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Ways Wellness Challenges Can
Benefit Your Organization

Good health and well-being doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes sustained effort, the right tools, and a healthy dose of motivation. That’s where wellness challenges come in—providing that extra little boost to help people stay engaged in their well-being journey. Read on for ways to reap the benefits of wellness challenges for your organization and tips on how to plan them.

What are wellness challenges?

Wellness challenges are events that focus on specific areas of well-being for dedicated periods of time. They give people the structure and support they need to make positive changes while having fun. Challenges can be done individually or as part of a team. The challenge can focus on many different things—from physical health to mental health to social connectedness. Wellness challenges usually come packaged and ready to go in a fun and supportive way that makes people want to get involved.

What are the steps to create them?

Ask yourself these six questions to create a wellness challenge that works for your organization:

1. What wellness topic will you focus on?

At WebMD Health Services, we offer a variety of ready-to-go wellness challenges that support different wellness topics. For example, you can promote increased physical activity, better nutrition, stress reduction, better hydration, better sleep, and much more. We can also work with clients to create custom challenges that support their organization’s well-being goals and values. If you’re stuck on which topics you want your population to work on, check out our wellness challenge ideas.

2. Which group or groups will participate?

Will all locations take part, or just one specific location? Are spouses who have access to your well-being program allowed to participate, or just active employees? Clearly identify your audience for each challenge.

3. What challenge format will you offer?

Challenges can be peer-to-peer or team-based events. You can even get some healthy competition going by having different locations or teams to compete against each other. It’s a good idea to mix it up by offering a peer challenge one time and a team challenge the next time.

4. How will you spread the word?

Good communication is the key to a successful challenge—before, during, and after. Use a variety of media—intranet, text, workplace social media, posters, flyers, and other forms of communication—so you can reach all types of audiences and get them excited about participating.

5. What metrics will you use to track results?

Determine what information you want to track and set up a tracking tool. For example, many of our clients look at challenge registration rates, completion rates, and year-over-year metrics to analyze their populations’ engagement.

6. What rewards or incentives will you offer?

Incentives tend to be financially-based, like gift cards or medical premium discounts. But you can also use things like paid time off to reward people for well-being program engagement and progress.

What are the benefits of wellness challenges?

Wellness challenges benefit both employees and the organization. Done right, they can:

Increase engagement with a well-being program.

A wellness challenge can be a gateway to all the great resources your well-being program provides. For example, when participants log on to record their steps or water intake, they’ll see other programs they might benefit from. It can also help motivate them to continue improving their well-being over time. For example, if a person joins a steps challenge, they may start conversations with a health coach to learn how to keep the momentum going even after the challenge ends.

Provide ongoing motivation and accountability.

We all know that we’re more likely to meet a goal if we write it down and share it with others. Wellness challenges do just that—keep us honest with ourselves and, depending on the nature of the challenge, with coworkers. Plus, when people go through the challenge together, there’s a greater sense of motivation and accountability to work on and complete your goals.

Boost social connection.

Relationships with coworkers can affect our overall well-being, including stress levels, productivity, and happiness.1 Wellness challenges are a great way to increase camaraderie and get coworkers to bond while working toward a common health goal. Most challenges can be structured so that anyone can participate, whether they’re working in the office or remotely.

Enhance the culture of well-being.

People are becoming more selective about the kind of employer they want to work for and often choose jobs based on more than just pay or the role. Regular wellness challenges demonstrate to prospective employees that well-being is an organizational priority. Strengthening a culture of well-being through challenges also increases engagement, productivity, and retention of existing employees.

Help people improve the quality of their lives.

Wellness challenges have something for everyone. New exercisers can start a habit in a non-threatening, fun way, and regular exercisers can benefit from increased social interaction with coworkers. If the challenge gets people outdoors, all the better—spending time in nature lowers stress and is an instant mood-booster. Challenges also give people a sense of purpose and accomplishment, which can positively impact our mental health.

Need help planning your next wellness challenge? Visit our website or contact us at Also, be sure to check out next week’s blog for some great wellness challenge ideas—including some you’ve likely never even considered!

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