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How To Plan and Launch a Successful Wellness Challenge for Your Employees

Do you want to host a wellness challenge for your organization but don’t know where to start? Look no further! In this week’s blog, we share our step-by-step guide for how to plan a wellness challenge that your employees will be talking about long after the challenge ends.

Corporate wellness challenges are a great way to help employees focus on their well-being, improve morale in the workplace, and increase connections between coworkers. But planning a successful challenge involves lots of choices. We’ve got you covered. Follow this template for how to plan and launch a wellness challenge for your organization.

Planning your wellness challenge.

Before you can implement a successful challenge, there must be a thoughtful planning stage. Here are some steps to establish a good plan for your challenge:

Step 1: Choose a wellness challenge topic.

The list of wellness challenge ideas is endless! Deciding which to implement depends on what’s important to your organization, its culture and values, as well as what’s meaningful to employees. Wellness challenges can focus on any dimension of well-being—from physical health to emotional health to financial wellness. Look at your organization’s health risk data to determine which topics may be most beneficial for your employees. Then, hold a brainstorming session with your team to develop a list of possible wellness challenge topics.

Step 2: Pick your challenge format and duration.

Challenges can be individual or team-based. If you opt for a team-based challenge, use a gamification approach by having different locations, departments, or regions compete against each other. If you plan to offer multiple challenges over the year, mix it up by offering an individual challenge one time and a team challenge the next time. You’ll also need to decide the duration of the challenge. This depends on the type of challenge you offer, but 30-day, two-week and even six-week challenges are popular.

Step 3: Determine which group or groups will participate.

Identify your audience for the challenge. Will all locations take part, or just one specific location? Are significant others and families invited to participate? This is also the time to ensure that the challenge is accessible to everyone—especially if you have dispersed teams, such as office and remote workers.

Step 4: Establish how to track activity.

If you’re using a wellness challenge platform, many challenges come with pre-established rules and timelines. These platforms can also make it easy to track progress, such as how many steps teams take every week or how people are reporting their data.

However, if you’re creating a homegrown challenge or planning on implementing a smaller challenge, you’ll want to establish your own metrics and how they’ll be tracked. For example, how often should employees record their progress? Daily? Weekly? Every two weeks? Will other forms of exercise, like biking, count in a steps challenge? If so, communicate the rules and where people can find tools to convert exercises to steps.

Step 5: Decide which rewards or incentives to offer.

Incentives encourage people to join and complete the challenge. For example, points through your well-being program, paid time off, a small token or gift card, an end-of-challenge celebration with healthy food, or a donation to a favorite charity can work. Like the challenge itself, incentives should match your organization’s culture and values.

Launching your wellness challenge.

After you’ve planned what you want to do and how you’ll motivate employees to participate, it’s time to launch! Here are the steps to implement your wellness challenge:

Step 1: Identify champions.

Are there people in your organization who are already passionate about well-being? Ask them to champion your wellness challenge. Champions can lead teams, encourage their colleagues to get involved, and keep everyone motivated.

Step 2: Create a communication plan.

Good communication is the key to a successful challenge.

  • BEFORE the challenge, get people excited using a variety of media—intranet, text, workplace social media, posters, flyers, and other communications.
  • DURING the challenge, talk it up at town hall meetings, update rankings, and keep the conversation going in chat groups. Your wellness champions can be a big help here.
  • AFTER the challenge, communicate results and thank everyone for participating.

Pro-tip: Use your communication plan to connect people to other relevant elements of your well-being program, like health coaching, health assessments, stress and resiliency resources, or financial wellness programs.

Step 3: Establish metrics.

Popular metrics include challenge registration numbers, completion rates, email open and click-thru rates, and year-over-year comparisons.

Step 4: Celebrate!

Formally recognize the end of the challenge with a fun in-person or virtual celebration to announce the results and award any prizes.

And finally, after the challenge has ended, send out a quick survey to help understand what worked, what didn’t, and what employees would like to see in the future. This is a great opportunity to get challenge ideas for the future, too!

For more ideas on wellness challenges that work, check out our comprehensive guide on how to set up a wellness challenge. And remember, at the end of the day, the most important thing about a wellness challenge is simply to have fun while doing something healthy for your body and mind!

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