How to Run a Wellness Challenge

We’ve spent our last few blog posts outlining why wellness programs work and why wellness challenges are our favorite way to engage staff. Read on to learn about how to run your own wellness challenge…

Running your first wellness challenge?

Now we know that wellness pays for itself and that a wellness challenge is a simple way to improve your wellness culture, so what are the steps to get one started at your workplace?

Set the Stage 

▢ Decide the type of challenge you’ll run. Be sure that the activity universally improves health or wellness for participants of all types (we specialize in Step Challenges)

▢ Pick a time to run it. (Note: research suggests 8 weeks is the optimal time to keep it simple while driving post-challenge activity.)

▢ Set the means of engagement – how do people track, log, and report? Is there a third-party app, an online form tool, or a manually updated spreadsheet? (Keep it simple!)


▢ Schedule (3) emails leading up to remind people to sign up

▢ Use any other available corporate communication channels to promote the challenge

▢ Build a communication strategy for participants that are falling behind and those that are excelling

▢ Create and display/distribute a compelling leaderboard

Cover your bases

▢ Is it inclusive by ability?

▢ Is it inclusive by device type? Can non-smartphone-users participate?

▢ Are you storing personally identifiable information? If so, do you have appropriate security protocols in place to protect your participant data?

▢ Likewise, be sure to allow participants to set user names and other terms so that their personal info isn’t being shared with other participants. For fitness challenges, be especially sure to protect location data!

▢ Prevent fraud and cheating


▢ Regularly collect inputs from participants (we recommend daily)

▢ Enter this data into your leaderboard (we recommend daily)

▢ Ensure that participation data reflects inputs in competition turns. Any layperson should be able to tell who is in the lead, by how much, and what actions are driving the competition.


▢ Pick a fun incentive that is legal and compliant with your company’s policies

▢ Plan a fun way to reward the winners – an end-of-challenge party, a well-formatted company-wide newsletter, or similar are great ways to get started.

▢ Encourage continued behavior – remind of the next upcoming challenge, or share the health benefits, or something

If you follow these steps, you’re sure to be on your way to a happier workforce.

Of course, it’s natural to look at these steps and want a professional by your side. Or to have a proven system in place rather than re-inventing the wheel with spreadsheets. Or to dedicate so many staff hours to implementation that you might’ve been better off buying a challenge package.

Create your own or use a step challenge provider?

If you’re up for the challenge, try printing the list to get your teams moving & motivated!

Feeling overwhelmed at managing engagement, data collection, and reporting while balancing security, privacy, compliance, and legal issues? We don’t blame you. That’s why thousands of companies, including most Fortune 1000 companies, turn to third-party providers like Walker Tracker every day.

Third parties do this all the time and know how to onboard all types of participants, collect & report data, and provide complete reporting to make sure your challenge is a hit. Third parties also know the required reporting for healthcare rebates/discounts. Last, dedicated support walks you through the process, whether it’s your organization’s first or hundredth wellness challenge.

Third parties include everyone, preserve your sanity, and save money.

Challenge: Accepted

Challenges are a fun way to include everyone, remain compliant with HR regulations, and genuinely improve the health of the lifeblood of your organization. 

Running a challenge is a simple way to quantifiably engage your organization and delight participants and managers.

Walker Tracker’s Solution

Walker Tracker has a step challenge for every organization size. Our Turnkey solution checks all of the boxes and gets you out the door with a best-in-class challenge. We also have an Enterprise solution for larger teams that give granular control over every element of the challenge. Enterprise helps you learn more about your staff while providing critical data that can actually inform on other elements on HR – it’s a truly complete package.

Free Consultation