Workplace Wellness

10 Reasons Not To Use Excel For Your Company’s Step Challenge

Written by Amber

Step challenges (a type of wellness challenge) are a great way to promote fitness in any corporate wellness program. They are low cost and, if done correctly, can be very engaging and easy to participate in. You don’t have to be a fitness guru to participate in a step challenge and there are many ways to create one that fits your office culture. In an effort to trim the budget, some companies use Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of participants’ progress. Step challenges established in this manner are inefficient, and more costly than you think. Here are 10 reasons why you should reconsider using a spreadsheet to manage your company’s step challenge:

  1. It’s time consuming for administrators. Maintaining a spreadsheet can eat away at valuable HR time. Having employees email in their steps means it arrives in a variety of formats and at different times. That’s hours of work for an admin and it’s not fun. Also, as a non-essential program, it’s more likely to be put on the back burner or abandoned entirely. The high cost of an administrator’s time also means a far lower chance that the challenge will be repeated. If you are looking to explore wellness vendors to take away administrative work, please check out these 11 questions to ask your wellness challenge vendor.
  2. It’s time consuming for employees. Manually keeping track of steps and then sending them to HR is not a good use of employee time. It’s also hard to remember since it’s not a part of anyone’s routine (nor should it be). Want to see an example of a great user experience for employees? Check out how this construction company got it’s employees to walk 100,000 miles!
  3. It’s prone to errors and inaccuracies. Step trackers that don’t connect to a smartphone often reset step data on a daily or weekly basis.  That means older data frequently gets lost before it can be used. Some employees just guesstimate their steps, which defeats a lot of the purpose of the challenge. Regardless of how employees track their steps, they’re self-reported to HR on the honor system, which is prone to exaggeration and cheating. Once HR gets the data, there’s also the possibility that it won’t be tracked correctly in Excel, causing even further inaccuracies. The process is just fraught with opportunities for human error!
  4. It’s more difficult to study the data. Is the step challenge effective, or would a different fitness program be a better fit for your company? What’s the participation rate? Crunching the numbers is much more laborious in these instances.
  5. Any change to the challenge is a hassle. Want to change from individual challenges to a team challenge? Set daily goals? It definitely can be done via a spreadsheet, but with a lot more effort.
  6. There isn’t a visible way to see how employees rank. There’s no way for employees to see their progress in comparison to others and it can lead to decreased motivation! A recent study showed that when fitness results were compared on social media, participants were more active. The whole point of a challenge is to use competition and teamwork to push people to do more. How will that happen if they can’t see each other’s progress.
  7. There’s no gamification. Want to give bonus points on the weekends? Want to give badges or rewards or other bonuses? What about giving the people in the bottom quartile the ability to catch up? It’s all pretty difficult to do in a spreadsheet. Recurring engagement is absolutely essential for corporate wellness initiatives.
  8. There’s no communication strategy. Want to send a message to employees who aren’t keeping up? Want to send notifications mid-day to have an employee pick it up to meet their daily goal? How would you send a message to an employee letting them know that they were just overtaken on the leaderboard? It’s all nearly impossible in Excel.
  9. There’s much lower participation. Due to all the problems listed here, participants are less likely to join and more likely drop out of the challenge. What’s the point if participation is low? Here are the most common wellness challenge mistakes that you can avoid.
  10. It sends the wrong message. With so many companies using proper wellness programs, the lack of budget for a simple challenge sends the message that the company doesn’t actually care employee health and wellness. Up to date wellness programs are the one of the best ways to stay competitive in recruiting top talent! We’ve also created a guide for creating your best company fitness challenge ever to make it easy for you!

There’s a better way!

For the price of lunch, Incentfit can set up a fun and engaging step challenge in a snap with zero strain on your human resources. We handle tracking, communication, gamification, and all administration. To learn more, check out IncentFit Challenges!

Corporate Wellness Benefit Managers having a discussion while looking at an electronic tablet.

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