Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Biggest Loser -- Feedback from the Follow-Up Survey

We reviewed all the survey results and debriefed from our Biggest Loser campaign. Here is what we learned. First, the program really fostered a sense of community. I don't think we talk about this aspect of workplace wellness programs enough. I've been struggling with how to describe what I observed. Someone that completed the survey said it well. 

"The community spirit that permeated office-wide was fantastic. Inadvertently, this program managed to create the sense of community that many complained was lost when we moved to this new building. I really enjoyed geting to know the team members better and enjoyed the opportunity to talk with those I'd encountered in the lunch room (or elsewhere) given that we all had a topic of mutual interest. The fact that it was a team effort actually helped me to stay on track with my dietary goals and I am very grateful for having had this program as I really wanted to lose weight but without the structure, may not have been quite so commited. Thanks so much HR for doing this program!!!!"

I found it interesting that people wanted more one-on-one coaching and time with a nutritionist, yet only six individuals took advantage of the one-on-one wellness coaching we made available through our EAP. People really liked, Meilissa, the nutritionist that did a Weight Management presentation for us. We explained that if they called the EAP they could meet individually with her, but only six people did. I think one of the reasons workplace wellness programs are so effective is that they make classes and services so easily available. If we bring someone into the office and schedule the appointments, people participate, if they need to make the contact on their own, they just don't get around to it.

If we do this again, we'll probably keep the screenings simpler -- just weight, body fat, and maybe cholesterol and blood glucose. We'll save the fitness related assessments for other programs. Based on the feedback from our participants we might also suggest or require that participants have a BMI of 25 or higher. 

A huge thank you to Cyndi at Lifeworks Strategies and all their staff that helped us in this endeavor. Here's a summary of the survey results.
Results Summary

  • The majority (97%) of participants were motivated to join the program for their desire to lose weight or achieve a personal goal. Some employees were motivated by others, such as a family member, co-worker or doctor.
  • Regarding specific program goals, more than half (54%) stated that weight loss was their primary goal. Other top goals included improving fitness (11%), eating a healthier diet (9%) and weight maintenance (7%). A handful of participants wanted to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol or control diabetes.
  • Nearly 90% of participants felt they made progress towards their primary goal; about 45% of participants felt they achieved half or three-quarters of their goal. More than a quarter of participants (27%) felt they fully achieved or exceeded their primary goal.
  • The weekly weigh-ins (82%), initial screenings (78%), seminars (68%), and team support (64%), were most commonly reported to have high or very high impact on helping participants reach their goal. These components were followed by mid-point screenings (57%) and on-site fitness classes (53%). More than half of the participants reported that the potential for prizes had no impact. About one-third of participants felt the team challenges had no impact on helping them reach their goals.
  • Most all participants positively changed eating or fitness habits as a result of the program. More than 80% are eating appropriate portions of food, more than three-quarters are making healthier food choices when eating out, and 64% have increased the amount of fruits and vegetables in their diet. Three-quarters of participants are exercising more during the week, and about 67% are taking the stairs more often.
  • The program seemed to have less impact on the participants’ water intake, where half reported about the same level as before. The majority of participants (67%) reported no change in the amount of restful sleep, yet the same number (67%) of people also reported increased energy.
  • Eight employees (11%) were able to decrease or eliminate the use of OTC medications and one participant has eliminated the use of prescription medication. Six employees reported that their doctor had increased their prescription medication; it is unknown if the program had an impact on uncovering new conditions that required medication.
  • It is encouraging that nearly all of employees (99%) have made healthy lifestyle changes as a result of the program which they plan to continue in addition to continuing to work towards a weight loss goal.
  • An additional benefit of this program was improved co-worker relationships. Most participants (84%) felt that the Biggest Loser Program enhanced their relationship with their co-workers.
  • If this program were offered again, 87% said they would be likely to participate; 54% said they would be very likely to participate. 

Feedback Summary

Two questions asked participants about what they enjoyed most about the Biggest Loser campaign and suggestions to improve the Biggest Loser campaign, respectively. The feedback was both positive and constructive.

Some common positive themes include:

  • Participants felt the tone of the program was upbeat and most felt incredibly supported by coworkers and HR.
  • Participants seemed to learn a lot about proper diet and exercise through a variety of program activities, including seminar, screenings and coaching support.
  • Many employees felt that being part of a team was helpful (helped hold them accountable) and enjoyable.
  • Many enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment and being able to track results throughout the program.
  • Most participants were able to apply at least “some” of the information from all seminars to their efforts. Participants seemed to have gained the most information from the initial Weight Management seminar.
Some common areas of concern include:
  • Participants would have liked a kick-off session or more detailed introduction to the program at the beginning.
  • It was concerning to some participants that there were people in the program who did not appear to need to loose weight. (I blogged about this before.)
  • On the other hand, a few participants suggested the program have a broader focus beyond weight loss.
  • Some employees felt that the team challenges did not accommodate all types of participants and could be improved. (You can read about each of the three team callenges and view pictures in previous posts.)
  • Some participants recognized that a team does not work well for everyone; some were frustrated with their specific team or other individuals lack of commitment to the program.
  • Participants would like more time to meet one-on-one with a Coach.
  • Some participants would prefer less email reminders during the program.
  • Participants suggested that we improve the fitness related assessments. (I blogged about this too.)


Elizabeth Borton said...

We did a "virtual" walk a thon for a national client and one of the most positive impacts was also the spirit of commaraderie that it created. Folks do love to connect and these kinds of events make it happen.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog, it was actually very helpful in creating a follow-up survey for our company's first ever healthy weight challenge.