A Guest Post By Kyla Martin – Director at HealthChase


Maintaining employee engagement and the ongoing use of available on-line programs is the biggest challenge facing wellbeing programs1 .

In this article I will share our insights from 5 years of gathering engagement data through our on-line game-based programs. The HealthChase model has been built and pivoted from day one based on player insights and feedback and we average in excess of 80% daily engagement as a result.

We believe that it is only once you have these high levels of engagement that true behaviour change can take place, positive cultures develop and true impact made to improve lives, wellbeing and performance.

We hope in sharing our top 5 engagement drivers we can help workplaces make positive impact in helping people and workplaces ‘thrive’!


Our Purpose and Why

Our ‘why’ has always been to improve lives by activating positive, sustainable and measurable behaviour change. We set out to bridge the gap between education and action in a scalable, simple and fun way that creates cultures where wellbeing is valued and practised as much as that beer on a Friday night.

To do so, we knew we had to be the masters of engagement and motivate evidence based behaviour change that embraced diversity and inclusion.  

Like any new program, we had the opportunity to decide how we were going to approach it. For us the decision was to be 100% people and impact centric. If it didn’t engage, add value or create positive change it was out. At the same time we needed to open ourselves up to asking and responding to feedback, new ideas and be ongoing learners, as hard as that sometimes was. Letting go of great ideas that we thought should work in favour of those that did work proved the hardest thing!


Top 5 Engagement Drivers!

Our quantitative and qualitative data highlights 5 key engagement winners. Below I have ranked them based on community impact. Please note that most of the top engagement drivers are also the main change drivers.

1. Teamwork

It’s the clear winner when it comes to engagement AND behaviour change. People love a common goal and achieving together. It needs to be inclusive and celebrate diversity.


(Australia Post Living our Values game)

It’s why we see many of the solo endeavours fail and too much individual customisation leads to disengagement.

It is better for teams to have the same goal but allow people and teams to contribute and achieve it in their own way.

For example, if improving nutrition is the goal then it is better to set a vegetable intake goal not a prescriptive diet plan. Some people will prefer to eat their veggies in a salad and others in a curry. In a team, peer-to-peer sharing is the preferred method of learning. It also ensures that the information remains current and culturally relevant.  After all we don’t care how they eat their veggies (maybe not deep fried!) just that we want them to eat them. Evidence shows that we should eat a minimum of 5 serves a day to benefit health and personal performance.

If you are improving safety in a warehouse, then let the team find the solutions that suit their environment, you are just setting the goal. And always enable a way for peers to share! Australia Post shared over 1800 photos and 2500 game and team chats between 737 retail outlets as teams strove to live their core team values including safety in just 5 days. It was also a way to engage and connect outlets geographically spread right across Australia.

Team based peer to peer learning and change is much more ‘sticky’ and enjoyable that finding personal time to read about it, apply it and go it alone.


(Photo courtesy of Australia Post – Living our Values game)


2. Conscious Choice

This is a close second on the engagement front. ‘Don’t tell me what to do, let me do it in my own way.’ It’s about everyday choices and keeping people mindful when choices are being made. Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards add value and motivate making the better choice. Whatever it is, it has to be choice driven and respectful of diversity.

Gamification is a great way to do this as we can add points or rewards throughout the Games to give instant reward for making the better choices. Whilst this is important and in the top 10 engagement drivers, the intrinsic reward for adding value to the team and business community can’t be topped.

When setting up a wellbeing or change program you need to ask ‘what are the prompts and rewards for making the better choice?’.  For example, in gamification we might reward individual and team points for certain behaviours based on the value to individual, team wellbeing or performance and add automated reminders. If your program is team-based you will also have your team members to remind. Maybe even a captain appointed to do so. If you have your whole organisation participating then it becomes part of your daily language as you all make change.

Remember people’s intentions are great but sometimes busy gets in the way! At HealthChase we allow people to come and go to keep it inclusive but we keep it front of mind for all participants. Often teams will find their own way of keeping it forefront of mind. Allow for creativity as shown in this Australia Post team photo in the game below!

(Photo courtesy of Australia Post – Living our Values game)

People remain engaged if they can make it a part of their everyday and feel good about the choices they make. If you make it too hard then people don’t have time and if there are no reminders people may forget.


3. Improved feelings of wellbeing

Improved wellbeing is the leading reason people will sign up to a wellbeing program (teamwork opportunity is the 2nd) and hence you must deliver it in a timely way for people to remain engaged.

People need evidence to see that it’s working.

We currently average 93% of participants saying that they have an improved sense of wellbeing in our core wellbeing programs. We are very purposeful in structuring programs to deliver this and aim to achieve a balance between short and long-term gains. For example, nutrition is one of the easiest ways to improve energy levels and will give quick returns in how participants feel both on a wellbeing front and business front with reduced presenteeism outcomes. We also know that fruit and vegetable or fibre intake is great for mental health (as well as many other health gains) and only 6% of Australian’s eat enough. We have received hugely positive responses when we motivate people to increase their veggie intake.

If you can be inclusive, connect communities to a shared vision, allow individuals a voice or activate mindfulness behaviours then you will have a similar response. Laughter cannot be underestimated either, so permission to have fun.


4. Simplicity

People are busy. Programs need to be well communicated, simple and easy. If people need to study up before they start a program you will lose a lot of the people before it even starts. Too many options and working your way through these options can also become hard work.

Big content platforms can struggle to engage when participants are left to make too many decisions, if large amounts of time are needed to read through content, if they are unclear on benefits or too individualised. We know that education is important but formal education alone rates low as an effective way to engage people in change.

Short sharp hits of team engagement with very timely and targeted outcomes taking minutes a day will get the best results.

As mentioned, sometimes removing all the ‘extras’ can be the hardest thing when designing your program. Trying to do too much can disengage, confuse and feel too hard when we are already stressed and trying to find balance in life.

If you are looking at an on-line scaled program that can’t be launched via a 5-7 minute video then maybe it’s too complex.

(Photo courtesy of Australia Post – Healthy Rewards Game)


5. Keep it social

I can’t over emphasis this enough. People don’t want extra work but they do want extra play (or social interactions)! We often get the comments that the thing they like most about the program is that it is not work related. The fact is that it is completely work related as it improves employee engagement, wellbeing and collaboration. This in turn improves performance, business performance and ROI.

Most of all end on a high!

(Photo courtesy of Australia Post – Healthy Rewards Game)



Be clear on your why, the outcomes you’re hoping to achieve and how they tie into business values. Connect peers through teamwork and a shared vision whether it’s wellbeing or business related. Make inclusivity a priority by allowing and embracing diversity and choice. Empower creativity and problem solving. Add value to your purpose and return feelings of wellbeing to the participants. Keep it simple, social and fun!

And if you really want to make impact…MEASURE IT! It’s not an engagement driver but it will help you gain understanding and keep getting better at impact.

We hope this helps and would love to hear about what engages your teams to activate positive change.

1. Mercer Marsh Benefits (2018). Benefit and Benchmarking Trends


At The Serenity Collective we’re incredibly excited to be partnering with HealthChase to bring ALL participants at The Thriving Workplace 2019 the opportunity to take part in a HealthChase ‘taster’ game for the entire event week! The game will reward key behaviours that will help you thrive in the workplace and will be custom built to the top interests specific to THIS thriving community!

You can discover more about how HealthChase measurably improves team connectedness, mental and physical wellbeing, performance and lives through game based programs HERE


Sign Up To Be Part Of The Collective

Get the latest research findings, what's coming up, and loads of inspiration!

You have Successfully Subscribed!