Studies show that compared to everyone else across the globe, Americans tend to be on the heavier side of being overweight. While this poses significant health issues to individuals, it also affects employers in many ways.
Reports suggest there has been only a 6% rise in US healthcare costs, compared to the 12% in the earlier decades. Previous studies show that for every wellness dollar spent towards the corporate wellness programs, there was an ROI of $4. Also, while the employee wellbeing programs cost an average of just $36 – $90 per employee annually, the employer-sponsored healthcare and insurance costs were around $14,800 per employee.
This notable difference is because many companies have started implementing corporate wellness programs that work to improve employee health and wellness.
Having a good employee wellbeing program is an efficient way to reduce their healthcare costs. However, for the wellness program to be effective, it must have high employee engagement rates. Gamification is one of the effective employee engagement strategies that engage employees and keep them steady through the wellbeing program.
What is Gamification for Employee Wellness Programs?
Gamification involves using incentives, competitive mechanics, and other techniques to drive engagement and achievement. Almost 59% of employers agreed that employee wellness programs have had a positive impact on the lives of their workforce, and 62% said that they implemented gamification methods to engage their employees.
Workplace wellbeing programs can be gamified in many ways –
- Implementing team challenges to drive competitiveness
- Giving wearables, fitness devices, and apps to employees to encourage tracking activity
- Including rewards and incentives on achieving milestones or completing challenges
- Conducting quizzes on health and wellness-related topics
Designing and implementing a corporate wellness program can be quite daunting. However, once the wellness program modules are designed and the business goals are clear it becomes simple to including gamification techniques in the corporate wellness programs.
Benefits of Gamification In Corporate Wellbeing Programs
Good gamification techniques appeal to the employees and they participate in the employee wellness programs voluntarily and actively. They form stronger teams, make healthier choices, and progress towards their wellness goals. With easy access to wearables, fitness devices, tracking apps, and other corporate wellness technology, instituting a suitable corporate wellness program becomes easier and provides many benefits.
Here are a few of the wellness benefits provided by gamification of the corporate wellbeing programs –
Reduced Healthcare Costs
Studies predict a 5.3% increase in employee healthcare costs in 2021. Employees with unhealthy habits are usually more likely to add to the increasing healthcare costs. Studies show that obese Americans spend almost 36% more amount on healthcare costs and 77% on medicines than healthy people. They are also 20 times more likely to acquire diabetes, hypertension, cancer, asthma, or other chronic diseases. Similarly, individuals who lead a sedentary lifestyle without much physical activity are more prone to health risks.
Employers can gamify the workplace wellbeing programs by including relevant wellness challenges ideas to keep them physically active, smoking cessation programs to help quit smoking, and likewise. Employees can be rewarded with incentives or reward points upon completing the program or the wellness challenges. When the wellness programs activities become habits, it reflects in better health and reduce healthcare costs.
Higher Employee Productivity
When employees are sick or unhealthy, they are either physically or mentally absent at work. These absenteeism or presenteeism rates have a huge impact on employee productivity and workplace wellness. CDC reports an annual $1,685 per employee of lost productivity due to health issues. Most of these health concerns were lifestyle-related and can be prevented with a well-suited employee wellness program. With the right gamification techniques, employee engagement can be ensured. $1,685 per employee When employees are sick or unhealthy, they are either physically or mentally absent at work.
Studies show that making few changes to lifestyle habits can save up to $730 billion in healthcare costs. Gamifying the employee wellbeing programs can help in improving lifestyle habits that reduce healthcare costs and boost workplace productivity. Regular physical activity and maintaining healthy habits can also prevent age-related mental slowdowns, preserving employee mental skills for a longer time, helping toward better holistic health and productivity.
Better Workplace Culture
A strong workplace culture can boost social wellness. Gamifying the corporate wellness program can build stronger teams and improve the sense of community. With the right gamification and employee engagement strategies, the employees will be involved well and work together to achieve their wellness goals. Team challenges with incentives and prizes are a great of encouraging social wellness. When employees know that their group has to compete against another to win rewards, more team members will participate in the wellness challenges and try to achieve the set goals. This will bring individual employees, teams, and the whole organization together.
When the corporate wellness programs have the right gamification techniques and employee engagement strategies, employees can have a lot of fun at work, thus improving their health and productivity.
By gamifying the workplace wellbeing programs, the healthy habits programs and wellness challenges can be made into easily achievable and intriguing activities. They encourage employees to participate in the corporate wellness programs and actively achieve their wellness goals by completing the various wellness challenges and corporate wellness activities, and develop new, healthier habits.