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Recognizing that bragging rights and high-tech gadgetry would provide more incentive than premium discounts for Event Network Inc.'s spirited and scattered workforce to engage in wellness activities, Meredith DeMartino, executive vp of talent development, devised a series of wellness challenges in which individual employees and teams of employees could compete.
The San Diego-based niche retailer for cultural attractions often holds sales and creativity contests, including an annual “EN's Got Talent” competition where employees present ideas for new products to be sold in its stores in a fashion similar to the popular reality TV show.
“Part of it is understanding your culture and what incentives work in your culture. Being in retail, we have a competitive environment. So it's less about getting to save $20 every pay period on benefits and more about the bragging rights that comes with being the top producer,” Ms. DeMartino said. “We like to do things that people can see and celebrate.”
And, to further emphasize the company's focus on wellness, awards for winning the competitions are handed out at the company's annual meeting in conjunction with recognitions given for meeting sales and other performance goals, she said.
However, employees that do not use tobacco still are eligible to save $10 per pay period on their health insurance contributions. In addition, all employees enrolled in the company health plans can save $10 per pay period for completing an annual health risk assessment and biometric screening.
The most successful Event Network-sponsored wellness competition is “Walktober,” a monthlong event held in October that encourages employees to “get moving” by earning points for various activities including walking and gardening.
Participating employees download their activity, which is tracked by electronic sensors called “accelerometers” designed to measure various types of movement. The sensors, which are attached to employees' shoes, are provided by Carlsbad, Calif.-based Sonic Boom Wellness, Event Network's online wellness tracking partner. Employees also can earn points for proper hydration and eating healthy.
Employees compete individually and as part of teams. The activity points earned by each team member are averaged across the group. Individuals with the most points are eligible to win prizes like water bottles, while teams with the most points on average can earn various perks like pizza parties.
Business Insurance created the Benefit Manager of the Year® award in 2005 to recognize excellence and innovation in employee benefits management.