Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota launched an online health and wellness competition with teams from large local employers including General Mills, Target, BCBS Minnesota and UnitedHealth Group. Employees are battling in three contests; to lose weight, be more active and eat healthier. Weight loss is center stage. In four weeks since the Challenge started, 10,000 employees have lost over 20,000 pounds.
Powering the Challenge
RedBrick Health’s Platform enables companies and their employees to engage in this competition through social networking, messaging, tracking and monitoring capabilities. As a first step, employees use their online tools to build their teams. Each employee contributes to his team by earning points for losing weight, engaging in physical activity (minutes) and following nutritional guidelines. Most employees recorded their results online. Although they can also enter their weight through their mobile phone. Employees closely watch the “leader board” on CompeteforHealth.org to monitor their progress.
As the Challenge heats up, employees turn their attention to their own physical activity and dietary decisions and post messages for their social network of team and company participants. In fact, there are thousands of posts already shared between teammates. The types of messages fall into seven different categories:
1. Goal Setting - I plan to lose three pounds to get to my ideal BMI. I will not eat desserts at the wedding this weekend. I am going to exercise five times a week.
2. Motivating - You can do it! Our Team is going to rock!
3. Praising - Congratulations on finishing the 5K! I knew you could make it the entire conference without eating a cookie! Thanks for bringing us all a healthy lunch!
4. Reminding - Don't forget to track your weight! Remember to join our team at the walking path this afternoon. Sign up for our Team by Monday!
5. Inviting - Who wants to join a softball team? Anyone want to sign-up for the half-marathon? Who wants to join me in losing five pounds over the next month?
6. Sharing (with links provided)- Have you seen these core exercises? Take a look at this marathon website. Try this new low fat dessert recipe.
7. Slipping-up - I fell off the wagon this weekend and ate poorly... I'll turn it around this week. I skipped exercising the past few days...I plan to restart tomorrow...sorry team.
There are several themes running through these team messages of camaraderie, accountability and support.
Extra Push from Multi-Company Challenges
“Although companies find different motivations for their specific populations, we do believe the multi-company competition is generating even greater engagement than a single company competition”, explains Eric Zimmerman, Chief Marketing Officer at RedBrick Health. “The differentiator is the additional leadership push we’re seeing in the multi-company competition. There’s a great deal of company pride at stake, especially when you have a public leader board posting your organization's progress versus your peers.”
Hear more about these social competitions taking place across and within employer organizations from Eric Zimmerman at the Healthcare Unbound Conference on my panel New Models for Leveraging Social Media for Consumer Engagement.