6 ways to engage employees in a wearables program

Employers are increasingly investing in wearable fitness devices for their employees, and many want guidance on how to implement them effectively. These six promising practices are being used to turn wearables into powerful wellness tools, according to new research from the Health Enhancement Research Organization, a national nonprofit that works to identify and share workplace health best practices.

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6 ways to engage employees in a wearables program
Employers are increasingly investing in wearable fitness devices for their employees, and many want guidance on how to implement them effectively. These six promising practices are being used to turn wearables into powerful wellness tools, according to new research from the Health Enhancement Research Organization, a national nonprofit that works to identify and share workplace health best practices.
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1. Give devices to employees at no cost
For many, costs can be a barrier to buying a fitness tracker. To get employees to use a wearable tracker, start by offering that device at no or reduced cost to remove potential financial barriers.
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2. Set goals, offer incentives
One of the most valuable features of a fitness tracker is its ability to raise awareness of activity levels. Research shows goal setting can drive behavior change. Fitness trackers can highlight progress toward a goal, which can keep people motivated and moving.
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3. Get spouses, domestic partners involved
Workers can do better with a support system, and a spouse can be a significant source of support for health improvement. Employees are more likely to participate and change health behaviors when programs are offered to their spouse or partner, according to HERO’s research.
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4. Start small to earn big results
Programs that integrate new technology can be complex, and it can be helpful to work out the kinks in a small-group pilot program before going company wide. Pilot programs give employers a chance to finesse the program, evaluate what works and set realistic goals for the larger program rollout.
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5. Mix it up
People change, and what motivates today might be an annoyance a year from now. That’s why it’s important for employers to mix things up. Pay attention to how people participate, and continue to evolve their wellness program and wearables strategy accordingly.
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6. Know the end goals
Begin with the end in mind by identifying expectations and the value you hope to receive from incorporating trackers into your wellness program. Integrate data from wearables into your broader employee well-being strategy and ensure data is being used to evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts against your initial goals.

To see the entire HERO study results, click here.