We’re four weeks into 2016. Are you among the 30 percent of Americans who have already given up their resolutions for the new year?
During the January 7 episode of the “Bloomberg Benchmark podcast“, hosts Aki Ito and Tori Stilwell, joined by Dr. Katie Milkman from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed seven behavioral economics strategies for helping people keep their resolutions. During the podcast, the hosts shared a report from Twitter that three of the top ten New Year’s resolutions, as measured by tweets at the start of the year, were wellness related: “get in shape” (#1), “eat healthier” (#2), and “drink more water” (#6). “Save more money” was #10 on the list.
Boston Financial associates who have set health-related resolutions for 2016 get support in their efforts through our corporate wellness initiative. Organized to help fulfill our corporate goal of promoting associate engagement and development, our corporate wellness program introduces associates to ideas and resources for:
- Eating healthier
- Moving more
- Increasing life balance
Our wellness initiative integrates three of the resolution support tactics introduced by Dr. Milkman during the podcast: (1) motivating people through commitment devices (e.g., financial incentives or online tools), (2) using social media tools to keep people accountable to themselves (and one another), and (3) offering multiple points to make a fresh start.
Resolution Strategy 1: Motivating People through Commitment Devices
A commitment device is a strategy or tool that offers either an incentive or a disincentive to keep someone on track with their goal. Boston Financial’s most popular employee wellness activity, the fitness challenge, engages individuals and teams in friendly competitions for prizes and bragging rights. We organize our challenges across our five office locations using a virtual tool provided by one of our health plan vendors. This tool, which displays each participating associate’s progress in the challenge on a public dashboard, holds participants accountable to one another for meeting their personal or team obligations.
Our most successful challenge in 2015 was a team steps challenge hosted in late spring 2015. Nearly 400 associates organized into 42 teams, each took an average of 309,699 steps over the course of the six-week challenge, which was nearly 82 percent more than the average steps taken by associates in a similar challenge the previous year.
Resolution Strategy 2: Using Social Media to Hold People Accountable
We created a Wellness Community on our corporate intranet to give associates a place to share ideas, stories, resources, and aspirations. The “opt-in” community, which increased in size by more than 100 percent during 2015, sees an average of 2,250 individual events from approximately 50 percent of its 600 members every quarter. Through quizzes posted on the intranet, we introduced associates to new ideas and invited them to set personal health goals.
Resolution Strategy 3: Offering Multiple Points to Make a Fresh Start
The diversity of Boston Financial’s workforce means there is not a one size fits all approach to promoting associate wellness. All our programming is designed to offer an introductory approach for team members who are new to thinking about wellness, or making a fresh start. Fifteen-minute micro workshops on topics like healthy eating during the holidays or “desk-exercise” provide easy entry points for those who are new to the topic. During 2015 alone, we offered more than 15 opportunities for associates to learn new information, along with more than 10 health screening events to help associates understand their current health status.
Skin cancer screenings were among the free associate wellness programs hosted by Boston Financial in 2015.
Whatever their health-related resolutions, Boston Financial associates can look forward to another year of corporate wellness activities that will help them stick to their goals. What are your strategies for keeping your resolutions this year?