How to Set Up A Company Wellness Challenge

Here’s what top HR professionals know:

Underestimate the importance of employee wellness programming at your own peril.

Central in the arsenal of any company’s wellness programming should be a wellness challenge. And tools to make the challenges as inclusive as possible.

Inclusivity is something often missed; challenges shouldn’t just be for the active and already fit.

Studies show that employee wellness programming is key to attracting and retaining top talent, and creating a great culture. Research by Bersin by Deloitte shows that high-performing companies are 11 times more likely to have a broad wellbeing strategy.

According to Harvard Business Review, employers who have taken the time to invest in comprehensive health and wellness initiatives have witnessed a return of nearly 3-to-1 in money saved. An even more focused study demonstrated an ROI as high as 6-to-1. Those are numbers worth paying attention to.

Get your employees hyped about wellness with challenges! An office wellness challenge can be the cornerstone of a comprehensive wellness program, but only if the proper steps are taken to be sure it is executed successfully.

Effective wellness programs are built around activities that help employees adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. Work-site wellness challenges should be at the core of every successful wellness program. It’s not as simple as sending out bulk emails on an upcoming run and calling it a day. Wellness challenges need to be engaging.

Below are some tips on how to create the best wellness challenges for your diverse team.

Take A Grassroots Approach

To get started, form a wellness committee comprised of wellness-minded individuals who take pride in helping others become healthier. To keep this group of individuals on track during meetings and while planning your wellness events, be sure they are guided by a wellness mission statement. Learn more about creating a wellness mission statement that works here.
Listen to your team. Discover what kind of activities they enjoy or are interested in trying out. Use their thoughts and ideas when designing a program. What can you do to engage one or more of these popular interests? Are there options that can cater to everyone, regardless of what sort of activities they are interested in?
If you’re using a team communication tool like Slack, you can always use the poll bot within the Slack channel and have your employees vote on their favorite wellness activity.

Corporate Wellness Challenge Options

Your employees are a diverse group of people. There are various ages, fitness levels, and physical capabilities, so you’ll need to include some flexibility as you design your challenges.

This becomes even more difficult as your company grows (but that’s a good problem to have).
The end goal of any wellness challenge should be to create a vibrant and inclusive culture for your employees. At a larger company, a well designed wellness program can both encourage team bonding and also help employees to learn more about their diverse coworkers. Read more on why here.

When planing, keep in mind that some employees may not feel comfortable working out with their fellow team members in person, so options should be offered for them to participate in the challenge on their own time. Utilize a corporate wellness program that enables companies to provide this option to their employees anytime, anywhere.

Here are some ideas for company wellness challenges you can offer to employees.

Walking Challenge

Walking challenges are a great way to promote wellness and encourage increased exercise. There are a variety of ways to conduct a walking challenge. Check out this blog for 10 creative walking challenge ideas! Participants can earn a reward for having walked a number of steps each day for a period of time, or you can set up a raffle and award employees tickets for certain milestones they reach.

Wellness Bingo

This is a simple, fun activity that will encourage employees to dabble in new areas of wellness that they may otherwise have never tried. The rules are simple – it’s played just like BINGO! Your wellness committee can create a BINGO board (don’t forget the free space in the middle), each square will have a different wellness activity in it – or category of wellness. Participants will mark off square as they complete the activity. For each line they get they can be entered into a raffle for a prize!

Check out the card created by City of Richfield for their own BINGO challenge!
Each mini-challenge is designed to broaden your employee’s exposure to different areas of wellness and the resources that are available to them at your organization.

Daily Habits

Daily habit challenges are a great short term activity. Create a list of various healthy habits that participants can perform each day. Habits can be anything from making their own lunch, to taking a walk, to drinking water. Each behavior can even earn a raffle entry, with drawings at the end of the week for an overall winner. Shorter challenges like these are a great way to get participants motivated and bring to light healthier habits they may begin incorporating into their everyday life.

Bonus points: Incorporate these healthy habits checklists into your ongoing wellness programming for your employees! On Burnalong, employees are able to track these habits on a daily basis in order to help them stay on track with their health and wellness goals!

Team Wellness Challenge

Team challenges can lead to a sense of community and motivate employees to a common goal. Set large goals, such as walking 5,000 miles as a team. Keep track of group progress on a whiteboard, an award a healthy lunch party to the winning team. Everybody loves a friendly office competition!

Holiday Challenges

The holidays are a great opportunity to help employees refocus on the healthy habits that they should be maintaining, as well as help them to begin to focus on their resolutions for the coming year. Encourage a challenge centered around mindfulness and gratitude, so that they are able to fully embrace the holiday season, and what matters most to them.

Track Your Success

You’re going to need a way for your wellness committee to evaluate the success of the programs and challenges you choose to implement.
Ask employees for feedback after each challenge and engagement opportunity. What did they enjoy? What didn’t they enjoy? What do they feel is missing from the wellness programming being provided that they hope to see in the future?
All of the feedback you receive will help you to redesign all of your challenges for future use, as well as fine-tune the overall program to satisfy the needs of the employees and help to even further increase engagement. These results can also be used when reporting back to your C-Suite, to show the positive results your programming is having on the employee population.
Certain corporate wellness programs, such a Burnalong will report back to you on employee engagement, and take care of the statistics side of things for you. Compare your options for programs that could be implemented at your organization, and be sure to choose one that is the best fit for your company’s needs.


Gamification involves introducing gameplay elements to your challenges. Some of the more common ways to do this include creating badges (i.e. icons) or rewards that employees can unlock after reaching certain milestones.
Game mechanics on a digital platform can be incredibly motivating. They play on a person’s psychological need for achievement. You’ll come to learn that gamification is an amazing way to unlock the fire of friendly competition and increase participation throughout the company.

Engage Remote & Overnight Employees

Remote employees can be difficult to engage in a company’s wellness program. For those working on evening shifts, being a part of the nocturnal schedule can throw off circadian rhythms, making for poor sleep and difficulty feeling well-rested. Those working from home tend to remain disengaged and miss out on the vibrant culture of the company and all that it has to offer to the employees who are in the office each day.
Both circumstances can lead to employees being unhappy with their current jobs, and eventually seeking work elsewhere. Utilize your wellness programming to help ensure these employees feel as though they are part of the team by allowing them with something they can access anytime, anywhere and provides the content that they need to be healthy.

Learn more about how to keep remote employees engaged here.

Offer Mini Challenges Employees Can Complete Independently

Not all wellness challenges have to be a major event or group challenge. Successful programs offer a variety of options. Challenges such as step goals, nutrition goals, and so on do not need to be connected or associated with an event, but instead managed and handled entirely by the employee themselves as they keep track of their own personal progress. This will allow them to feel involved, while developing their own set of healthy habits.

Make Accessible Anywhere

Online wellness platforms are simple and easy to use, highly customizable, and allow employees to have control over their personal preferences and health journey. Provide remote employees with the freedom to access the content that appeals to them the most, when it is most convenient to them. Programs such as Burnalong offer points for certain challenges and activities and offer prizes at specific benchmarks. These benchmarks will encourage employees to keep striving for higher levels of prizes and their self-motivated successes will require minimal supervision on the leadership team part.


What sort of challenge is ideal for your organization will vary based upon the specific goals and needs of your company. No two cultures are the same, and every employee has their own unique set of goals.

If you are ready to start implementing affordable, engaging, and result driven social wellness challenges, contact Burnalong for a free demo and guidance on setting up a successful wellness challenge that is sure to engage your diverse population. Time to start motivating your team through inclusive wellness challenges!

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