Employee-to-Employee Wellness Challenges #HalfBakedHR #HRevolution
by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, November 18, 2014
As noted before on the blog, Sir William Tincup and I had the honor of presenting a session at HRevolution on Half-Baked HR, a set of 40 HR ideas that are meant to challenge our expectations of what HR can be. These ideas aren't necessarily fully thought out and there may be a company out there that is already trying to carry the idea out, but it hasn't gotten much acclaim. Or, it was a miserable failure and deserves to be in the dustbin of history. Over the next couple weeks, I will share 10 of these half-baked ideas in a more fully developed form on the blog. Without further adieu....
Half-Baked HR Idea: Employee-to-Employee Wellness Challenges
Many organizations have adopted wellness programs in an effort to control health care costs. Healthier employees not only are more productive at work, but are less likely to be absent or get into accidents. However, several problems exist with the current iteration of wellness programs:
- Employees have to jump through a number of hoops to meet the requirements of the program
- You are already capturing a significant portion of individuals who are healthy and working out regularly
- Limited employee buy-in - terms of the wellness program are often dictated by the organization, with only a small amount of flexibility on the part of the employee on how to achieve the goals
- Rewards are not significant enough - will a t-shirt or a small gift card really change long-term behavior?
The Solution: Employee-to-Employee Wellness Challenges
As Robert Cialdini noted in "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion," loss aversion is critical: 'People seem more motivated by the the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.'
With that in mind, what really would move individuals to change their behavior is employer sanctioned employee-to-employee challenges. For example,
- John bets Tom that the loser of the wellness challenge has to wear a dress to work for a week.
- Amy bets Sue that the loser of the wellness challenge has to shave her head.
- Dave the Democrat bets Robert the Republican that the loser of the wellness challenge has to donate the value of a paycheck to the rival's political campaign.
Not only does this create buy-in on the part of the employee, the consequence has real teeth. Further, these bets would be public, meaning the loser couldn't back out without backlash from the group.
Now go out and challenge a fellow employee to improve their health.