26 Mar/ Treat Yo’Self

by Mike Tinney

Wellness is a funny industry. It’s full of big game hunters and connected veterans. People often make decisions based on prior relationships, and they go after the biggest sales and contracts. As total outsiders to this industry, FIX spent it’s first couple of years watching these “adults” from the proverbial kids table.

“As it turns out, the head of HR for the local Trader Joes cares just as much about the dollars they spend on their staff of 45 as Coca-Cola or Delta does, sometimes more.”

 

The thing is, though, when we entered the market we got a BUNCH of inquiries for challenges from small businesses (i.e. companies with less than 100 employees). We still do. It was difficult to accommodate those challenge requests, though, as there’s a certain market value associated with the budget for health, usually $12 – $30 per year per employee (which is shamefully low, but more on that in another post). If you have a company of 100 people or less with a budget of $1200, it’s hard to make that work from an ROI perspective. But as it turns out, the head of HR for the local Trader Joes cares just as much about the dollars they spend on their staff of 45 as Coca-Cola or Delta does, sometimes more.

These sales take just as long to close, and the service expected is very similar to what a mid, large or jumbo employer expects. As a result, most of our peers/competitors in the wellness space ignore these small employers. They can’t find a profit in them…

You can spend X amount of time and energy servicing a 45 employee company and making $900… or you can spend that same amount of time and energy on an 800 person company and make $10K-$15K… or you can spend 3x the time and energy on a jumbo and make a six figure sale. It’s a very real, and very frustrating reality of the math.

We tried to accommodate walking challenges for small companies for years in the form of shared challenges, where we’d run multi-employer challenges once per quarter. These challenges would allow a small employer to “group up” with other small companies. They could combine their buying power, and in doing so, get a challenge at the same cost as a mid sized company. There were trade offs, though. You had to start on a predetermined challenge start date, whereas bigger companies could choose their own date. You had to share the challenge and chat room with strangers from other companies, where bigger companies had their own private instance. The data mixed together with participants from multiple groups, whereas larger private groups could get detailed reporting with data just for their group. It was OK, but not great.

Small Business Health Challenges

“The wellness industry, to date, has been leaving 48% of the market ON THE TABLE because it hasn’t collectively figured out how to deliver services to them in a cost effective manner.”

Here’s the thing, though. The U.S. Small Business Association shows that Small Businesses make up 99.7% of all U.S. companies, and those companies comprise 48% of the U.S. workforce. WOW. The wellness industry, to date, has been leaving 48% of the market ON THE TABLE because it hasn’t collectively figured out how to deliver services to them in a cost effective manner. And while the industry chases the jumbo employers with their RFP’s and specialty contracts, it leaves approximately half of America’s workforce unsupported. Holy cow, that’s a lot of unsupported lives.

So we rattled around that a lot at FIX, and last fall our tech and ops teams said “!@#$ it, let’s just automate this whole process for them so that any group, of any size, can create challenges on their own.” So they did.

Now, any small employer, from an office of 1 up to a group of 300, can go onto our website and choose from any of our walking challenges and their respective difficulty levels. The HR person or company owner simply picks out all the settings they want for their private (only for their employees) challenge, including start date. They can copy and paste employee email addresses in (just like with Mailchimp) and swipe a credit card. Then our servers go to work with the automation: they email challenge invitations to the staff of the company and spin up the challenge automatically. Lastly, it’s our accounting department who rings the sales bell, because we’ve sold services to the secret part of the market no one else seems to care about.

And then, in as little as 1 week, the zombies attack Andy’s Goodyear Tire Center, and the employees are on the move! The beauty is, it happens automatically, at one of the lowest prices on the market. Want to try if for yourself? Head over to our Self Service Challenge Portal and enter the code APR_BLOG5 for 5 free challenge seats. Treat Yo’ Self!

Until next time,

Mike

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Employee engagement is a hot topic for HR departments across the U.S.

According to Gallup only 15% of employees are engaged in their jobs. That leaves a sobering 85% of the workforce who are functioning below their potential, which affects both their value to their employers and the sense of fulfillment they derive from their jobs.

Digging deeper, the cost of disengaged workers is approximately $1 trillion (yes, with a T) a year.

So what can employers and leaders do to counteract this situation? The first step is to work towards creating a strong company culture. The changing nature of modern work and employees’ evolving needs calls for leadership not to just be “the boss,” but to adopt the role of “coach.” Employees are looking for ongoing validation, a deep sense of purpose, and continuous personal and professional feedback, starting right now.

At the same time, HR professionals are charged with improving employee health (and limiting healthcare costs), stepping up employee engagement and improving productivity.

Research shows that highly inclusive companies are correlated to better business decisions. One of the major strategies to build a diverse and inclusion-oriented culture is to embed this kind of thinking into all activities, both in and out of the office. So mailroom to boardroom, tie on your shoes and get ready to rock the office walking challenge together.

Here are 8 reasons your company should do a walking challenge.

8 Reasons Your Company Should Do a Walking Challenge

Reason #1: Turn Groups of Individuals Into Teams
A healthy spirit of competition can bring out grit and determination. Individuals with these traits are valuable to a business, but an entire team with these traits can change the bottom line. In complex business environments, great teams don’t just materialize out of thin air by putting a group of individuals together; there has to be coalescence, where all members are working together toward the same goal as one.

Getting teams to this point is key, because once a group of contributors learn how to tackle problems as a team, it can be the “secret sauce” to meet goals. A team-based step challenge at work provides an ideal event that helps teams learn to work together toward a goal. “Today, we conquer the office step challenge, but tomorrow we’re going to crush the competition!”

Reason #2: Setting Goals in a Low Stakes Situation Prepares for Higher Stakes Later
People are more likely to follow through on objectives that they set for themselves. The office walking challenge isn’t your annual performance plan, but it’s a good exercise in setting SMART goals.

Employees Develop Healthy Habits During a Walking Challenge

Reason #3: They Help Employees Develop Healthy Habits
Using The Outbreak as an example, it’s a walking challenge designed using the psychological “tricks” that the video game industry uses to get people addicted (yes, gaming addiction is now classified as a disorder by the World Health Organization).

It’s also carefully timed, at 6 weeks, to be just long enough to engage people and develop habits, but not long enough for people to get burned out. Getting into the routine of walking and building new patterns takes a couple of weeks. At first you dread the interruption of your day, you flail through the motions, then a placeholder gets put in your schedule, then you find yourself regularly participating or even anticipating your next move.

Corporate gamification has been identified as a key developing area for engagement of millennials, who now make up the biggest portion of the workforce, making a game-based step challenge at work a “kill two birds with one stone” solution.

Reason #4: Support From Teammates Fosters Success
When you join the office walking challenge, you do so with other people, forming teams and competing against other teams. Research shows that people who have workout partners succeed in their fitness and weight-loss goals MUCH more often than those who go it alone. People don’t want to let down the team, right?

Positive Feedback Loops Help Engage Employees

Reason #5: Positive Feedback Loops Help Engage
Goal setting is an innate benefit of any company walking challenge because it gives milestones to celebrate along the way. Employee research indicates that meaningful and frequent feedback is necessary to employee engagement. So, celebrate the wins!

Reason #6: An Opportunity for Education
As we outlined above, a game-based challenge can be addictive and habit forming. This provides an ideal opportunity to “strike while the iron’s hot” with supplemental healthy education. Consider tips on eating healthy, new ideas for extending workouts, or challenges like hiking, in-line skating or cross country your employees haven’t looked at before. For many, the biggest obstacle to exercise and healthy diet is simply getting started, and a walking challenge provides a great way to get the ball rolling.

Reason #7: Fun!
Regardless of background, walking is a given for most people, and everybody enjoys having fun, so mixing the two in a team-based competition makes sense as a starting point for common ground.

You can ramp up the fun with a game-based solution like The Outbreak, where in addition to walking there are elements of being chased by a zombie horde, scoring points for zombie kills, and strategy for staying human (or trying to convert the rest of the humans if one is turned into a zombie).

There’s a certain sense of excitement as you and your fellow competitors escape a close call with a zombie obstacle. In addition to the obvious health benefits, it builds camaraderie with people and forms a new matrix of relationships. There’s something about infecting the boss that can bring out a sense of humor. Join in, infect a few people, and enjoy the company!

Reason #8: Save Money
Studies show that for every dollar you spend on health intervention, you’ll see $6 in healthcare savings. A healthier employee base reduces absenteeism and healthcare utilization, costing less.

It’s not just health, coming full circle, well engaged employees outperform disengaged employees, to the tune of 12% better, according to this study.

If you’d like to read more about the financial benefits of a walking challenge to your company, check out this wellness ROI case study.

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by Mike Tinney

Savvy buyers of our service often ask me, “what’s the thing people don’t like about your service?

It’s a great question, and I love answering it.

Had you asked me two years ago I’d have told you the biggest challenges our company faced were all related to our tech. It was young and had the kind of growing pains you’d expect of something forging new ground and using fitness trackers in ways they hadn’t been used before. It would sync steps with good, but not great consistency. It would crash unexpectedly. It would send queued notifications most of the time, but occasionally they’d disappear into the aether without a trace.

In spite of all of that, our engagement and completion results far outclassed the industry, and we had good user satisfaction and decent repeat business. Then we raised additional capital, rebuilt our tech from the ground up and hardened it to the point where it purrs along like a finely tuned engine. Tech problems? No more. But now we have a new problem…

You guys.

Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. The number one complaint we get now during our walking challenge is… other people in the challenge. Accusations of other participants cheating are common. There have been times we’ve had to evict players (with our client’s permission of course), but it’s more than that. Our game makes people competitive, and depending on your company culture that can “inspire” different kinds of behavioral escalations.

“Then we raised additional capital, rebuilt our tech from the ground up and hardened it to the point where it purrs along like a finely tuned engine. Tech problems? No more. But now we have a new problem… you guys.”

 

Players really get into our challenges.

There’s the good kind of escalations. We hear stories all the time of teams forming IRL walking clubs and organizing group workouts. We get videos of meetings where half the room is standing and moving. We’ve even had reports of employees buying mini treadmills for their desks so they can get steps while they work.

On the other hand, there are a ton of ways to cheat. Not just in our challenge, but in every walking/health challenge out there. The New York Times did an article on it a few years ago. I can open up my Fitbit app right now and tell it I walked for 2 hours. My Fitbit is on my wrist most of the time, but it’s also VERY trusting. It takes me at my word. “You’re telling me you walked 2 hours, Mike, and I missed it? OK, I trust you. I’ll count the steps.” And so it does. And then it sends those steps to The Outbreak and we count them in the game, because, at that point, they look just like any other steps.

Walking Challenge Cheating

As you’d imagine, the prevalence of actual cheaters is far less than the perception of them. We’re talking a fraction of a percent do anything shady enough to be noticed, and avid runners can (and do) easily create false positives. Nevertheless, we consider it a real problem because the appearance of cheating, whether real or imagined, discourages players from continuing in the game if they feel their coworkers are cheating. A discouraged player who quits doesn’t get the health benefits they signed up for, and we don’t want that. In fact, we pride ourselves on our completion rate, but we can’t reprogram the Apple Watch’s step tracker with a polygraph test, or Fitbit’s for that matter. So we have to cut at this in a different way. Well, 3 different ways, to be precise.

We address both real (and perceived) cheating actively.

“Avid runners can easily create false positives. Nevertheless, we consider it a real problem because the appearance of cheating, whether real or imagined, discourages players from continuing in the game if they feel their coworkers are cheating.”

One, we’re vigilant. All of our full service health challenges have a FIX Health Coach assigned to them. One of his or her responsibilities is to keep an eye out for very high step counts and just politely reach out to the user. Are they training for a marathon? If so, that may explain a daily step count of 30,000 (most people average closer to 3,000). But, often, just knowing someone is watching is enough to keep people honest.

Two, we counsel HR to award most prizes in raffle format, not 1st place format. By doing this, there’s less of a direct benefit/reward to being first. There are bragging rights, of course, but you’re not necessarily getting a prize for being first. You’re getting a reward for participating. SO… no need to cheat, right?

Three, we have built a step limiter into the software to prevent egregiously high step input. Now an HR director, with counsel from our coaching team, can decide to only allow a fixed amount of steps to be counted each day of the challenge. The Coach can still override that, but with this limiter we can put a cap on egregiously high step counts, limiting a cheater’s upside on fake steps.

To be completely honest though, I couldn’t be happier that this is the number one problem with our challenge. It means our software is running very reliably and that it’s making people inspired/excited about participating. Sometimes a little too excited, maybe, but we’ll coach and counsel and get better at that over time as well.

Mike

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I meet with HR professionals interested in implementing office walking challenges all the time. There’s plenty of generic guidance, like “Involve Senior Leadership” but there is so much more to creating and implementing a successful and engaging competition.

Why Aren’t People Interested in Keeping Fit?

Our friends at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have researched why nearly 2 out of 3 American adults don’t exercise. The top ten excuses:

  1. Not enough time
  2. It’s inconvenient
  3. Lack of motivation
  4. Hate exercise
  5. It’s boring
  6. Lack of confidence in their abilities
  7. Fear of injury
  8. Lack of goals
  9. Lack encouragement and social support
  10. Lack of facilities

A successful walking challenge is all about overcoming these obstacles and engaging your employees. The tactics for success come down to the culture and structure of the organization.
I’ve seen some companies make participation semi-mandatory (usually by requiring participation in 3 of 5 health initiatives or something similar). Others have gone the opposite direction, making everything optional and putting the emphasis on fun and teamwork.

I advocate implementing an office walking challenge and other fitness-related activities, as part of the overall employee engagement and wellness program. A company wide health challenge is a powerful tool to jumpstart an overall wellness program and motivate employees.

Company Walking Challenge Success

5 Keys to Success

As part of a comprehensive corporate wellness program, with supporting efforts in education, exercise, healthy meals, biometric screening, etc., a corporate walking challenge is a fun and outcomes-based way to increase participation and spur enthusiasm. In fact, it may engage employees who otherwise may not have participated in such programs at all.

1. Keep it Short

Keep walking challenges to 6-8 weeks The average adult attention span is barely eight seconds. Challenges lasting too long will drag and lose momentum. The ideal length of time for a company walking challenge is 6-8 weeks, long enough to ingrain new positive behaviors and discourage unhealthy choices. Go much longer and you risk boredom, burnout and lack of motivation.

2. Keep it Simple

Are you counting steps, speed and minutes? Too many variables to track on the leaderboard = lower motivation. That’s the opposite of what you want. Take advantage of technology to track progress and use one clear metric. Due to budgetary restraints, employees who already own a fitness tracker, and many other variables, it can be tough to run a challenge using only one type of device (like a Fitbit, for example). Try to seek out a solution that is device agnostic and can pull steps from numerous devices and directly from smartphones.

77% of people aged 18-24 responded “yes” when asked, “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone.” There’s probably a smartphone app walking challenge that can take advantage of that.

3. Eyes on the Prize

An Apple Watch makes a great walking challenge prizeKeep any individual prize values to an amount is just enough to jump-start the motivation and participation. Don’t give enough to motivate dishonesty. An Apple Watch as a prize might be ideal, but I like all incentives to be fitness or health-related. It just makes sense.

SIGG water bottles (BPA and child-labor free!), personal trainer time, fancy running or walking shoes all tie into your office challenge. Make sure to align prizes to the behavior you are encouraging. This is no time to make the grand prize a new cushy gaming chair and a year’s supply of baby back ribs!

4. Keep Challenging Your Employees

Put fun events on the calendar quarterly for the most impact. Make the company walking event build each year with a pre-build up and then follow through to a charity challenge. Follow that with an office Olympics or triathlon, for example. Then cycle through a “Walk to Work challenge” and back again.

5. Align Your Other Programs

Align your corporate wellness goalsA corporate health challenge is not a wellness program in and of itself. Use competitions in conjunction with other programs, such as exercise classes, healthy eating coaching, health screenings, etc. In fact, weight loss, smoking cessation and other health improvement programs can see increased usage and ROI when matched with a well-designed walking challenge.

Supporting your company’s wellness programs with a fun and engaging office health challenge can jump start your participation and ROI, and walking challenges are an ideal way to encourage new healthy habits and build teamwork along the way.

Keep reading for more ideas or contact us today to start your corporate health challenge today.

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by Mike Tinney

If you ask startup founders about their company’s journey, you’ll likely hear some common themes: pivots and learning. In our case, we started FIX 6 years ago, and nearly the only thing that remains of our plans from that time is our true north: to make healthy habits part of an entertainment experience. That ultimately lead us to develop A Step Ahead, and in turn, The Outbreak. Just as our product evolved, so now is our pricing.

We were about 12 months into the project when we decided to make corporate wellness our primary market. Up until then, we had been considering a consumer experience. We knew almost nothing about the corporate health and benefits space, aside from what I’d experienced as a consumer of those products when running other companies. In spite of that, we (admittedly blindly) entered the corporate wellness market and got a crash course in, well… everything.

The sales cycle for corporate benefits is 6-12 months long. Companies typically contract for multi-year benefit packages, and the vast majority of those get sourced through brokers or consultants (i.e. 3rd party experts who are retained to act on the employers behalf in the benefits space). As it turned out out, it was a tough sell to get companies to contract with a brand new startup without much of a track record. So we had to figure out another way to break into the market.

“The sales cycle for corporate benefits is 6-12 months long. Companies typically contract for multi-year benefit packages, and the vast majority of those get sourced through brokers or consultants.”

 

Enter the “Pay Only for Actual Participants, No Long Term Contract, Single Serving Challenge Model,” or “POAPNLTCSSCM” for short. Switching to a no-hassle model, where employers paid once and then only for employees who actually used our service, got us out of the broker-curated annual bid process. It took us out of an HR wellness budget and placed us firmly in the “Opportunity Purchase With Pocket Change” or “OPPC”. Now, the OPPC is a great way to get started and boot strap a new venture. It’s also a very easy way for new clients to try your company’s product out. It does have a key weakness though. Anyone have a guess as to what it is?

Yes, you, in the back, that’s right! There is no recurring revenue model in this sales methodology. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of repeat customers. It’s just hard to predict when they’re going to repeat. There’s no predictability to that model, and because of that, it’s hard to grow a company passed a certain point. But we have a plan.

Fast forward to the present and we’ve successfully broken into the industry. We have a client list that includes household Fortune 500 names and we’re no longer the brand new startup with no track record that no one wants to contract with. With our 2.0 platform up and running (and running very well, mind you), it’s rare that clients don’t repeat, so we’ve decided to offer a comparatively cheap “all inclusive unlimited challenge plan,” or “AIUCP.”

“Employers can now pay a low monthly fee, allowing their employees unlimited access to our product year round in the pricing structure they’re used to paying. They can run as many challenges as they want. Big company wide challenges, or a series of smaller department vs department challenges. Or both.”

Employers can now pay a low monthly fee, allowing their employees unlimited access to our product year round in the pricing structure they’re used to paying. They can run as many challenges as they want. Big company wide challenges, or a series of smaller department vs department challenges. Or both.

In order to make this work we had to solve two problems:

First, it has to be a good value, price-wise. So it is. You can have the unlimited pass for the cost of approximately 1.5 – 2 normal challenges for your company. Even more, clients lock into their per employee rate for life, with continuous service. Even if the market rate of our services increases, the client’s price stays the same.

Secondly, we have to be easy to quit. Most other services lock clients into long term contracts that auto-renew if the buyer misses the cancellation window. While our services do auto-renew, we’re letting clients cancel after month 9, for any reason. We know it’s on us to continue to develop compelling content and provide employees with an experience that inspires them to continue using it, so we’ll bear that risk and let our clients worry about running their companies.

So, while we had to break into the market with single serving experiences, we’re now going to offer our clients an easy way to consume our content, month after month, at no risk to themselves. If anyone out there can come up with an acronym for this that ends up as “WIN,” I’ll give you a free Outbreak Challenge!

Mike

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Want to help your employees improve productivity? Regular workday exercise is a proven cognition and mood enhancer. Sending your co-workers to the gym may be your first thought, but not every office can afford a gym, and not every employee loves to sweat.

Read on to learn more about the everyday ways you can guide your employees get moving for better health and performance.

Here are 10 walking challenge ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

1. Find the Fun
Google’s legendary workplace perks foster a culture of fun and productivity. While your company may still aspire to Google-like perks, there’s no reason exercising has to be a drag. Even Mary Poppins turned ”Let’s Tidy Up the Nursery” into a game.

One creative company “kidnapped” teams for a 15 minute walk or “jailed” the team lead. Who doesn’t love a little forced labor when the result of the office walking challenge is comparable to giving everyone a Red Bull?

2. Walk Somewhere
Some great walking challenge ideas come to mind if you look to walking “somewhere.” Offices around the world? Set up team goals to “visit” each of them. Or pick Disneyland, the Andes or Paris. Set up a “hike” along the famous trails of our national parks. Some photos and factoids at the milestones help maintain interest.

Walking Challenge Ideas

3. Make it a Game
Video game makers know how to activate those dopamine receptors. Use the power of virtual rewards to get your employees moving. The February 2018 cohort of The Outbreak reports a 91% completion rate. Billed as the Ultimate Corporate Walking Challenge, real life movement translates into the virtual world.

Can your employees resist avoiding zombies, or better yet, being the zombies?

4. Train Together
Lots of offices have a marathon group, but what about combining mileage for “training” ? You’re your office walking challenge a team goal. Everyone combines their personal goals and then works for team accountability. Who knows, after 6 weeks you may have a few people thinking about actually completing 26.2 miles on their own.

5. Take it Outside
15 minutes of natural sunlight daily is recommended for heart health. Coincidentally, that’s also the amount of time necessary to go for a brisk walk. Make walking meetings part of your culture and corporate walking challenge. Give incentives to reach milestones. It doesn’t have to be expensive. One office buys inches of duct tape with their miles. This is the result.

Walking Challenge Ideas

6. Reward Sweat Equity
Translate steps walked into real prizes. Can you make “step bucks” work for you? Employees earn bucks and then spend them as they see fit. How about a prime parking spot? A day off? A healthy lunch?

7. Ministry of Silly Walks
Monty Python perfected the silly walk, but maybe your employees want to tighten and tone. Several programs offer a combination of body weight activities and walking. Crazier yet, go all in on prancercise!

8. Make it Personal
Have your employees issue daily or weekly personal challenges to each other. Almost everyone can eke out ONE MORE (step, mile, etc.) than their closest neighbor.

9. Gotta Have a Theme
Let your employees go a little crazy. Decorate, dress up, make t-shirts. Really tap into your employee’s creativity. Bay to Breakers is a crazy fun run in San Francisco every year. It features costumed runners, walkers, bands and a unique competition unit known as a centipede. 12 runners and an extra are physically linked together and finish the race in step.

10. Make it a Combo
Just like McDonald’s wants to know if you want fries with that, suggest a weight-loss or flexibility challenge to go with the daily walk. Or maybe work in your corporate social responsibility goals- like that Autism Speaks walkathon or Beltline Greener Up Cleanup.
Getting your employees moving is a great idea. Better health and better performance add to your bottom line. Motivate your employees with creative challenges and incentives that go straight to their sense of fun.

Keep reading for more ideas or contact us today to start your corporate walking challenge.

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by Mike Tinney

I grew up in the 80’s, an era famous for its service and product guarantees. From LL Bean’s (until recently) lifetime product guarantees to Dawn Cleaner’s 2x price refund guarantee. There are 17 companies (according to Consumer Reports) who stake their reputation, and build their product brand, around customer satisfaction at a tier above their competition.

This doesn’t happen much, if at all, in the wellness challenge space. The generally assumed truth of the corporate walking challenge industry is that you can’t make people do what’s best for them. You can only try your best and hope that some come along for the whole journey.

“You can’t make people do what’s best for them… but you can inspire them.”

 

Brokers, from companies like Lockton, tell us that somewhere between 30-50% of most health program signees complete programs. 50% completion is considered “STRONG” for most wellness vendors. There are some programs that achieve higher-than-average results with the “stick” approach. “Do this or you’ll spend more money/lose some benefits.” Or, in other words, remain compliant.

We know, from research, that stick (and carrot) based programs lose traction over time. I think these sentiments are generally correct. You can’t make people do what’s best for them… but you can inspire them.

When we started working on Health Entertainment, we believed that if you could create an entertainment experience that required healthy activity to engage in, that we could, in time, work out a way to inspire people to change their habits. So we’ve been hacking away at people’s behavior for 3+ years now. Trying to build a better game that inspires, and through inspiration, engages participants at the highest levels through to completion.

Walking Challenge Ideas

We’ve found our sweet spot: a six week zombie outbreak challenge; delivered in an ongoing story format, up to 4 times a year. We prototyped four challenge themes: a zombie outbreak, an alien invasion, and sports and holiday themes.

Our zombie outbreak retained users 9% better than any of our other prototype challenges. To put that into real numbers, our worst challenge retained users at an average of 79% completion. That was our worst. The Zombie outbreak retained at an average completion rate of 88%. We tracked all the differentials HERE. I should add that recently we’ve been hitting completion rates in the 90%’s.

So where has that lead us over time?

The Outbreak Challenge Engagement Guarantee
We’re going to join the guarantee club. We’re going to guarantee an 80+% completion rate to any company that uses our program and follows our format.

How does this compare to our competition? Our nearest competitor charges $12 per employee to participate in a “steps are great” challenge. They then tack on $2800 in set up and “device integration” fees, and our brokers tell us they expect about 40% of those employees who sign up to complete the program. So in a 100 person company you would have a weighted cost per user who completes the program of $100 per successful employee ((100*$12 + 2800)/40).

“To put that into real numbers, our worst challenge retained users at an average of 79% completion. That was our worst.”

OR you can pay us $20.95 per user, plus a one time $1000 set up fee and we’ll guarantee 80% of your staff finish the program for a weighted cost per completion of $38 per successful employee ((100*$20.95+$1000)/80). This is just the savings on the cost of completion per engaged employee. You can learn more about the insurance savings one of our clients discovered in this wellness ROI case study.

So yeah, when we crunched the numbers it was a no brainer to double down on what we’ve gotten great at doing. We had to build up our confidence a bit, as this is new territory, both for us and our market. At the end of the day, though, we realized that we’ve figured out how to inspire an employee population and so we’re putting that in writing. We guarantee engagement now. We’re joining the club, and we’re the first wellness challenge company to do so.

Until Next Time,

Mike

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by Mike Tinney

My company, FIX, turns 6 years old in March 2018. I left the video game industry to start it. I believed that if you could deliver an experience that had the entertainment caliber of a video game, but focused on health and well being, that you could help people change their lives. We’ve been at it for close to 6 years, and I still believe it. In fact I know it, because we’ve done it. But in truth, like all founders, I didn’t expect it to take this long.

We are on the 3rd generation of our hybrid walking challenge video game, and we think we have it now. The challenge with technology is… each “at bat” is 12-18 months of development work and the better part of $1 million of development expense. It’s not the major leagues, but it’s also not amature hour. It’s somewhere in between.

“In addition to figuring out how to make people behave differently, we found we’re using some pieces of technology (like Fitbits) in ways they haven’t been used before.”

 

We’ve been bootstrapping FIX most of the way. Many of the people who work at the company have “skin in the game,” as they say. We don’t really have a big VC involved. Every VC we’ve talked to wants us to be one step farther along than we currently are… Have an idea? Build a prototype. Have a Prototype? Validate it with a couple of customers. Have some pilot customers? Get to $1 million in annual revenue. Have a $3 million sale contract? Check back with us in a year. And so on… So we’ve bootstrapped our way to our current product.

It’s a really good, stable product. It counts the things it needs to count and delivers the experience we promise to deliver. If you work in tech, you know this is easier said than done.

See, our product is something that hasn’t been done before, so in addition to figuring out how to make people behave differently, we found we’re using some pieces of technology (like Fitbits) in ways they haven’t been used before. In our early product iterations, getting these third party technologies to do what we wanted them to, when we wanted them to, how we wanted them to, all within the context of a game was challenging. Much like cars come out with all new models every few years, software has a similar life cycle, and our new product is just that: built completely new, from the ground up, standing on the shoulders of all the knowledge and experience we gained from two previous versions.

The Outbreak Challenge Tutorial

“Benefits brokers that we work with tell us that our product inspires more steps and retains users longer and better than any health challenge they’ve ever seen.”

We launched the new version of our Health Entertainment game, called The Outbreak, in June of 2017. We nailed our primary benchmark: 90+% sustained/retained users. Benefits brokers that we work with tell us that our product inspires more steps and retains users longer and better than any health challenge they’ve ever seen. It should. We cheat. We use lots of dirty tricks from the video game industry to create a dopamine feedback loop in our users brains. It helps people make it from one little goal to the next. Complete enough little goals and surprise! You’ve nailed a big goal.

We headed into 2018 with 2 major breakthroughs, one’s we’re hoping to make the most from. First, we signed a distribution deal with Rally Health. That’s a big deal and one we’re excited about. They’ll take some time to ramp up, but we’re excited about getting our products offered to United Healthcare clients. The second big break, though, fell into our laps. We had a client do their own ROI study on our services. Their results were astounding. They recognized a 7:1 return on their spend on The Outbreak challenge, primarily from mitigating medical risks by moving 25% of their participating population from inactive/sedentary to active. We turned it into a wellness ROI case study. Still, we’ve been plugging for 6 years and we’re still small. These two breakthroughs will take months, if not the better part of the year to begin to result in more sales. We’re still… a start up. Are we there yet?

Until Next Time,

Mike

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Posted by FIX in FIX HEALTH Read More

In fitness circles, this week’s news cycle is focused on FItbit’s new Alta HR. This fitness tracker is notable for packing previously available features into a 25% smaller package.

Meanwhile over at Mio, they’ve innovated by evolving core assumptions about what quality of activity is required to build the healthiest possible you. Their Mio Slice has introduced the PAI System which stands for “Personal Activity Intelligence.” PAI is Mio’s proprietary algorithm which documents both Steps and Heart Rate giving you a simple number that shows how much activity you need to live a longer, healthier life.
The science behind PAI is fascinating and you can learn more about it here.

And while FIX does specialize in sourcing the right fitness devices for companies of all sizes, we are also aware that there are tens of millions of devices already in the market; many of them subsidized by employers. This is fantastic news for employee wellness, but FIX is often approached by companies with a reoccurring problem“After initial enthusiasm, fitness device usage has tapered off in our organization.”

Happily FIX has the solution. While device manufacturers have steadily improved the technology of fitness trackers, FIX has been making fitness fun.

A Step Ahead Walking Challenges are designed to add engaging stories, team-based competition, and marauding zombies to your groups fitness efforts. These gamified walking challenges are proven to have the highest engagement and retention in the business. Check us out today!

FIX Health: Newsletter Tip


No devices? No Problem.
A Step Ahead wellness games also have a variety of manual entry options for those without fitness trackers.

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Posted by FIX in FIX HEALTH Read More

“A lot of people want to play it safe by engaging in some kind of physical activity every now and then. Not me, though. I live for the rush.”

Those are the words of sedentary thrill-seeker Daniel Erickson who risks his life every day through a strict regimen of sitting at his computer, watching television, and playing with his smartphone in bed.

“I’m skating on thin ice living my life like this, but chasing after those extreme risks is just in my blood,” said Erickson, who noted that spending the vast majority of his time in a slumped or fully recumbent position is all part of the nonstop game of chance that he thrives on “I know that if I keep tempting fate by stretching out on the sofa all day, I’ll eventually pay the price, but I’m not someone who can do things halfway. If I’m going to play with fire by lying across those cushions every chance I get, then I’ve got to go all out, with as little bodily movement as possible. That’s just the way I am.”

The full harrowing story of Mr. Ericson can be found here as reported by The Onion.

The Onion is, of course, the top satire publication in world, and this edition of the FIX Wellness Newsletter is brought to you in early celebration of April Fool’s Day.

All kidding aside, when your team is ready to quit fooling around with dangerous sedentary work habits, check out the epic Corporate Walking Challenges at https://www.astepaheadchallenge.com/.

FIX Health: Newsletter Tip


April Fool’s Edition: When pulling serious pranks on coworkers, keep plenty of room between you and them.

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Posted by FIX in FIX HEALTH Read More