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Trials and Triumphs of Employee Health and Wellness Challenges

How can you ensure your corporate wellness challenges are a success? CoreHealth Account Manager shares the insights he's gained from leading wellness providers and what they do to get it right.


This is Part 7 of a 10-part Must Have blog series on: Wellness Challenges and Engagement.

As an Account Manager for CoreHealth Technologies, I hear a lot of great information from our customers about the trials and triumphs (including some fantastic success stories) about employee health and wellness programs. A hot topic is always wellness challenges.

When our customers, leading wellness companies around the globe, ‘talk shop’ with me about wellness challenges, I get to hear all the great details about how successful a program is and sometimes hear about those that aren’t.

The million dollar question is:

How can you ensure your Wellness Challenge is a success?

Let’s begin by explaining what doesn’t work.

Why Wellness Challenges Fail

All too often, someone is tasked with bringing corporate wellness challenges to a company. Unfortunately, some important but inaccurate assumptions are made:

  • They have the time and resources to manage a challenge – Delivering successful wellness challenges take time and resources. Unfortunately, many organizations underestimate both. This includes marketing/promoting the challenge to employees, answering questions from participants and incentive management. It’s an ongoing process that needs the resources to achieve success.
  • Their workforce is interested in making positive strides towards improved health – While you would think most people want to be healthy and well, it’s not always as easy as it seems. It’s helpful to understand before you get started what motivates your workforce (you may be surprised), what programs are of interest, work schedules, who will help promote/champion, and the current state of health (you could get a benchmark to start with the help of a health risk assessment, employees surveys, lunch and learns, etc.).
  • The program is going to “run itself” - In other words, if they simply offer a wellness challenge, people will be engaged, motivated and whoever’s in charge can sit back and reap the benefits of their purchase. Wouldn’t this be wonderful? But, it’s not realistic.

This isn’t to say that these mistakes are obvious. We’ve all assumed something would be more self-sufficient or less time-consuming than it is at some point in our lives. A good example is the new real estate investor who buys a property and expects to sit back and make money. The truth is, it can be a lot of work and even require further funding than originally anticipated.

What about the companies that have been successful with their Wellness Challenges?

Essential Ingredients to Wellness Challenge Success

While there is a recipe for successful wellness challenges; in my experience, the essential ingredient shared by successful programs is:

The leadership team is invested in creating a culture of well-being that trickles down to the front line workers.

Think about it. If your CEO was leading the charge, wouldn’t you feel compelled to participate? And if the management team is empowered to promote a healthier lifestyle, then things like manpower and budget become less of an issue.

I’m a big believer in company culture, and the only way to instill a desirable culture in the workplace is with leadership buy-in and leading by example.

Challenge the CEO

One of my favorite examples of this is a customer who had the entire company compete against their CEO in a step challenge. Employees logged their steps or synced their wearable devices to our wellness platform and tracked their progress compared to the CEO via the leaderboard. People loved it! Your corporate wellness platform should include gamification elements to help make challenges exciting, fun and engaging.

Healthy Competition

This brings up another attribute of successful challenges: healthy competition. If you have multiple locations, I am confident there’s friendly competitiveness between these sites to determine the leader (bragging rights go a long way!). Leverage these types of situations to create a fun culture of healthy competition.

Know Your Workforce

It’s also important to understand your workforce demographics. You may be gung-ho about employee health and wellness, but that doesn’t mean your workforce is. For example, a blue collar environment may need to work on their nutrition. But after a long day of physical work, they may not be interested in learning about dietary habits, healthy recipes and cooking a meal when a pizza can be simply delivered to the door.

Employee Feedback

Finally, it’s important to solicit information before offering a wellness challenge.

  • Are they interested in making positive change? If not, why?
  • What sort of incentive would motivate them to participate?
  • What type of challenge would they gravitate more towards? 
Asking these questions beforehand can help ensure a successful program.

Challenge Templates Help

Ideally, your wellness technology vendor provides some out-of-the-box wellness challenges you can use as-is, edit or re-factor to create your own. Check out our catalog of wellness challenges for a preview.

Remember, a wellness challenge doesn’t run itself and the culture created by the leadership team are important factors to consider. If you can keep these points in mind, you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier group of employees.

Watch How CoreHealth Does Challenges

If new, engaging wellbeing challenges are part of your workplace wellness strategy, watch our video to see how CoreHealth puts you in full control to design your own or get started fast with existing templates. 

Watch Challenges Video NOW

Get Started with Wellness Challenges

The CoreHealth corporate wellness platform offers out-of-the-box wellness challenges or quickly create your own. Check out our wellness challenges catalog or request to see them in action with a demo.

Contact CoreHealth

About CoreHealth

CoreHealth Technologies Inc. is the leading corporate wellness platform trusted by more than 1000 organizations, ranging from medium-sized businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises. At CoreHealth, we believe that developing the best employee wellness programs is all about giving wellness companies the right code, design and access to the latest innovations. With the most customization, integrations and reliability of any software in its class, CoreHealth’s powerful platform lets users focus on growing great companies. For more information, explore the CoreHealth website