Thought Leadership

Part 2 – 2022 Engagement White Paper – Defining Engagement


The definition of program “engagement” has evolved over the years.  Traditionally, engagement meant how many people use a program or how long or how frequently they use it; however, this definition is no longer sufficient.  To achieve engagement that delivers results, how we view engagement must also consider other important aspects of engagement, such as whether the engagement can lead to the desired outcome, whether the engagement is frequent and sustained, and whether it is improving over time.  We consider four dimensions of engagement critical to the success of a health and well-being program.

Breadth of Engagement

We define “breadth of engagement” as the number of people the program reaches in an eligible population.  This can be broadly measured by the percentage of the eligible population registering for the program and how many registered individuals participate in at least one activity in a program year.

Additionally, when looking at how many people the program reaches, measuring the diversity of participation is vital, as health and well-being programs can be the catalyst to creating more inclusive environments and equitable health outcomes.

Depth of Engagement

We define “depth of engagement” as how frequently people registered in the program engage.  This can be measured by looking at active user program interactions, particularly the percentage of members completing daily, weekly, or monthly activities and the number of interactions over these periods.

Many programs have a status, level or tiering system where members can move up in a status/level by engaging and achieving more in the program.  The percentage of members achieving higher statuses, levels, or tiers is also a useful measure for assessing depth of engagement.

Quality of Engagement

We define “quality of engagement” as how significant or meaningful the engagement is in the context of the program’s goals.  This is especially relevant in making people healthier to reduce costs, and it requires incentivizing and rewarding measurable, clinically relevant healthy activities. As the number of people living with controllable co-morbidities continues to rise and puts pressure on these costs, driving targeted engagement is critical.

To measure quality, analyzing engagement by different categories and activities is beneficial.  It is essential to look at clinically significant activities like Health Risk Assessment completions, biometric screenings, and physical activity.  It is also essential to assess whether the program/platform can engage at-risk members who may face significant barriers in their well-being journeys.

Momentum of Engagement

Time is the fourth important, but often neglected, dimension when evaluating program engagement.  We define engagement momentum as how well the program sustains and improves engagement over time.  Many programs may generate initial interest but see a decrease in engagement from year to year.  To sustain and improve engagement, programs must closely monitor the program’s performance, evaluate progress, and adjust strategy when necessary.

In the next blog, we’ll be diving into how best to drive engagement.  Stay tuned! 

To learn more, download the 2022 Engagement White Paper.

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