Thought Leadership

Part 3 – 2022 Engagement White Paper – Driving Engagement


To understand how Vitality drives engagement, we fitted two models to our engagement data and supplemented this with further analyses, case studies, and research.  A few key themes emerged:

Integrating Incentive Plans and Benefits is Key

Employers have long used incentives such as additional time off work or health plan contribution decreases to drive engagement in key activities like completing compliance courses and surveys and participating in company-sponsored events.  Health plans have also used incentives such as deductible and co-payment decreases and cash rewards to drive key behaviors like screenings and primary care utilization, albeit with mixed results.  Previous studies on our engagement data and our experience as a health plan have shown that well-designed, integrated incentives are a powerful, if not vital, mechanism for driving program participation and engagement.

Two metrics for employer incentive plans were considered for our models: one that measures the size of the incentive, as indicated by the maximum dollar amount per year through the incentive plan, and another that measures the difficulty of achieving the incentive plan, as noted in the percentage of employees that would achieve the incentive plan requirements based on our book-of-business average engagement.

We found that an increase in integrated incentive plan size and difficulty from average to high corresponds to a 7.5% increase in registration rates and up to an 18.9% increase in depth of engagement, as measured by the percentage of registered members that achieve Gold or Platinum Vitality Status (our highest engagement levels).

Program Sponsor Support Makes All the Difference

In our modeling, we found that leadership support, culture and communications were among the most significant factors driving Vitality program participation and depth of engagement, and for employers, are critical elements for creating a culture of wellness.

Leadership support was the most significant driver of depth of engagement with an improvement in manager support from average to high corresponding to an almost doubling (92% increase) in the percentage of registered members achieving Gold or Platinum Vitality Status.  This is also reflected in the number of monthly interactions per member, with an increase in manager support from average to high corresponding to an increase in program interactions of 47%.

When we assessed the significance of Champs programs (wellness ambassadors promoting the program and spreading the culture of health within an organization), we found that strong Champs programs drive stronger engagement. The strength of Champs programs was found to be significant for depth of engagement, with an increase in Champs program strength associated with a 34% increase in the rate of members who achieve Gold or Platinum Status and a 17.6% increase in the number of activities per member per month.

Frequent and deeply penetrating communications were a significant driver of high levels of registration in our participation model. An increase in communications strength from average to strong was associated with an 11% increase in registration rates.

In-program Rewards are a Draw Factor and Engagement Enabler

Targeted, sophisticated incentives are proven to be a powerful and necessary component of any successful program. Beyond driving engagement, our engagement data modeling showed that in-program rewards levels drive program uptake and interest. Increases in reward levels are associated with increases in registration rates of up to 12% and increases in depth of engagement of up to 19%.

In the next blog, we’ll be diving into an assessment of Vitality’s engagement.  Stay tuned!  If you missed the previous blog on defining engagement, you can view it here.   

To learn more, download the 2022 Engagement White Paper.

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