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This Employee Wellness Solution Only Makes Companies Pay When Workers Actually Participate

by Muriel Vega

Increasingly, companies are taking responsibility for their employees’ wellbeing – a win-win that provides employees with access to resources to remain healthy and productive and allowing employers to save on expensive healthcare costs. Employee wellness programs have climbed to an almost $8 billion industry.

However, the engagement on these programs is often low — only about 15-20 percent of the company’s workforce participate, on average.

Don Doster founded his startup, gBehavior, to implement a points reward system that would encourage employees in the construction industry to follow safety guidelines, like wearing the correct protective equipment and passing inspections, to help reduce at-work incidents. “We saw tremendous success with a 40 to 60 percent reduction in reported injuries,” says Doster.

A client inquired about using the same reward system, but focusing it on health and wellness. Doster explains how the client was seeing increasing healthcare costs due to employees requesting brand name prescriptions instead of generic and visiting the ER on weekends for non-emergency colds or ear infections.

What if there was a program that would incentivize employees to use lower cost alternatives when ill and encourage them to stay healthy in the first place?

Doster implemented a pilot program of the system and saw positive engagement and lower healthcare costs for the employer. Shortly after, he brought insurance giant Kaiser Permanente on board.

However, since gBehavior’s platform was safety-focused, Doster went out to fundraise his first investment round to further develop the platform and populate it with the necessary health content, like nutrition and exercise advice.

Following a conversation with Atlanta-based Fulcrum Equity Partners, Doster made a business decision, and instead of building his own platform, acquired North Carolina-based startup Rival Health instead. The two companies merged in March 2017 and unveiled their joint product this month after a 16-month development period.

“We had several offsite meetings where we would take every aspect of our company and look at the current features and look at what the industry is calling for,” says Doster. “We did that from a marketing and product development perspective and also had an outside company interview our customers and gather feedback. We are asking an individual who is not happy with their health or another aspect to make a pivot; same with a company who is not happy with their wellness culture or safety metrics.”

Points-based reward platform GoPivot addresses engagement issues employers see when encouraging their employees to stay healthy and safe, both in and outside the workplace. “Other than payroll, the second largest expense that they have is their healthcare costs,” Doster says.

The mobile solution allows employers to configure goals and offers rewards for following recommended exercises, prescribed meal plans, annual doctor visits or reaching internal goals like 401K sign ups or specific sales metrics. Upon sign up, the platform will prescribe an exercise plan with a daily video based on your responses. The nutrition survey will ask you current weight and food allergies and then suggest a daily or weekly meal plan to follow.

The in-app rewards mall offers gift cards, travel and purchases from big box retailers. “We use the same psychology that you see in consumerism. Everyone likes to earn points, whether it’s frequent flyer or at a local store,” says Doster.

“We add ways that you can earn points immediately, like syncing your FitBit or downloading the mobile app, and help them earn a $25 gift card to encourage them to look for more point opportunities.”

The companies are also able to issue short-term challenges like a ‘no soda challenge’ with bonus points based on how many activities were completed by the employee.

GoPivot’s revenue is different from the standard per employee model most HR systems offer, instead offering a pay-for-performance model.

“With GoPivot, we get paid a penny a point when people do an activity — if you’re on our program and you didn’t engage with the app, we don’t get paid anything. You only pay for the employees that participate,” says Doster.

Following their launch, the GoPivot team will continue transitioning their current customers to the new platform, and continue growing the client roster.

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