large and small. Google, for example, offers employees an on-site clinic, fitness center, and healthy food options - just to name a few. But unfortunately, it’s all too common to see today’s innovative wellness programs operate on yesterday’s thinking concerning employee engagement.

Back in the 1970’s, the very first wellness programs operated on the notion that if you simply tell employees what to do to be healthier, they’ll do it. "Get more exercise and pay more attention to what you eat," they’d say, while plopping a pamphlet on your desk. From then and now, we’ve seen a flood of email tips, newsletters, and lunch and learns trying to tell us what we need to do to be healthier – all while chronic diseases rise at unprecedented levels. Thankfully, we’re much more knowledgeable about what truly motivates us and the understand the tactics that really stick when it comes to encouraging healthy choices and behavior.

One concept that’s bridging positive human behavior with employee wellness is gamification. Think of the last time you played a game you really enjoyed and won. How did you feel? Pretty amazing, right? There are a number of behavioral and motivational principles at play when we’re in play. For this reason, gamification fosters a symbiotic relationship between wellness and behavioral change. According to social scientist, Dr. Michael Wu, the principles of social gamification include "engagement, interaction, competition, collaboration, awareness, and learning." Imagine generating excitement by turning everyday activities into healthy challenges that are engaging and actionable.

Gamification in workplace wellness isn’t just transforming the way employees engage in their personal health; it’s transforming the way employee interact with one another. Interactive marketing firm NextJump added gyms to its offices and wanted to increase engagement. After applying gamification features like teams, leaderboards, and competition, engagement went from 12% to 70%. Talk about a game changer! Applying gamification to healthy behavior is just the start.

Companies are taking gamification to a whole new level and applying the concept to their entire wellness strategy. Innovative software is launching new levels of employee engagement that include wellness and incentive management programs. The most effective programs are designed to adapt to your company's brand and culture, provide a turn-key way to drive and automate your company's unique wellness strategy. Imagine your employee having access to their biometric data, track their fitness, and work towards better health in a fun and engaging way. Emerging research on gamification reveals that it can work as a powerful motivational technique, especially in the context of wellness.

Consider energizing your wellness strategy with social gamification to help improve productivity, longevity, and quality of life for your employees.

Contact us for more information about Wellness Programs!
Tatiana Spears

About The Author

Tatiana Spears

With an MBA mind for analysis and strategy development, Tatiana loves transforming creative ideas into practical application for innovative companies and professionals. She is also the proud owner of an overworked Nespresso machine.

Post Topics Workplace Wellness