Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Power of Wearable Fitness Trackers

At Motion Connected, we frequently find ourselves in awe of the overwhelmingly positive impact wearables can have in workplace wellness.

For us, it really starts with the power that physical activity has, not only on living longer, but living better

This means nights where you sleep better (up to 65% better according to the National Sleep Foundation), to days where you have more energy, a better mood, and even more willpower simply because of exercise.

It also means lower risks for the top health threats like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. (You can check out for a review of the scientific evidence, it’s staggering).

Not only that, but increased physical activity levels can mean less sick days and lower healthcare costs for your organization, too.

That’s a lot, right? Just think about what those types of improvements could do for your population.

That’s where wearables come in. These awesome, wrist-worn reminders are the tangible tool needed to encourage, inspire and prompt employees to take control of their health, allowing your business to gain the countless benefits of a healthier employee base.

However, it’s not enough to simply hand out devices and hope for the best. You need the right strategy and the right devices.

Join us, in partnership with Garmin, to learn more about successfully implementing wearables in our upcoming webinar: Energizing Your Wellness Plan with Wearables. 

On February 21st at 11:30 AM (CST) we will dig deeper into why wearables are a must in wellness, the best-practice strategies for implementation, and the features to look for in a corporate wellness device.


As an added bonus, signing up and attending will get you entered to win a Garmin vĂ­voactive 3! Winners will be announced live on the webinar date.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The 3 Keys to Population Engagement in Your Wellness Program

The trend of chronic conditions creating ever increasing levels of hidden risk in our population appears to be here to stay.

Currently, two out of three US adults are overweight or obese, and a recent study by the CDC shows that roughly one third of the US adult population is prediabetic, and 90% of them don’t even know it yet!

Unhealthy behaviors like poor eating habits and physical inactivity are a root cause of much of the problem. So wellness programs that create healthy action NEED to be a key piece of the solution.

However, in order to impact the scale of the problem these programs must also actively engage a majority of their target population. Not 10% or 20% - we need 50%, 60% or more engaged in healthy behaviors.

So, what do programs that achieve this successful population engagement have in common? We took a close look at our current client base and surveyed over 1,000 members to find the three key factors:

1. Simple design

These days wellness programs or initiatives come in all shapes and sizes. Many organizations try to include “everything” in their programs from day one, believing that choice is critical to population engagement.

We actually found the exact opposite. If your focus is population engagement, then the program design must be simple. The majority of any population are not pre-wired to engage, so choice actually dilutes and confuses – creating the proverbial deer in headlights.

Instead, by focusing a program on a small set of healthy behaviors you will promote culture and camaraderie. Once you have successfully engaged a population in an initial set of actions, then you can introduce others over time.

2. Ease of use

We all lead busy lives, so hand in hand with simple design comes ease of use. If it isn’t easy to participate in a wellness program, then the majority of a population won’t do it. The good news is that technology, when packaged the right way, can help address this.

For instance, wearable activity trackers enable self-management and automated data collection. No longer do participants have to manually log their data, or attend gyms/classes to receive credit. Being physically active becomes (literally) anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Each participant can choose what they do, where, when and with who – and it’s this type of choice that drives engagement.

You have to be physically active as part of the program, but you have the freedom to pick how you accomplish that. The real time upload of data also enhances the personal and social experiences by giving immediate feedback on progress and updates to challenges. Other examples of technology driving ease of use are simple online dashboards that include access to all resources and mobile applications that enable full program functional “on the go”.

Following these principles is what has allowed one of our clients, Cleveland Clinic Employee Health Plan, to achieve not only high levels of participants, but outcomes as well – as of 2017, 50% of their 60,000 employees/spouses achieve program goals for either being physically active and/or completing a coordinated care program.

3. Motivation

The reality is that most people need some external motivation to help them on their journey to healthier behaviors. If they didn’t then we wouldn’t need wellness programs.

Effective motivation comes in two flavors – leadership and incentives. We have found that programs can be successful with either, but both is best.

Visible leaders that “walk the walk” and management that promotes a caring attitude toward the wellbeing of their population will inspire employee engagement.

Offering an incentive will also provide the initial focus or nudge that folks need to engage in a program. A key to maximizing incentives is to avoid the mistake of making them “transactional” – points based structures that can be modified over time are the way to go (read more about this concept HERE)

At the end of the day, getting people to engage in healthier behaviors is not easy. However, our partners and ongoing research have helped identify three key ingredients to the population engagement recipe.

If you liked this article, then sign up for our newsletter to receive more! You’ll get the latest blog posts delivered to your inbox each month. One of our future topics include the top, high-impact behaviors to focus on to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Future of Wearables: A CES Recap

From beds that rock like a cradle, to using augmented reality to beat stress, the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas always delights. It brings the best, newest, and sometimes strangest innovations- all aimed at improving our quality of life.

But our particular interest is always wearables, and they continue to impress.

The last couple years have shown a shrinking number of serious players in the market. For instance,Under Armour, who had a big presence at last year's show is no longer in the wearables space. Where did Jawbone go? Nike Fuelband? Withings, who also had a big presence at last year's CES is now Nokia.

It seems that a select few companies are rising above the rest by offering true longevity and innovation. This makes it difficult for start-ups to come in and compete with products like the Apple Watch, Garmin's Vivo and Fenix series, and the Fitbit Ionic. The bar has been set high for fitness tracking.

While these top 3 industry giants continue to dominate the smart watch space, a new evolution of wearable device features could be found deep in the less glitzy 10x10 booths on the lower level of the Sands Expo and Convention Hall.

This is where wrist devices that can take your blood pressure, or check your glucose and oxygen levels were on exhibition. Also, among these health enhancing devices were safety companies like Biowatch, which features the ability to authenticate login passwords for your computer and websites.

It’s easy to see wearables have become a must-have for tracking your physical activity, but soon they might be that thing that helps keep you alive, while also providing more day-to-day convenience and safety.

We welcome these new innovations that bring the wellness and clinical spaces closer together. This will allow organizations to deliver healthier outcomes for their populations - keeping employees safe, motivated and healthy.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Motion Connected Launches a Game Changing Wellness Program

Myinertia Select Offers the Busy HR Professional an Extremely Affordable and Engaging Wellness Portal.

Motion Connected is excited to announce the launch of their newest workplace wellness product, myInertia Select. This product is built to help organizations of any size instantly implement and administer a wellness program employees will love.

“We know the majority of tomorrow’s high risk does not relate to today’s health status, so we set out to deliver a simple, yet engaging plan that targets the entire spectrum.” said Michael Troup, CEO of Motion Connected. “We also chose to focus on affordability to help more organizations implement the power of wellness into their culture in 2018.”

Select is based on Motion Connected’s 10 years of experience delivering customized client solutions.

Through the ongoing analysis, they identified the three best-practice wellness initiatives that not only deliver positive health outcomes and population engagement, but were also easy for organizations to implement and administer.

One of the three key initiatives is physical activity.

Employees who exercised more were simply happier, stressed less, ate better and even had an easier time kicking other bad habits.

Worldwide studies have also proven that increasing physical activity can improve many areas of health including: weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart health, diabetes risk, cancer risks and more.

The other two initiatives, weight monitoring and an annual physical check-up, allow organizations to create a strong foundation to engage a population in meaningful healthy behaviors.

The myInertia Select plan includes the following features:
  1. A personal, mobile-friendly account for each employee
  2. Wearables integration with the top 3 industry brands in the fitness tracker space: Fitbit, Garmin and Apple Watch. 
  3. Unlimited build-your-own physical activity challenges
  4. Access to the Wellness Outlet, an online wearable fulfillment store where employees can purchase exclusively discounted Fitbit and Garmin devices. 
  5. A points-tracking scorecard featuring high-impact initiatives 
  6. A knowledgeable support team to answer any employee question
  7. An administrative toolkit to help communicate and manage the program (features employee facing posters, videos, how-to documents and more)
  8. An email support line for administration questions

“We are looking forward to what 2018 brings,” said Troup, “We can’t wait to work together to create a healthier tomorrow for your organization.”

You can learn more about the product and get your instant online quote by visiting their website at

Thursday, November 30, 2017

7 Things to Stop Doing in Your Wellness Program in 2018 (and What to Do Instead)

With no gold standard on what makes up an effective wellness program, it’s hard to know how to put one together. Oftentimes it ends up being built on what’s always been done before… (think biometrics and HRAs.)

However, based on the continued decline of American’s health, (2/3rds are overweight, over 103 million have high blood pressure and 1 in 10 adults have type 2 Diabetes) 2018 is a great time to change up the way companies do wellness to create more positive health outcomes.

You can do your part by stopping these 7 things and focusing instead on the key components that drive real results:

1. Ditch the scattered approach.

Many companies begin wellness by providing a Health Risk Assessment, throwing in a lunch and learn here and there and introducing some online learning modules.

We call this the scattered approach, where you throw it out there randomly and hope something triggers health improvement. The problem is, it’s hard to define your program with this approach, and even harder to measure its success and impact.

What you can do instead: It is worth the time and energy to plan out an annual in advance. This will help you get strategic with what you are offering, determine what to budget for and ensure continuous wellness effort and attention. It also allows you to more efficiently track progress and monitor results.

2. Rethink the HRA model.

Health questionnaires that require employees to answer question after question, can be a barrier to employees’ participating in your wellness program. Many are uncomfortable sharing that information with their employer.

Furthermore, these questionnaires do little to improve the health of the individual, as it offers nothing about their health that they don’t already know.

What you can do instead: Instead of lengthy HRAs, offer action-based wellness initiatives that drive behavior change and provide something employees want to participate in. Some examples include offering wearable activity devices or healthy cooking classes.

3. Don’t pay employees for only taking a biometric.

Yes, knowing your numbers is an important first step to identifying health conditions that can be treated or better controlled. But it isn’t a wellness plan in and of itself.

Many corporations spend all their available wellness dollars the cost of biometrics and incentives for employee to take it. Not only does this set a precedent to employees that they should be paid for each health action, but it often doesn’t leave funds for other important wellness programming.

What to do instead: Focus on what is being done throughout the year to keep employees from moving into a lower health category next year. Ask yourself, what high touch programming can be offered to improve health status for the entire population?

Also, if there simply isn’t enough wellness budget to do it all, consider skipping the biometric every other year and implement programming in-between that focuses on healthy actions throughout the year.

4. Say goodbye to health libraries.

Let’s face it, if someone has a health condition or symptoms they are concerned about, they can easily pick up their mobile device and Google it. They aren’t going to take the time to login to the wellness portal and search for articles on their concerns.

Plus, information overload on your portal just makes it that much more difficult for employees to navigate and focus on the more impactful programming.

What to do instead: Focus on key health initiatives that have been shown to make a big impact, like physical activity and promotion of annual physicals, and leave Google to answer the rest.

5. Take out the guesswork with your wellness program results.

Is my program working? What do the employees think about it? Is it worth the investment? Are we truly changing behavior? Often, companies get so caught up in managing their wellness program they forget to put measures in place to answer the questions above.

What to do instead: Consider capturing and evaluating the following metrics in your program:

  • Participation rates (# eligible vs # signed up)
  • Engagement rates (# signed up vs. # completed/engaging in multiple offerings)
  • Participant satisfaction
  • Physical activity trends with wearables
  • Health metrics from health kiosks
  • Health changes through biometric or claims data on wellness participants vs. nonparticipants
  • Missed days of work

6. Stop boring participants with your program.

Questionnaires, biometrics, flu shots, oh my! These things may provide your program data, but rarely do they generate enough excitement for employees to talk about them around the water cooler.

What you can do instead: If you want your wellness program to go viral, look at programming that includes challenges, team events, or scavenger hunts.

Also, make sure your program offers significant recognition, so your non-participants start to wonder what all the fuss is about and decide to join the program.

7. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.

No matter what wellness program you put together you will hear good and bad things about it. When getting feedback, consider the source and how it aligns with the goals of the program.

Your healthy and active people may say it is too easy, or they don’t get enough credit for the triathlon they are training for. Considering this is only 10% of your population and they are doing all the right things already – is this who you want to tailor your program to? Probably not.

On the other end of the spectrum, be aware of the chronic naysayers. They will criticize whatever you put in the wellness program no matter what. They likely do this for anything new at the company and are unlikely to participate in your program regardless of offerings or incentives. This is usually about 20% of your population.

What you can do instead:
Focus on the 70%. That make up the majority and can gain the most from your program. This is a great population to target your wellness offerings to drive engagement and results. Listen to what they need and success will follow.

So, let’s not do wellness as usual in 2018. With obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions on the rise, this is a great time to implement strategies for more effective workplace wellness!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

3 Ways to Help Employees with the New Blood Pressure Guidelines

New blood pressure guidelines were released by the American Heart Association this November. The release means millions more Americans will need to lower their blood pressure. The number of Americans in the high blood pressure category will rise from 72 million to 103 million.

These new guidelines are designed to help people take steps to control their blood pressure earlier. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are two leading causes of death around the world.

So what can you, as an employer, do to help employees with these new guidelines?

1. Empower healthy lifestyle changes. Healthy lifestyle modifications remain a powerful choice for reducing blood pressure. Help employees understand the importance of diet and exercise modifications by encouraging healthy actions through your wellness program.

We recommend using wearables to achieve this step. Not only does it add a fun element to your program, it can truly change behavior.  
Find out why we love wearables, & why you should too>

2. Inform & educate employees. Provide educational materials on the new guideline definitions in the form of emails, PDFs and videos.

You can find great resources here on the American Heart Association website >

3. Help employees know their numbers. Make sure employees know if they are at risk by encouraging annual physicals, and providing an onsite blood pressure monitor employees can use.

Overall, the new guidelines are a way to encourage more people to take a step in the right direction, which can help them live longer, healthier, happier lives. Do your part by educating and motivating employees today.

To read more about the new guidelines click here >

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

6 Ways to Get Past Participation Excuses in Your Wellness Program

Through our work with wellness program administrators, we’ve heard all the excuses in the book for not participating in the wellness program…

…“I have to run errands at lunch”
…“I need to complete these tasks, so I can’t attend the webinar”
…“I can’t take the time to figure out how to login”

So, how do you get past them and engage more of your population in healthy behavior?

1. Make it a true priority

If employees believe the wellness program is not an important and integral part of your culture they will promptly put it on the back burner. Show employees that you want it prioritized by having leaders communicate the importance. Also consider sending monthly reminders of ways they can get involved to keep it at the forefront of your organization.

Another way of looking at this method is the plate metaphor. Employees only have room on their plate for so many things during the day. Are you making it clear that your program is a top priority, and worthy of plate space? If not, it may be time to rethink your strategy.

2. Highlight the value of participating

We’ve written extensively on this topic, and also had industry leader, John Weaver, Psy.D., write an inspiring guest blog. (you can read it here).

Bottom-line, if you don’t show value in participating in your wellness program, employees will leap at the chance to use excuses to opt out.

One way you can highlight the value is to bring the health & social benefits (increased energy, less stress, more fun, better colleague camaraderie, etc.) to the forefront of your program messaging.

Additionally, bringing the value back to the plate analogy, are you giving them enough value to WANT to put it on their plate of to-dos?

3. Give a clear path to success

By providing a simple, easy to digest program you can help eliminate excuses around not understanding what to do. Start by looking at your current program and try to identify places where you can streamline the processes. Also, consider that too many options may be daunting for employees.

4. Don’t offer an out

One easy, psychological way to eliminate excuses is to not offer an out, or make the out the alternative. In other words, automatically opt them into the program. You can read more about this topic here > 

5. Offer 24/7 access

Also, when thinking about the spectrum of opportunities, consider the timing. Are you only offering “in office” options or once a year biometrics? Provide multiple times and locations for initiatives and make sure to include options that are 24/7, like physical activity tracking. Another idea is to take your lunch and learns and record them, thus allowing employees to watch/engage during the time frame that best suits them.

6. Empathize

By understanding and relating to why your employees use excuses you can better tackle the issues at hand. Do this by simply and truly listening to what they are saying, and then work together with your employee to come up with a solution.

Lastly, understand that regardless of what program you put together, or the changes you make, not everyone is going to participate, and that’s okay. As long as your program is set up to overcome the common excuses, you can remain confident you are impacting the majority of your population.