Discover what's new & improved in the MyFitnessPal app!
We’re dedicated to helping you achieve your health and nutrition goals. And our newest features and updates? They do just that. Learn how we're making tracking your progress easier, faster, and more motivating than ever.

Have employer based fit tracker programs fallen out of favor?

Options
If one searches on the topic of fit trackers and corporate insurance discounts one will find few articles beyond 2015.
FitBit made a big announcement about Target teaming up with fit bit in 2015. But today there is not mention of this as a "benefit" on Target's employee benefits page.
I'm guessing that that employers and health insurance companies discovered they have little overall impact on healthcare spending.
That doesn't mean that individuals don't get some benefit from them. But as a whole, there is not much benefit to employers when all the costs are accounted for.
Does anyone here work for en employer that gives health insurance discounts in exchange for allowing them to track your wrist movement with a basic FitBit?
[I use a Fenix 5X but I don't sync it with MFP because I prefer the more conservative numbers from the MFP swim calculator. What I like about the Fenix is that it tracks my swim well and I can try to push myself to set new personal pace records.]
«1

Replies

  • PAFC84
    PAFC84 Posts: 1,871 Member
    Options
    My guess is that perhaps it was viewed as judging employees, some infringement of their human rights etc
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    Options
    Not the same thing, but somewhat related. If you don't care, say so and I'll back out of the tread... no biggie.

    I work on a college campus, in the recreation department. We sell gym memberships to our facility much like you'd see in a commercial gym setting. We've recently started a program for faculty and staff where we offer a 50% reimbursement on their annual membership dues if they meet certain participation measures (basically, it's a minimum attendance measure - they have to come into the facility a certain number of times... what they do here is irrelevant).
  • PAFC84
    PAFC84 Posts: 1,871 Member
    Options
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    Not the same thing, but somewhat related. If you don't care, say so and I'll back out of the tread... no biggie.

    I work on a college campus, in the recreation department. We sell gym memberships to our facility much like you'd see in a commercial gym setting. We've recently started a program for faculty and staff where we offer a 50% reimbursement on their annual membership dues if they meet certain participation measures (basically, it's a minimum attendance measure - they have to come into the facility a certain number of times... what they do here is irrelevant).

    Can they just come in or do they have to stay for a set period of time?
  • fishgutzy
    fishgutzy Posts: 2,807 Member
    edited December 2017
    Options
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    Not the same thing, but somewhat related. If you don't care, say so and I'll back out of the tread... no biggie.

    I work on a college campus, in the recreation department. We sell gym memberships to our facility much like you'd see in a commercial gym setting. We've recently started a program for faculty and staff where we offer a 50% reimbursement on their annual membership dues if they meet certain participation measures (basically, it's a minimum attendance measure - they have to come into the facility a certain number of times... what they do here is irrelevant).
    I see programs like this as more effective. One must still want to make life style changes if one is joining a gym.
    Counting visits it less invasive than the FitBit programs.
    I've worked for employers that got group discounts at the YMCA. But it was not until I was diagnosed with weight related sleep apnea that I really started using my Y membership for more than the youth sports programs.
  • fishgutzy
    fishgutzy Posts: 2,807 Member
    Options
    PAFC84 wrote: »
    My guess is that perhaps it was viewed as judging employees, some infringement of their human rights etc

    This article from 2014 outlines well the arguments against corporate FitBit tracker programs.
    Those who live in countries where they are raised in a surveillance society have been conditioned to accept more monitoring by an employer. Not so much in the US.
    https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/5-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-use-wearables-to-monitor-employees.html
  • PAFC84
    PAFC84 Posts: 1,871 Member
    Options
    fishgutzy wrote: »
    PAFC84 wrote: »
    My guess is that perhaps it was viewed as judging employees, some infringement of their human rights etc

    This article from 2014 outlines well the arguments against corporate FitBit tracker programs.
    Those who live in countries where they are raised in a surveillance society have been conditioned to accept more monitoring by an employer. Not so much in the US.
    https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/5-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-use-wearables-to-monitor-employees.html

    I would imagine some people might view it as their employers being sneakyy and keeping tabs on how much time they spend at their desk v walking to the coffee machine etc. Similar to employers uploading spyware on office computers to track Facebook usage etc.

    I've heard of companies in the UK offering free membership to gyms (usually located at the bottom of the building). It makes sense as healthy employees are better long-term investments. It also probably encourages productivity.
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    Options
    PAFC84 wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    Not the same thing, but somewhat related. If you don't care, say so and I'll back out of the tread... no biggie.

    I work on a college campus, in the recreation department. We sell gym memberships to our facility much like you'd see in a commercial gym setting. We've recently started a program for faculty and staff where we offer a 50% reimbursement on their annual membership dues if they meet certain participation measures (basically, it's a minimum attendance measure - they have to come into the facility a certain number of times... what they do here is irrelevant).

    Can they just come in or do they have to stay for a set period of time?

    At this point, just come in. This is the first year we've done it, so we are still feeling things out.
  • fishgutzy
    fishgutzy Posts: 2,807 Member
    Options
    jjpptt2 wrote: »

    At this point, just come in. This is the first year we've done it, so we are still feeling things out.

    The only gyms I have been to where they scan you out too are in China. Never at my YMCA.
    (My daughter's college has a beautiful new gym. It is very expensive for non students to join. Costs more for one individual than my YMCA family membership. And it doesn't have the hours that my Y does.)
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
    Options
    For context: Target's partnership with Fitbit was never presented as a long-term program. It consisted of a one-time offer of free/discounted Fitbits for TMs and a one-time step contest (winning departments/buildings were able to choose charities to which Target made donations).

    Disclosure: I've been with Target for several years although I had nothing to do with this program beyond participating in it as an employee.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
    Options
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    fishgutzy wrote: »
    PAFC84 wrote: »
    My guess is that perhaps it was viewed as judging employees, some infringement of their human rights etc

    This article from 2014 outlines well the arguments against corporate FitBit tracker programs.
    Those who live in countries where they are raised in a surveillance society have been conditioned to accept more monitoring by an employer. Not so much in the US.
    https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/5-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-use-wearables-to-monitor-employees.html

    Yeah, I was going to say that I don't think something like this would go over well where I work...people would just think it's another Big Brother type of thing.

    About four years ago we implemented a "fitness contract" program for all of our employees. We get 30 minutes of additional paid leave 4 days per week to go do exercise if you sign the fitness contract. This was something I really pushed for back then as I had just lost a bunch of weight and had gotten into fitness and really felt like it would benefit the office as a whole and give incentive to move...I pushed hard for 5 days, but that was a no go.

    You cannot accumulate this leave...if you don't do your 30 minutes on Monday or whatever days you signed up for, you lose it. It's great to see so many people at my office now going out for walks or hitting the nearby community center, etc. Most people do theirs before or after the lunch hour, so many people go get a full 60 minutes and then take a 30 minute lunch. It's been a very productive program and you can tell that stress levels are down and several people have lost a bunch of weight and moral is much better...

    Wow, this sounds like a great program.
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    Options
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    fishgutzy wrote: »
    PAFC84 wrote: »
    My guess is that perhaps it was viewed as judging employees, some infringement of their human rights etc

    This article from 2014 outlines well the arguments against corporate FitBit tracker programs.
    Those who live in countries where they are raised in a surveillance society have been conditioned to accept more monitoring by an employer. Not so much in the US.
    https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/5-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-use-wearables-to-monitor-employees.html

    Yeah, I was going to say that I don't think something like this would go over well where I work...people would just think it's another Big Brother type of thing.

    About four years ago we implemented a "fitness contract" program for all of our employees. We get 30 minutes of additional paid leave 4 days per week to go do exercise if you sign the fitness contract. This was something I really pushed for back then as I had just lost a bunch of weight and had gotten into fitness and really felt like it would benefit the office as a whole and give incentive to move...I pushed hard for 5 days, but that was a no go.

    You cannot accumulate this leave...if you don't do your 30 minutes on Monday or whatever days you signed up for, you lose it. It's great to see so many people at my office now going out for walks or hitting the nearby community center, etc. Most people do theirs before or after the lunch hour, so many people go get a full 60 minutes and then take a 30 minute lunch. It's been a very productive program and you can tell that stress levels are down and several people have lost a bunch of weight and moral is much better...

    That's great!
  • andfivesixseveneight
    Options
    My employer provides free step trackers and holds motivational challenges. Completing the voluntary challenges tallies into a broader point system for earning health care spending credits.
    This year they’ve added more step challenges than years past, so it’s still a thing.
    Employees who choose to participate may also sync up their own tracker rather than wear the employer provided one.
  • mitch16
    mitch16 Posts: 2,113 Member
    Options
    I work for a company in the broad healthcare sector... We still have reduced prices for Fitbits and voluntary challenges (2x per year) that result in up to $500 in savings for monthly healthcare premiums. We "earn" other points for preventative medical care (e.g., eye exams, dental exams, mammograms, etc.). Most our of sites have on-site gyms that are inexpensive, and we also have negotiated discount rates at some outside gyms.

    For the most part I think it is a good thing to keep your employees healthy, but I am still wary of overstepping on the part of both my company and the insurance company--my health records should remain private and separate of my employment record. Also--we recently updated to a new rewards program administrator and the implementation is just awful.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
    Options
    fishgutzy wrote: »
    PAFC84 wrote: »
    My guess is that perhaps it was viewed as judging employees, some infringement of their human rights etc

    This article from 2014 outlines well the arguments against corporate FitBit tracker programs.
    Those who live in countries where they are raised in a surveillance society have been conditioned to accept more monitoring by an employer. Not so much in the US.
    https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/5-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-use-wearables-to-monitor-employees.html

    In the EU the General Data Protection Regulation and its predecessors would prevent an employer holding any data collected at an individual level, although if it was tied to some form of incentivisation mechanism the scheme provider could do. That would still need to be firewalled from the employer.

    Gym discounts, and discounted kit, are quite common elements of discretionary reward schemes though.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,968 Member
    Options
    My company runs a walking challenge every summer but the payouts have been reduced every year.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,968 Member
    Options
    PAFC84 wrote: »
    My guess is that perhaps it was viewed as judging employees, some infringement of their human rights etc

    I really don't understand why people would be paranoid about this. What human right is my boss infringing on when I voluntarily tell him how much I walked, but not when or where?
  • mdlowrance
    mdlowrance Posts: 20 Member
    Options
    My husbands company does this. I just wear my Fitbit and it syncs up to let them know I reached my goal for the day. It's not a "smart" Fitbit so they can't use it as a location device- though with phones and social media, and Amazon- that's not exactly a secret either.
  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,012 Member
    Options
    The company I work for had a walking challenge where they gave everyone knock-off trackers, with rewards for the most steps per week. An inordinate amount of participants were showing six figure steps every week. Combined with many of them bragging to others that they had put the trackers on their dogs all day or found the right way to swing your arm to get a step registered and just swung their arm while watching TV all weekend, the program was scrapped.

    I love my Fitbit and the affect it has had on my activity level, but considering lots of people say they aren't accurate for them, it might be hard to use them as the primary way to measure activity for all participants.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,968 Member
    Options
    @fishgutzy This is an interesting question, and it's fascinating to see the replies. Thanks for staying this thread.