Workplace Wellness

How to Run Your First Company Fitness Challenge

Written by Maria

Employers are frequently turning to wellness programs to decrease healthcare costs, in particular, fitness challenges. Fitness challenges encourage employees to track their physical activity and get to know their co-workers. However, to run these program employers sometimes subsidize or provide fitness trackers.

This approach, however, typically results in low engagement and a low return on investment. Many employees will feel like the program doesn’t target their activity level or type. Moreover, employees with very low activity levels will feel intimated, and will not participate in challenges. If administrators want to keep employees engaged, they need to master marketing, a time-consuming task. Additionally they may need to provide their own tech support–something no HR admin wants!

Beware of Bulk

Bulk purchasing wearables is an extremely pricey option. Let’s say your company has 100 employees and you want to invest in Fitbit’s wellness program. One option is to buy Fitbits and administer the program yourself. Fitbit places a minimum order of 100 on their bulk purchases. On average, fitness tracker companies will give a 20% discount on bulk orders. So, if your company orders 100 of Fitbit’s cheapest devices (the Zip at $59.99 per unit), then you are committed to a cost of $4,799.20. And this includes the bulk discount!

The hidden costs of administration

Moreover, if you don’t want to deal with the administration for the program–sending out emails, handing out devices, getting everyone set up on the platform, etc.–you will need to use a wellness program. A common option for employers buying Fitbits is to use the Fitbit Group Health products. Their platform costs between $10k and $17k per year, and lower cost plans cap the number of teams that can participate in challenges at 25. Overall, investing in wearable devices can put a small company back over $15k in most cases.

Company Fitness Challenges on a Budget

At IncentFit, we created a system around allowing employees to bring their own devices. This cuts costs of devices to zero, saving companies thousands of dollars. It also lets employees use their favorite device making implementation easier. The chart below is a cost comparison between IncentFit and Fitbit’s Group Health platform for a 100 person company.

Cost comparison between IncentFit Challenges and Fitbit Challenges

The underlying problem with running challenges using only one tracker, is that it is a one-size-fits-all solution. Not all employees want the same fitness tracker, and not all employees exercise the same way. Creating a wellness program that will target all employees–even the ones that smoke–is a challenge in itself. But looking for a more inclusive solution and leveraging employees’ pre-existing technology can help you overcome this challenge. At IncentFit we’ve created a tailored Challenges program that targets the activities employees love and encourages fitness at all levels–no matter what device you own!