September 14, 2021

Corporate Wellness: How Gamification Can Transform Your Program

Smiling woman wearing scarf with cell phone

When working to get buy-in for a corporate wellness program, people can be loosely categorized into three groups: those who are enthusiastic to participate, those who are ambivalent, and those who show no interest at all in participating. 

The bulk of your efforts will likely go toward encouraging the latter two groups to participate in various wellness initiatives. While you can use the enthusiastic group to influence and urge participation, there is a way to use technology, as well. 

Gamification can be a transformative tool for helping people to form new, healthy habits. Read on to learn exactly what gamification is, and how it can drive engagement in your wellness program.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the process of taking aspects of game play, such as point scoring, competition and rule structures, and applying them to a task or action in order to produce a desired result. 

Gamification can be used as a way to motivate people by offering incentives, such as earning points towards rewards, earning larger rewards, and engaging in or winning a competition. It can also be used to add a sense of fun to an activity that otherwise wouldn’t be fun, which can help to motivate people who aren’t driven by competition but rather are motivated by deriving enjoyment from a task. 

Gamification and Forming New Habits

The idea that it takes 21 days to form a habit is not quite accurate. A 2009 study found that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, with an average of 66 days before a new behaviour becomes automatic. And that is at the core of what a habit is all about—an action that is automatic and doesn’t require excess thought or effort.  

Importantly, what this study also makes clear is that new habits do not form quickly.  That is one reason why gamification is so important.  We need the motivation to stay committed to our healthy behaviours over time until they become automatic and gamification creates this “stickiness”.  Gamification works in part by appealing to the reward centre of the brain. You do a thing, get a reward, and the brain releases feel-good chemicals.  It is this cycle that can be used for beneficial purposes, like creating new, healthy habits.

Mobile apps built using game theory can be very successful in encouraging people to create new habits.  Together, unlocking points, earning badges, climbing leaderboards and completing goals show user progress in order to maintain participation and drive behaviour change..

Gamification - Moving Beyond Activity Tracking

There are plenty of apps and products on the market that incorporate elements of gamification to promote healthy activity, for example, Fitbit, Garmin and Apple Watch. One common thread between these companies is awarding badges or virtual awards for reaching milestones of activity, and sending notifications when certain goals—such as 10,000 steps in a day—are achieved.  However, to achieve the results those seeking a corporate wellness platform are looking for  - company culture building; measurable insights; integrated Health Risk Assessment; custom notification and personalized goals - more is needed.

Sprout At Work™ takes game theory, syncs activity tracking and wearable device data and uses cognitive behavioural science and behavioural economics to drive personalized user experiences and engagement.  Sprout’s purpose built features are designed to engage employees, regardless of where they are on their wellness journey and provide recommended goals and content to empower change.  Our gamified platform experience is then supported by our team of experienced wellness and behavioural change experts who provide each Sprout client with best practices, communications, and tailored programming to ensure quick adoption and ongoing participation in their wellbeing platform. 

To find out more about how Sprout At Work can help improve company wellness at your organization, book a discovery call today.

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Topic(s): Sprout At Work , Featured

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