Competition in the workplace had always existed, so including it in your corporate wellness program is a simple and super-smart strategy to boost participation and generate a ton of positive feedback. It's the perfect way to combine the trend of "gamification" with small incentives that can give employees defined goals, healthy competition and a true sense of teamwork.
1.) The Walking Competition
Kroger and General Mills came together to provide each department with the tools necessary for a company-wide "walking challenge." The contest encouraged participants to use a pedometer, which tracks the number of steps they take each day. Participants then logged their weekly progress on a website. The companies offered prizes to those that took the most steps each week. After 10 weeks, an overall winner was crowned and received a week-long stay at a health camp in Florida. In 2012, over 32,000 Kroger employees participated in its walking challenges, logging 3.7 million steps and losing 57,500 pounds in total.
2.) The Checklist Challenge
Have employees compete to complete a checklist of healthy habits. Award prizes for everyone who completes the list, but additional prizes for those that complete it first. Include things like getting your flu shot, completing your biometric screening, using the stairwell, eating a healthy lunch, going on a walking meeting, and other measurable wellness efforts.
3.) The Field Day
One of our favorite company wellness competitions involves hosting a full field day for your employees. Incorporate activities like Tug-of-War, Pass the Orange, horseshoes, water balloon toss, relay races, bobbing for apples, three-legged races and other traditional mini-competitions. Incorporate a healthy company picnic with your employees and a few other fun additions (a "Dunk the Boss" dunking booth always performs well) to create a full day of physical and social activities that everyone can enjoy.
4.) The Environmental Challenge
Recently, we attended a WELLCOM panel which focused on increasing physical activity in the workplace. One of our favorite suggestions was from Seldin Company, which talked about how it had hosted a contest to decorate its office. Seldin split up into two teams of employees, and each team was in charge of decorating one of the building's two stairwells. A winning team was declared and the entire company had a catered lunch to celebrate. The results of the design competition were bold, bright and encouraged people to actually use and enjoy these environmental features. Consider implementing a challenge like this in your hallways, break rooms, walking paths or other common areas.
5.) The Weight Loss Competition
Inspired by the success of the reality show "The Biggest Loser," weight loss competitions have been an increasing trend among corporate wellness providers. This is a great way to bring together a group of people who have a strong desire to lose weight for their health and happiness. Form teams of 2-10 people and have each one nominate a team captain. Hold weigh-ins on the same day each week in a private area of the office -- Fridays are a popular option, since people will feel less guilty about enjoying their weekends after they're happy with their Friday weigh-in. Record each participant's weight loss percentage, then declare a winning team and a winning individual at the end of the competion -- typically, these last about 4 to 8 weeks.
The most exciting part of this "gamification" trend is the new technology and online platforms available to help employees track their own progress and see how they stack up against their coworkers. A corporate wellness portal can offer a comprehensive solution for tracking incentives, recording healthy behaviors, creating action plans, managing events and more. The best part? A wellness portal can also allow you to create custom wellness challenges, so you don't have to worry about setting up and tracking the performance of your participants all on your own.
Which of these five health competitions would you be most likely to participate in? Tell us below!