Who’s more responsible for wellness engagement – the client or the vendor?

by Dec 30, 2019

All of the research, leg-work, and vetting are complete – you’ve officially chosen your new wellness vendor. Congratulations! Now the rest is up to the lucky winner, and as the client your job is done, right?

Not quite…

Don’t get us wrong – your new wellness vendor should be expected to do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to program setup, consulting on incentive design and communication strategy, providing best-practices for quarterly contests and campaigns, and supporting member questions.  But our most successful clients have always been those who remain equally involved, excited about, and ready to see (and experience) real change within their organizations. We know our program can stand on its own, as we regularly help clients boost their engagement numbers and generate real health-habit improvement within the first year after implementation. To truly get the most out of it (and to reap the many long-term results mentioned below), though, consistent cooperation with an internal force makes all the difference.

Dr. Sarah Matyko from Senior Resource Group (SRG) is a shining example of walking the wellness walk and truly immersing herself in the Sonic Boom program (which SRG has co-branded internally as “Zest”). Since implementation, Dr. Matyko has taken it upon herself to:

  • Provide energized on-site kickoff events at 33 different locations.
  • Identify 77 wellness ambassadors across 33 locations, which SRG calls “Zesty Besties” – these folks are empowered to promote the program at their particular location, helping with engagement, information sharing, and prize dissemination.
  • Reach out directly to members to discuss how they can get involved in the program.
  • Build (with help from our team) creative communications to display in breakrooms and by the time-clocks, to distribute at daily standup meetings and within their lobbies, and email to employees and hand out at kick-off events – all advertising the benefits of participating in SRG’s awesome wellness program.
  • Generate ongoing excitement through custom contests, everyday-wellness activities, and her enthusiastic/encouraging attitude.

Because of Dr. Matyko’s dedication to the program, SRG has already seen 939 of 4,553 participants (21%) engaging in the program, with 381 activity-tracking devices registered – all within just two months of program launch. These numbers have steadily increased (and continue to increase) each week as she visits new locations and deploys new challenges and communications. In an industry that often applauds artificial participation stats (e.g., people who are incentivized to simply log in or complete a one-time assessment), Dr. Matyko is putting in the work to establish meaningful ongoing engagement, and it’s paying off. We can’t wait to see where she takes the program in the coming months.

A long way to go

Unfortunately, Dr. Matyko and Senior Resource Group are not the norm (not yet at least).

A lot goes into the implementation of a new wellness program. The program organizer – often with help from the executive-leadership team and/or a wellness committee – will take months to vet various vendors, choose the program that works best with their culture, budget, and goals, and then take another few months to organize and implement every detail of the chosen program. But far too often, this is where leadership involvement stops. For some reason, the wellness program is expected to run itself – with employees seeking to engage all on their own and amazing results miraculously appearing within a year of the program’s launch.

Sure, the most well-designed (and vendor-supported) programs can indeed show an impact with little-to-no interaction from the organization, simply based on their features and prebuilt communication tools – with stimulating activities, interesting gaming mechanics, engaging social aspects, and results-driven activity tracking, to name a few. However, the highest engagement (and the most significant results) are achieved by organizations where someone (or a group of someones) within the organization steps up to encourage ongoing involvement in various activities. And we’re not just talking about 50%-of-our-employees-logged-into-the-app-one-time results. We’re talking about…

  • Significant weight loss and sustainable weight-management
  • Boosted peer-to-peer interaction and support (leading to Better company morale)
  • Less employee turnover
  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Less reliance on medications
  • Lower stress levels
  • A more-engaged (and therefore more focused and productive) workforce
  • Better teamwork and collaboration
  • Healthier work-life balance
  • Improved financial health
  • Improved mental and emotional health
  • Better sleep habits

Hiring a wellness vendor isn’t cheap (or easy) – and no matter how supportive and consultative your vendor may be, nothing compares to having “boots on the ground” promoting the program and leading by example. Make the most of your investment by getting (and staying) enthusiastically involved!

Of course, not all vendors are open to this level of collaboration or customization. That’s just ONE of our differentiators. Reach out to [email protected] for more information about how to enact real change in your workplace!

Sonic Boom Team

Boomer Blog


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