An increasing number of firms have implemented workplace health promotion programmes (WHPPs). However, such programmes can only be effective and economically viable if employees actually engage. In an effort to uncover ways to promote employee engagement and, hence, WHPP effectiveness, the purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of the inclusion of a gamification element in a worksite health promotion programme on health outcomes.Design/methodology/approachReal-life data from a WHPP provider firm were analysed. Linear and logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the impact of participating in a step challenge on average daily step count and the likelihood of reaching the widely communicated goal of taking at least 10,000 steps per day.FindingsIt was found that the inclusion of gamification elements was significantly positively related to physical activity outcomes: employees who participated in the step challenge took considerably more steps than employees who did not participate (β=1,139.36, p<0.005). Participation increased the likelihood of fulfilling the recommended goal of 10,000 steps per day significantly vs non-participants (β=1.81, p=0.005). Finally, the results indicate that challenge participation was associated with a considerably greater increase in steps for men than for women.Originality/valueThis research advances the scientific understanding of the modern types of WHPPs that build on digital solutions and gamification. As an increasing number of firms face the challenge of designing a programme that actually works, the finding that the inclusion of gamification considerably increases programme effectiveness in terms of health outcomes is highly valuable.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 16, 2020
Keywords: Workplace health; Workplace wellness; Gamification; Workplace health promotion; Digital health; Step challenge
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