Biometric Screenings Alone Will Not Produce the Health Change You Want in Your Wellness Program... Here's What Will

01.09.20 02:38 PM By Motion Connected

  • We've seen this wellness model done countless times:
    • I’ll pay for my employees to get biometric screenings…
    • …then I’ll add a meaningful incentive to increase participation…
    • …”Knowing Your Numbers” will be enough to make employees change their behaviors
    • …I’m glad that’s sorted!

While “Knowing Your Numbers” may inspire a few employees you catch at the right time, for the vast majority their report enters a drawer – never to be seen again, and not thought about until the next year’s mandatory screening.

More and more employers have run “biometric incentive” programs for 3-5 years with little to no impact on health risk. There’s more that can be done to drive real health outcomes.

Let’s share one story about an employer whose program had biometric screenings at the core, with a scattering of other wellness events offered throughout the year. They had strong leadership and incentives in place, but still after 5 years, their ultimate program goal – improve health risk – was trending in the wrong direction.

They approached us in 2018 in search of new solution. With some small tweaks to their wellness strategy, employees were encouraged to change their daily habits in order to earn the incentive.

The new program design included:

  • Implementing an annual points-based structure
  • Providing a technology solution to automate data collection
  • Importing participants weight, blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol results from 2017-2019 to each of their individual Motion Connected accounts, for easy access and trend tracking reference.
  • Developing a strong communication plan around the concept of:
  • Improving your results to ‘in-range’ = points to your Scorecard = year-end incentive.
  • A one month awareness and education campaign on how to improve your biometric results (lunch & learn, article, touch-point in newsletter) leading up to on-site screening.
  • Email reminder 1 week prior to screen and Outlook calendar reminder 1 day prior to screen to fast, take prescribed meds and to drink at least 16 oz of water.


With this enhanced design, the healthy employees had to do more than just show up once a year, and those who needed to improve their habits were provided with options and the tools to support behavior change.

Also, by adding in fun, inclusive elements, like physical activity challenges, they worked on creating more camaraderie and a self-sustaining healthy culture.

Typical Wellness Design  Enhanced Wellness Design
 Biometric screenings only>Biometric screenings PLUS year-round behaviors
On-site biometric screenings/vouchers>On-site biometric screenings/vouchers
Meaningful incentive achieved for competing biometrics >Meaningful incentive achieved for year-round action
Employees engaged for one -day >Employees engaged year-round
Incentives paid regardless of outcomes >Incentives paid based on willingness to maintain, or adopt healthy lifestyles

So, what were the results like after they made the switch? Here are their results at the end of their first year:

    • 80%+ of employees and spouses actively engaged in the program
    • 1 in 3 employees improved their biometric outcomes, resulting in the elimination of the highest health risk category
    • Increase in percentage of healthy employees (passing all biometric outcomes).
    • Incentives maintained but now outcomes included healthy culture, group health risk reduction and ROI based on biometric improvements
    • All employees with a healthy weight kept it throughout the first year.

These types of results show why biometric screenings need year-round behaviors to get the health outcomes employers are striving for. By pairing the initiatives together, you can encourage employees to take control of their daily lifestyle choices and engage them in a program that is built to help them successfully achieve new healthy habits.