How to keep your company step challenges exciting
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Wellness 101

How to keep your company step challenges exciting

Christina Devoney
Sep 24, 2019

More and more organizations are utilizing step challenges to bring fun to their workplace wellness offerings. Company fitness challenges create a sense of community, but more importantly, they help employees to better understand their current fitness level and provide them the motivation to keep improving their overall health.  

Many of our clients run multiple challenges a year. The key to maintaining engagement and motivation in your corporate wellness program is a mix of creativity and variety. After running hundreds of thousands of challenges on the MoveSpring platform, we’ve developed some pro tips on how to keep your company step challenges fun and fresh. 

Pro Tip #1: Get creative with themed step challenges

Get creative with your activity challenges by creating a series of themed challenges. Draw inspiration from the time of the year, a specific health topic, or pop culture reference. Check out this step-by-step guide on how to come up with your own themed step challenge.

Holidays around the corner

Try a charitable giving challenge where your users collaborate to achieve 5 million steps together. If they hit the goal, your organization will donate to a charity of your choice. It always feels good to give back.

Your employees are big sci-fi fans

Try a Star Wars themed challenge, just in time for the upcoming movie release. Use a Team Leaderboard challenge and have employees join the teams of their favorite Star Wars characters. The team with the highest daily activity average wins. 

A few team ideas: Darth Vader & the Galactic Empire, Princess Leia & The Rebellion, Livin’ La Vida Yoda, Ewok this way, Wookie of the year, etc.

Click here to check out more challenge ideas or here to view some creative challenge names.

Pro Tip #2: Change up the challenge structure

Switch up your challenge modes throughout the year. In other words, don’t run 12 leaderboard challenges in a row. MoveSpring has nearly 10 challenge modes, with the option to run challenges based on steps, active minutes, and distance. 

Try alternating between individual-focused challenges and collaborative team or group challenges. For example, start with a Streak challenge where each participant tries to consistently hit a daily step goal. Then, follow up with a Group Target challenge where all employees are working together to achieve one, large active minutes goal. Later, try out Journey for a distance-based race full of adventure

Pro Tip #3: Keep users engaged with content

Keep things educational and entertaining by sharing interesting health and wellness content throughout the challenge. After all, getting active is only one part of the equation. Use your program to educate users on how to set good habits and make small changes that add up a healthier lifestyle.

We highly suggest that every MoveSpring step challenge should also feature a variety of content. Schedule out Wellness Wednesday tips, reminders about health benefits and company events, or post Fitness Friday workouts! Not sure what content to share? Browse our MoveSpring Content Library filled with hundreds of pieces of wellness content that are ready to publish.

Pro Tip #4: Take breaks in between challenges

The best annual programs have periods of step challenges followed by longer breaks in between. Commonly, clients will schedule 4–6 challenges a year. This helps to avoid the feeling of challenge fatigue, while maintaining excitement for each new challenge.

Another variable to take into account is challenge duration. We’ve found 4 weeks to be the ideal challenge duration. Quick two-day weekend warrior challenges or 21-day habit-forming challenges can be fun too. Overall, we don’t recommend running challenges longer than 6 weeks. We often see participant drop-off and a significant decrease in engagement with challenges that are longer than 6 weeks. The right mix of challenge duration and breaks can leave your users feeling recharged and ready for what’s next.

Pro Tip #5: Award prizes for progress and consistency

Incentives go a long way in motivating your users. We find that celebrating consistency and progress is the most rewarding and inclusive strategy. A raffled approach to incentives keeps users engaged throughout the entirety of the challenge and gives everyone a chance to win. Users earn raffle entries by meeting your challenge goals or maintaining a certain step average throughout the duration of the challenge. The variable of random chance ensures that it’s not just the top stepper who will get rewarded for their hard work. 

Oftentimes, admins come to us with a plan to give their challenge prize to the top stepper, but we find this to be disheartening to participants who are trying hard, but are at an overall fitness level that cannot directly compete with higher activity employees. Users want to feel noticed that they’re putting in the steps, without being discouraged by a leaderboard they just can’t keep up with.

Need some help with your rewards strategy? Download the MoveSpring Rewards Strategy, which features a plan for each of our nine challenge types.

A successful wellness program maintains engagement year-round by varying the challenge type, activity metric, theme, content, and rewards strategy.

Have you created a rock star wellness program using the MoveSpring platform? Let us know, we love to share stories of inspiring and creative clients.