Fantasy Football is like Worksite Wellness

Posted by: Carol Michaels
Date: September 21, 2015

Can we talk Fantasy Football? While I do not claim to be an expert, I do know about worksite wellness. And, I think we can learn a few things about how Fantasy Football engages people in an activity where it feels good to play, even better to win, and to be part of a team—all similar goals for your company wellness program.

If your household is anything like mine, football season is pretty intense. I witness my family and friends’ engagement in conversations, social media, statistics, and awareness of their team’s performance week-to-week rival any other form of entertainment. On cue, my husband will know his exact team rank, visiting his team portal page bookmarked in his smartphone multiple times a day. He will text and email his friends more than at any other point of the year.

A successful worksite wellness program should strive for this high degree of engagement. Here’s how to get it done.

Build your wellness program like your Fantasy Football team. 
The structure of Fantasy Football leagues and teams is like having strong company leadership support for your wellness programs and people who are invested in program success. Fantasy Football league captains organize everyone around common draft rules and methods, mediate trade disputes, and plan out incentives for the high scorers. Team owners will voraciously read articles online about strategy, player injury updates, and use chat pages to chide each other—all in good fun—but in a way that competitively motivates each of them to do better next week.

What if your company wellness program could kick off the same way?

A good Quarterback is good, but great Wide Receivers are better.
In the regular game of football, a team needs a great Quarterback. As the strategy nucleus, they lead the play and throw the ball where it needs to go. Your wellness program needs strong leadership support and someone who is designated to lead the wellness team or committee. But in Fantasy Football, Wide Receivers are your first pick. They catch the ball that the quarterback throws and are the difference between getting close to scoring or fumbling the ball. Whether you work with a health and wellness expert as a consultant or have an internal staff member dedicated to your program, the key is to have someone who is not only knowledgeable about how to run your program plays, but is also capable of getting your program closer to reaching your goals as planned and avoiding errors and a fumble that can derail your progress. Your wellness Wide Receiver should expect to get tackled from time to time, which all programs experience at some point (e.g. lack of time, money, and resources).  But a team of great wellness Wide Receivers will be able to handle anything your program throws at them.

Running Backs fuel your score.
When BeneFIT works with clients, we encourage clients to create both short and long-term company wellness goals. The football field is no different – in order to get a touchdown, there are 100 yards and many downs in between. Rarely does a team run the ball the entire field to a touchdown, just like most companies need many short-term milestone goals to keep their program on target, organized and moving forward.  In Fantasy Football, Running Backs score points as they run the ball to the end zone. They are nimble and quick to change their route if they see blocks or interference. Achieving your company wellness goals involves finding those pathways in order to meet your goals. Great Running Backs are internal company champions who know your home turf – (a.k.a. your company culture) – and are experienced to know what will work and what to avoid. They may be masters at networking in your company or connecting your wellness team to the right decision makers or resources so that you can achieve your goals faster.

You can change your Defense.
Unlike the other single positions on a football team, in Fantasy Football, you select one Defense – an entire NFL team – to score points based on how well they play during the week. At the beginning of the season, you might be lucky enough to select a Defensive team that is picked to win the Superbowl, but somewhere into the season, they might stop playing well. You’re not stuck – you can drop them and pick up another Defensive team. Your company wellness strategy is the same. You’re never stuck – you are in control of how you approach your goals and can change your strategy as you learn what is working and not working in your program. Too often, companies stick with what they have always done or think they need to follow a certain set of steps. Remember to tap into your wellness Quarterback – reinvent your strategy – and get back on the leaderboard toward your goal.

Here is your playbook. We are your coaches.
I hope this story about Fantasy Football and worksite wellness makes you think differently about your company wellness program. Look for more upcoming BeneFIT blog posts from our team of health and wellness experts packed with their advice, perspectives, and out-of-the-box tips and resources to help your company and your employees sustain health and wellbeing all year long. Think of us as your company’s ‘fantasy wellness program’ coach—helping you and your employees plan your next moves, avoid injury pitfalls, and keep everyone motivated toward your ultimate goals. But unlike Fantasy Football, your successful wellness program can last long after the Superbowl. With goals, social support, incentives, measurable success, and most important—fun—you have the perfect recipe for engaging your team. Approach planning your company worksite wellness program this way and get ready to do your victory dance!

Unifying & Retaining Employees