How to launch a successful corporate wellness challenge

Have you tried to run a corporate wellness challenge and, well, it didn’t go as planned? You aren’t alone.

There are a wide variety of challenges you can implement that support sleep, physical activity, mental health, nutrition, gratitude, relationships, financial literacy, and lifestyles. Really, there are almost endless options.

But in order to reap the benefits of wellness challenges, it does require planning and best practices. We’ve put together seven proven strategies to make your wellness challenge successful in this full report. 

For today, we are going to focus on two strategies: inclusivity and knowing your population. 

Make your corporate wellness challenge inclusive

26 percent of adults in the United States have some type of disability and require varying levels of adaptive support or programming. Additionally, an estimated 31 percent of people who are disabled, aged 16-64, were employed in 2021. 

While your specific population might vary, it is imperative that you offer wellness challenges that promote inclusivity and belonging. This is vital to promote healthy cultures that promote equitable access to health tools and encourage connection amongst colleagues.

A few tips to keep your challenge inclusive:

  • Choose goals that do not rely on a specific ability (i.e. steps challenges)
  • Highlight activities that range in duration so all levels can participate
  • Track activity and progress in a single tool vs. separating each activity
  • Encourage multiple types of activities that qualify for engagement
  • Celebrate all participation across your population throughout the challenge

You can still choose a challenge that focuses on a singular, more inclusive theme, but be mindful that everyone can participate. 

We’ve found that healthy habit themes such as water intake or meditation can still be inclusive but focused. All it takes is a little creativity! 

This eases us into our next strategy for success since even the most inclusive challenge might not fit all departments. 

Know your population

Imagine this: You’ve launched a steps challenge and most departments are engaged, posting updates, and participating in some healthy competition amongst themselves. 

But you notice that the manufacturing teams haven’t posted a single update. You know that they also have access to the same trails around the office and that their managers have expressed a desire to improve the health of their teams. 

Why aren’t they engaging in your wellness challenge? 

This happened to us with a large corporation when they launched a company-wide wellness challenge one summer. We did a little digging to find out why. 

As many manufacturing teams are on their feet all day, a walking challenge was the last thing they wanted to do. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to engage, nor that they lacked the time, it was the activity itself that didn’t resonate with the department. 

Instead of a walking challenge, our client shifted to focus on a water intake challenge, then a mindfulness challenge, then a stretch challenge.

We learned the value of knowing your population and customizing challenges to fit specific departments when needed. When needed, segment your population so that the challenge is relevant, adapted to their needs/schedules, and shakes up their regular routine.

What’s next?

Running a corporate wellness challenge can reap a lot of benefits but also be taxing on HR teams. This is where we can help! 

Burnalong not only has monthly wellness challenges we run for our clients but we also do multiple corporate challenges throughout the year that make a big impact. In fact, we’ve seen 18% more engagement from users in their first three months when they have a wellness challenge to join. 

It gets even better…we’ve seen that when a company promotes a challenge AND a wellness program, there is nearly 40% more engagement in the first few months. 

If you are looking to increase employee engagement with your corporate wellness challenges, we’ve got proven strategies to make sure that your challenges are a success. For both you and your employees. 

Let’s chat to see how we can support your efforts and improve employee health this year. If you want to learn the other five strategies (and get some bonus tips), download our full wellness challenge guide too. 

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