Thursday, May 11, 2017

Advice on Wearables: Our Recent Highlight in the Health Promotion Journal

We are honored to be highlighted in the recent issue of The Art of Health Promotion, Editor’s Desk: The Wearables in Wellness Issue.

The publication went into detail about wearables role in the workplace, and identifies the following promising practices for businesses that have added, or are considering adding, wearables to their own well-being efforts:

  • Give or subsidize devices for employees rather than requiring them to buy their own; 
  • Set goals and encourage employees to meet them and earn incentives; 
  • Involve spouses and domestic partners to increase participation and create a support system outside of the workplace;
  • Use a pilot program to identify ways to improve the effort before expanding to the entire workforce; and 
  • Modify the program from time to time to keep employees engaged. 

This approach is something myInertia strongly believes in.

As Sherry Freeman, myInertia's Director of Wellness Operations and Key Accounts, states in this Art of Health Promotion issue:

“Wearables are a very exciting addition to health and well-being programs. In fact, in the more than 15 years I’ve devoted to helping people improve their health, this is one of the most impactful opportunities that has come my way.


First, employees want wearables. It is a popular consumer health trend that many employees value.

Second, wearables can provide employers with objective data to make insightful program improvements.

Third, the data are derived from the employee taking ongoing action, which is an important differentiator from the data that come from one-time biometric screenings or other less frequent data collection mechanisms. This ongoing action supports long-term behavior change, which is a key in order to driving a positive impact on an organization’s bottom line.

As exciting as wearable technology is, simply delivering the devices to employees and not developing an ongoing engagement strategy will severely limit their impact. My advice is to take the time to:

1. secure leadership buy-in and ongoing support
2. properly communicate and promote the program,
3. pick an incentive strategy that is both sustainable for the organization and meaningful to employees,
4. create ongoing social interactions and programs to keep employees using the devices, and
5. set baseline goals and objectives and plan for how you are going to measure them.

Without this forethought, wearables will likely not drive meaningful results. As referenced earlier in this issue of The Art of Health Promotion, one-third of wearable devices are abandoned after only 6 months of use.

My work with employers has demonstrated time and again that although giving wearables to employees creates initial excitement, that enthusiasm quickly wears off. Those employers who are most successful at driving sustained usage and creating true health improvement do so by creating a wearables strategy focused on the 5 elements listed above.

I love using and understanding how to optimize wearables to improve my own individual health and the health of my client organizations. But I live, eat, and breathe health. The vast majority of the population does not. For them, we need a strong wellness program with a strategic plan and expert execution to achieve the success I’ve seen wearable devices provide for so many employers.”

You can read the full Journal publication here.

Also, if you have any questions, or would like to talk about adding a similar strategy to your wellness program, connect with one of strategists by booking a time using their online calendar here.