Henry Albrecht, CEO of Limeade, Inc., suggests that Incorporating gaming techniques into company wellness programs can increase engagement, which is considered a necessary component of a successful wellness program, says Henry Albrecht, CEO of Limeade Inc.
“Games have the power to engage people at a deep level and shift their priorities toward the behaviors rewarded by the game,” Albrecht says. “As such, businesses are increasingly using games to train employees. When used in the context of a company-sponsored wellness program, games have the power to enable players to achieve lasting effects.”
According to Albrecht, there are three ways employers can use gaming techniques with wellness programs.
Allow for autonomy and voluntary participation
Employers with the most successful wellness programs integrate games that present themselves as in the service of the player and are supported by technologies allowing employees to engage in activities they’ve wanted to do but have not been able to participate.
Make it contextual, relevant and social
The games for wellness programs should be customized to the physical, cultural, technological, and social context of the employees. What works for active employees at a high-performance, dispersed company, such as REI, might not work for health care employees in a single setting, such as a hospital. The game techniques in a wellness program should be flexible that enables leaders within the company to create games that are easily accessed, tracked and are engaging.
Start with a light touch; build in depth
The games should be easy to play as well as entertaining because not every employee wants to engage in the wellness program each day. If too much is demanded early, participants could be overwhelmed by too much change. Still, the game should build in triggers and feedback loops that are designed to draw in players slowly and change their habits.
“While debate continues about social gaming’s ability to drive lasting behavior change, a growing number of companies can attest to the power of games — when included in a comprehensive customized wellness program — to drive engagement that yields results for their employees and their bottom line,” Albrecht says.