5 Innovative Employee Benefits Solutions
BY KATIE KUEHNER-HERBERT | Benefits Pro
Value-add technologies brokers can offer to employer group clients
1. SONIC BOOMHigh-tech wellness company Sonic Boom offers fun and active daily challenges via web-based portals and mobile apps. The program includes activity tracking, social networking, games, competition, and proprietary tools to influence behavior change. The firm offers a variety of activity tracking devices, or participants can use their own. “We’re all about social contagion—making wellness activities personally relevant, inviting, and fun so people actually want to engage in them and improve their health habits for life,” says Danna Korn, founder and “chief energizing officer” at the Carlsbad, California company. “Our competitors tend to focus too much on rewards—assuming people need extrinsic, remunerative motivation to do healthy things and accordingly bribing them with hefty incentives. We incorporate rewards into our program too, but they’re secondary to social contagion and are only remunerative if clients insist.” Part of the program entails a “Challenge-of-the-Day”—anything that “gets employees’ blood pumping,” has stress-reduction or nutritional value, or otherwise provides an “a-ha!” nugget of wellness knowledge with an energetic call-to-action. For example, the nutritional value of rutabagas or an invitation for coworkers to join in doing wall squats for two minutes, or doing lunges on the way to the bathroom. “It’s a dance-floor mentality, like at a wedding,” Korn says. “No one wants to be the first out on the dance floor, but everyone wants to be out there together. It’s fun because it’s social—there can be 35 people participating, giggling, chatting it up. Or employees can do them at home with their families. Either way, it’s a social break that’s healthy.”
Sonic Boom’s programs are “infinitely customizable.”Programs focus mostly on physical activity, optimal nutrition, stress reduction and other leading health indicators, but when client demographics call for it, programs might even focus on pet health, safety or financial well-being. Programs also need to be customized to fit the level of activity of the employee base. For example, while many vendors focus on walking or “steps” challenges, certain employees might be marathon runners who would not want to participate. With Sonic Boom, employers can come up with any kind of challenge that fits their particular workforce, such as a swimming challenge or a ping-pong game challenge. Employers that have outcomes-based wellness programs with biometrics particularly like the programs. “We like to focus on improvements in addition to outcomes, so we’re not over-rewarding the already healthy, and we’re properly rewarding those who are making a legitimate effort to improve their health—even if they’re not quite in the ideal biometric range yet,” Korn says. The company markets primarily through brokers and consultants, though occasionally directly to employer groups. “For brokers and consultants,” she says, “it’s a way to offer a value-add service that’s out-of-the-box.” Read the full article here.