Friday, January 22, 2016

Twenty Tips to Maximize Your Investment in Wearable Activity Trackers for Corporate Wellness Programs

It is estimated that by the year 2018, more than 13 million wearable fitness tracking devices will be incorporated into corporate wellness programs, up from 200,000 in the year 2013.

  • 80% of employers with more than 1,000 employees, and 44% of employers with 50-999 employees provided some form of corporate wellness program (2012).

But, there's a downside.  Once the "newness" of the "cool" gadget has worn off, as many as 50% of individuals discontinue use of their activity tracker after 3-6 months.  (It is important to note that this statistic is about overall fitness tracker devices, not specifically about devices used in a corporate wellness program, that might offer additional programming, and ultimately affect usage longevity. Simply stated, individuals who purchase a device on their own, may not be in the right stage to adopt new behaviors, may not understand technology or how to use the device to maximize it's benefits, and may not have a coach or someone to help guide and motivate them.)

So, when a corporation decides to provide wearable fitness devices to its' employees, some thought should definitely be given to how to maximize the investment and health outcome for the employees.  Here is my list twenty top tips for getting the most out of activity trackers in a corporate wellness program, whether you're just getting started with a new program, or you need to breathe new energy into an existing program.

Twenty Tips for Maximizing Wearable Activity Trackers in a Corporate Wellness Program

  1. Strive for 100% "opt in" to your wellness program.
  2. Start simple, then, build more advanced products into your program.
  3. Keep it simple and focus on one wellness initiative at a time (i.e. steps).
  4. Be inclusive and include every location, every employee, and every ability.
  5. Include a fitness device as part of new employee orientation.
  6. Get the family involved and include free (or reduced price) activity trackers for spouses/partners - even friends!  Do this because you help build a strong community and built-in support system.
  7. Make it fun for everyone. 
  8. Introduce monthly themed competitions to keep it interesting.
  9. Get Management involved and participating actively.
  10. Tap into competition with "beat the boss" or departmental competitions!
  11. Make it personal to your facility and post steps to the parking lot, around campus, to the cafeteria, and through the halls to encourage "more".
  12. Increase goals to drive excitement and keep momentum.
  13. Reward improvements - it helps level the playing field.
  14. Reward participation at every level.
  15. Send out company invites to walk before or after work, during lunch, and/or for mid morning or late afternoon walks to re-energize.
  16. Think "outside the box" and try new ways of doing old things.  Try "walking meetings" instead of sitting in an office and/or friendly sports activities (basketball, indoor soccer, classes) instead of going to a bar or restaurant after hours.
  17. Reward participation and improvement with certificates of achievement.  They matter.
  18. Offer the unexpected, such as a raffle for a big cash prize, with "tickets" bought through  participation and/or improvement.
  19. Focus on intrinsic goals, because people really do want to get healthy and feel better (with or without incentives).
  20. Reach out to "inactive" participants and offer to help.
As a bonus, I have one more tip that I think can make or break a corporate wellness initiative.
Make healthy snacks free and convenient. Make unhealthy snacks fee and inconvenient.
Seriously, if you had to take the stairs two flights up to get to the vending machine for your sugary drink and processed snack, you might actually think twice about it.  Chances are, you'd opt to walk to the corner office for the healthy snack.  (Studies have actually shown that it's not the food that most employees crave, but the potential for social interaction, a "stretch" and a little break from  their computer or desk.)

Finally, if you'd like any information on creating a successful wellness program for your school, community or corporation, please send me an email at, or call 630-302-3470.  Collaborating with several other partners, I am happy to provide a proposal to suit your budget and your needs.  Our programs work across a wide selection of technology (Fitbit, Garmin, Fitlinxx, Polar) and are a complete wellness solution.  

Living 365fitt,


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