It’s no secret that healthy employees cost less. According to a recent Gallup poll, the cost of unhealthy employees is more than $153 billion annually in lost productivity. Gamification, introducing game-like elements and strategies, has been used in several different industries to help boost productivity and a company’s profit margin. But if you’ve ever been one of those people who has no motivation to exercise, eat properly, watch your personal BMI & cholesterol, etc., you won’t be motivated by most incentive programs. So how can employees use gamification to encourage and motivate people like this and others? It’s quite possible that employers can create a game to help motivate employees to be healthier, but it’s something that can’t be forced upon them. It’s also something that must be a lasting engagement and not be a short one-off, since that will only further disengage employees.
When developing any type of motivation program, it’s important to show the point and/or the desired end result of the engagement period. Without this, employees will feel as if there is no real purpose behind participating in the program, and it will turn out to be a waste of money for your company. Lower healthcare costs are tangible benefits that most employees will be drawn to, and they can be achieved through a gamification approach that inspires employee engagement. In order to successfully implement a program through gamification, it’s important to create a support system. When an individual isn’t personally motivated, tapping into some type of support system can help give them that extra push. For example, a busy parent might not be motivated to get healthier. But if they are doing it for their family, that support system is strong enough to make them participate in your program. When using gamification to increase healthcare compliance and motivate employees to be healthier, there are a couple things you should adopt.
Create “Braggable Moments.”
We’re not talking about in-your-face I’m better than you moments, but I am working to achieve better health, or Look at me! I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last 2 months moments. These can give employees the encouragement and push they need to go further in the program, and ultimately to live a healthier lifestyle. Being able to broadcast achievements and milestones helps everyone to be motivated to go to the next step and then the next, and ultimately to get into the best shape of their life. All of the fitness programs you see on television are motivated by milestones and being able to brag about it.
Create a Network Based on Encouragement.
All of the successful programs out there such as Weight Watchers are based on a network of encouragement. People encouraging other people creates a sense of comradery and a feeling that they are achieving a goal together and are not alone. It helps in multiple ways such as accountability, working out together, and sharing information about successes. If an employer can create a buddy system or a small internal network for employees to share their success stories or ask for help, their program will be much more successful. Is it possible to gamify healthcare? Yes. But in order to successfully implement any type of system, you need to make sure you have a strong foundation that encourages employee success. Use these building blocks we’ve come up to start the implementation of your gamification program. The game itself can be anything, but it must include these basic components in order to be successful.
Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of online skills testing for pre-employment assessment and benchmarking. Eric has degrees in Psychology and Business, and a fascination with matching people with roles they're best at, and that they enjoy.