Mountain View, CA (November 21, 2016) – Jiff® Inc., the leading enterprise health benefits platform, today released the results of an expansive two-year study on employer-sponsored wearables. The findings challenge two common employer concerns about these types of programs: that participation is limited to young and healthy employees, and that engagement is not sustainable over time. The data builds off a webinar that Jiff co-hosted last month with Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory company, on the same topic. Jiff’s dataset, one of the largest of its kind publicly released, suggests that wearables can be a valuable tool for employee health.

“Wearables have tremendous potential to improve employee health, but many employers remain skeptical,” said Derek Newell, CEO of Jiff. “At Jiff, we are uniquely positioned to address employer questions about wearables because we collect data from dozens of device vendors and large employers. In reviewing nearly two years of Jiff data from more than 240,000 employees, we found evidence that, when done right, wearables can be an effective tool to engage employees in their health.”

Employers have shown growing interest in wearables and are increasingly including them in their employee health and wellbeing strategies. According to Willis Towers Watson’s 2016 Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey, nearly one out of three large employers offered employees wearable devices for tracking physical activity.

However, many skeptics fear that wearables’ impact may be muted.  One common concern is that only young and healthy employees will adopt wearables, rather than older and less healthy employees who actually drive the majority of healthcare costs. Another concern is that employees will lose interest in wearables and stop using them after only a few months. Jiff’s study sought to address each of these two major concerns.

Key Findings

In reviewing the data, Jiff found that while younger employees are indeed more likely to participate in wearables programs, older employees also participate at significant rates.  For example, while more than half (53 percent) of employees under 40 years-old participated, more than one-third (36 percent) of employees over 50 years-old participated as well.

Jiff also found that long-term engagement in wearables is possible. Despite industry analysis showing that on average, nearly one-third of consumers abandon wearables after six months, Jiff found that their customers could sustain engagement for much longer. Across four large employers customers, Jiff found no measurable decline in engagement for more than 9 months following the program rollout, and for one employer, found levels of engagement that have been progressively increasing for more than 18 months.

According to Jiff, the secret to sustaining engagement in wearables can be found in three simple tactics that are readily available to most employers. The first is Challenges, or time-bound immersive and social games that encourage healthy actions. Second is Device Credits, or employer subsidies to offset the cost of purchasing devices. And third is Behavioral Incentives, or rewards for taking healthy actions, such as walking a minimum number of steps per day.

Jiff found that each one of these levers can make a significant impact. For example:

  • Challenges. During a challenge period at a large medical products company, adoption increased by three times, jumping from about 12,000 to 38,000 enrolled members in less than three weeks.
  • Device Credits. Employers who offer wearables programs with no subsidies for devices reach 31 percent adoption by employees within 3 months. But employers who partially subsidize wearables see adoption increase to 47 percent, a 1.5x improvement.
  • Behavioral Incentives. An employer who offered incentives to walk 5,000 or 10,000 steps per day observed clusters of employees who walked just more than these thresholds, suggesting that incentives motivated specific changes in behavior.

The full results of Jiff’s study is available on jiff.com/resources.

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About Jiff

Jiff, Inc. is on a mission to help companies lower healthcare costs and cultivate happier, healthier employees. Jiff’s enterprise benefit platform integrates vendors employers already have in place, and lets them choose from over 40 pre-integrated services. By delivering personalized incentives, real-time data analytics, and a beautifully designed experience, Jiff targets individual employee cost drivers and increases utilization of those services proven to save money. Based in Mountain View, CA Jiff is led by veteran healthcare and technology leaders and serves some of the largest employers in the world. Smart benefits; brilliant design.

© 2016 Jiff, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  JIff is a registered trademark of Jiff, Inc.  Jiff Challenges, Jiff Enterprise Navigator, Jiff Total Wellbeing, and Jiff Launch Pad are trademarks of Jiff, Inc. No right, license or interest in any trademark is granted by this statement.