Category Archives: wellness

Game On for Employee Gamification

While speaking at a recent HR conference in Vegas, I had occasion to meet Jane McGonigal, game designer, speakerauthor, and probably the world’s biggest advocate for gamification, the idea of adding game incentives like points and prizes to non-game activities.  

While within the HR community gamification is still catching on (I find a number of my clients don’t even know recognize the word) gaming, in all forms, is incredibly popular. When the latest Call of Duty video game was released in November, one in four workers called in sick. Look at it from a productivity standpoint: The amount of hours it took to create all of Wikipedia’s content in 12 years…is spent every three weeks playing Angry Birds

During Jane’s keynote speech, she cited the 2012 Gallup study that found that 71% of American employees aren’t fully engaged in their work, making it “impossible to innovate” and costing $30 billion in lost productivity annually. 

Infographic courtesy of Gigya

It’s no surprise that she believes gamification can help. Evidently she’s
not alone. A study by gamification company Gigya showed that gamification increases website engagement by 29%, website commenting by 13%, and social media sharing by 22%. Here are some recent employee gamification success stories.

Motivating employees
Risk Management Services recently turned an internal re-branding into
a trading card game. “Another email or intranet page just wasn’t going to get employees on board,” Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Employee Engagement Amelia Merrill told IABC. “
This contest was fun and different from anything we have ever done.” Merrill said the initiative was a “smashing success.”
Orientation and onboarding
Recruitment marketing agency Maximum recently won a Creative Excellence Award for Best Interactive Media for its Deloitte China Virtual Tour campaign. Maximum virtually mapped Deloitte’s offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, allowing job-seekers to explore every department – and get a firsthand look at what working at Deloitte China is really like. More than 20,000 job-seekers took part in the tour’s game feature, Green Dot Mission, and shared their scores on China’s most popular social networks.

Health and wellness
Aetna recently partnered with social media company Mindbloom to create an enhanced version of Mindbloom’s Life Game, an online social game for personal wellness. Players grow an on-screen tree by attaining personal goals, ranging from health to relationships to finances. According to Forbes, activities include “substituting water for soda, taking the stairs to the office, cleaning your room each day, or simply thanking a friend.” Players earn virtual rewards while making progress in their real lives.

Employee referrals
Just last month, Herd Wisdom launched Most Wanted, a mobile app that gamifies the employee referral process. How? “Every action – from choosing an avatar to sharing a job posting – earns points and get participants in the running to win giveaways from Herd Wisdom,” the
company says. The game offers “instant gratification,” since employees can earn points and prizes before they refer anyone, and features funny animated scenes to keep them engaged. Mobile apps like Most Wanted turn social sharing and mobile gaming, which just about everyone likes, into a talent pipeline for any company.

Are you ready to gamify your careers site, social recruiting channels, employee referral program, or other HR initiatives? Contact Brandemix and it’s game on.

Connecting the Tissue Between Health Care and Branding

Hospitals face a number of challenges in recruiting physicians. Smaller facilities and those in rural areas find it difficult to compete with high-tech hospitals in major cities. Some states, like Nevada, are burdened with high medical insurance costs. Lastly, and most surprisingly, the large number of specialties and sub-specialties means that the candidate pool for each position is surprisingly small.
How are hospitals standing out in the crowded marketplace? By branding.
You would think that branding would have no place in health care – the environment is too clinical, the stakes are too high, and the workplace is too busy. But hospitals have been using social media to become thought leaders and experts in their field, allowing them to polish their brand, attract new patients, and recruit top talent.
Consider Children’s Hospital in Dallas, where the public relations department live-tweeted a kidney transplant between a father and his three-year-old son. After the dramatic event, the hospital’s Twitter following jumped by almost 400%, twenty people had contacted the hospital to inquire about becoming organ donors, and dozens of media outlets conducted interviews with either the surgeons or the patients. This enormous response (from what is actually a rather routine procedure) raised the facility’s profile with both patients and physicians, who sought out what was now a brand that symbolized cutting-edge technology and heartwarming success stories. Since then, six other hospitals have live-tweeted surgical procedures, ranging from a hysterectomy to brain surgery.

Another great example is St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. Its Facebook page features a health tip every day, and the organization allows anyone to post on the Wall. Whether it’s a patient thanking their nurse for great care or a staffer quickly responding to a bad ER experience, St. Joseph’s has created a brand around customer service and quick response time. It’s no wonder that the hospital has over 2,300 Facebook likes.
While Children’s and St. Joseph’s demonstrate pure branding, some hospitals are even using social media directly for recruitment. The famous Mayo Clinic, for example, has its own careers Twitter: @mayoclinicjobs. The organization has almost 1,900 followers and posts jobs openings at its Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota campuses throughout the day. Clearly, the HR department at the Mayo Clinic is aware of the 2008 New England Journal Medicine study that revealed that 71% of physicians searched for jobs online.
We’ve seen branding applied to consumer products, sports teams, and celebrities. Now the health care industry is using branding to connect with consumers and job applicants. These practices also help hospitals demystify their field and focus on their medical triumphs instead of the uncertainty and paperwork that many associate with medicine.
It should be clear by now that every industry can benefit from branding and recruitment through social media. Are you using social media to brand your company and recruit top talent?

Four Ways to Keep Your Employees Committed to Staying Healthy

How Well Are You Doing Wellness?

Absenteeism costs American businesses around $200 billion a year. Promoting wellness at your company not only reduces these losses but lowers your health insurance costs. You may already have bike racks in your parking lot and healthier snacks in your vending machines, but that’s not enough to increase your workers’ health and productivity. Below are four ways, from low-tech to cutting-edge, to keep your employees committed to staying healthy.

1. Copy Costco

The future of corporate wellness programs is to make them social. Wellness-only Facebook pages allow employees to check contest deadlines, share advice, and give each other encouragement. Costco’s Facebook page is particularly effective in getting information to its employees, answering questions, and posting photos of activities.

Similarly, Facebook Events lets companies invite employees to marathons, health screenings, and other activities. Make you let the world’s most popular social network work for you.

2. Scratch That Itch

Contests can be social, too. For example, though giveaways are fun, they don’t provide a lot of participation.; once you’ve entered, you’re done. The solution? Scratch-to-win cards. The more an employee participates in the wellness program, or the more benchmarks she passes, the more cards she’ll receive. Scratching off cards is much more engaging than a prize drawing, and colleagues can gather around to cheer each other as the employee discovers what she won. If you have workers who play the lottery, they’ll love scratch cards.

3. Game the System

Virtual gaming is the next step, and software tools like Bunchball’s Nitro can apply game mechanics to any campaign, including corporate wellness. Participants can earn points and rewards each time they take a health quiz, practice for a marathon, or for each day they don’t smoke. Games appeal to people’s innate love of status and competition. New challenges and an ever-changing online leaderboard can ensure that everyone participates, anyone can win, and no one ever gets bored.

4. Life Support

Another social aspect to a wellness program is the support group. Biking and running groups get to exercise together, but the workers trying to quit smoking, or eat healthier, or manage stress are often left to fend for themselves. Creating a group lets them support each other and reward each other’s success. A support group could be a half-hour weekly meeting (with or without management), a special site or message board on your intranet, or a public social support site like 43Things.

Consider all these social aspects when you create or redesign your company’s wellness program. From Facebook to games to old-fashioned face-to-face “social networking,” making your corporate wellness program social can keep your employees engaged, productive, and healthy.