Rivalry in the workplace is nothing new, so the idea of pitting employees against each other as part of corporate wellness programs was bound to find its way into HR strategies.
The “gamification” movement, according to those on the front lines, is spreading fast as a way to help curb employers’ rising health care costs.
Employer use of cash, gift cards and other prizes to reward employees who quit smoking or lose weight has risen 69 percent since 2009, according to a 2012 survey of 512 employers by the National Business Group on Health and Towers Watson, the New York-based HR consulting firm.
Team-based corporate fitness challenges, including weight-loss competition and 10Ks, work especially well at encouraging greater participation, said Andrea Meyer, benefit manager at WorkSmart Systems, a professional employer organization in Indianapolis.
Recording devices, such as those put out by Fitbit, are helpful for these competitions, Pronk said.
These devices are generally inexpensive and help cut errors that can come with self-reporting. With a recording device, an employer can create an group report that shows how much activity employees are actually completing.