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Case Study: Delivering an Employee Wellness Experience via Slack

Amina Saigol

Amina Saigol

Practice Director, Product

Farhang Tarlan

Farhang Tarlan

Software Engineer


In 2020, COVID-19 shifted us from the physical to the digital. As we moved from the office to the home, we lost much of our daily routines and the means to connect with one another. So much so in fact, that GALLUP reported “employee wellbeing dropped to a 12-year low amid the coronavirus outbreak.”In an effort to foster healthy, happy, and engaged employees in this new, more challenging and isolating landscape, Connected joined forces with Elevate, to develop WellBeings, an employee wellness challenge Slack app.  The WellBeings Slack app was a beta program for 10 Toronto-based companies that ran for three months, each month coming with a different challenge.

Product Goals

  • Improve employee wellness with achievable actions
  • Build employee community in a remote world
  • Respond to diverse employee needs and interests by providing a variety of challenges and scoring systems

Product Features

The WellBeing Slack app was designed with the goal of achieving high participation. We knew that screen fatigue was a real concern and wanted to make the experience of participating in our WellBeings challenges as easy, seamless, and enjoyable as possible.

Frictionless Interaction

We deliberately made the choice to build out this application via Slack, so that employees could instill healthy habits into their work routines. We designed opt-in and opt-out notifications to remind participants to log their daily progress.

Daily Wellbeing Goals

We designed challenging, yet achievable, daily goals for each of the challenges. This decision was made in order to inspire users to make small daily changes to their lifestyle, and since each challenge ran for a month these small changes had the potential to build up into sustainable, long-term habits.

Personal Progress Tracking & Streaks

Users could track their personal progress through the App Home. They could also see their active streak if they hit the daily goal of the challenge for consecutive days. For instance for the Plant Powered challenge, users would extend their streak by gaining at least two points a day. We also highlighted missed days with a prompt to log data if users forgot to do so, or to engage with the challenge going forward.

Actionable Education

To inspire users to achieve challenge goals and keep the momentum going, the app provided actionable and educational tips every morning. This was broadcasted to all teams every morning.

Social Motivation

To inspire community development, employees were grouped into teams where each team had their own Slack channel with the WellBeings app integrated. Users could log their activity by tagging the app and writing in plain English. The app would then use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the intent of the user and confirm their log through ephemeral messages. We found that this feature sparked more participation as users would reply, react to, and engage with one another.

Team Competition

We noticed that some participants were more motivated through competition, so we introduced a team vs. team leaderboard, where users would complete daily challenge goals to help their team achieve the prize of bragging rights at the company.

Rewarding Good Behaviour

Healthy behaviour was rewarded through several categories of awards. For instance, there were virtual trophies for those with longest streaks, most points, most successful days, and most improvement in each of the three challenges. Some companies allocated prizes for the winners of a few of these categories.

Compete vs. Complete

The challenges were designed knowing that some participants are motivated by a compete-with-others model (e.g. STEPtember challenge) while others are motivated by a complete-the-challenge-goal model (e.g. Plant Powered challenge). To illustrate this, we implemented different scoring metrics for each of the challenges. For instance, the leaderboard in the STEPtember challenge, ranked participants by their step counts — compete model. While the Plant Powered challenge rewarded all participants who had a full meatless day equally — complete model.

It was a unique challenge to build a wellness experience within the set Slack format, but it forced us to be creative with our product features to keep users engaged, motivated and happy. We tested, learned, and evolved with every sprint and saw the meaningful impact created for and by our participants with each WellBeings challenge. As Product Thinkers and Builders we operate under the mission of building better products, believing that no product is ever truly finished. WellBeings gave us the opportunity to build and evolve in real time, and deliver on that mission.

WellBeings was implemented across 10 companies with about 529 employees in total in partnership with Elevate.

What Our Users Said:

“WellBeings has been an awesome experience. I enjoyed the walking challenge as it gently motivated me to be more physically active. My exercise regimen had fallen off the rails since having a child, so I was in dire need of something to get me active again. I also enjoyed the mindfulness challenge greatly. Having already been a meditator for years, it was easy for me to hit the minimum goals. Nonetheless, the interest and enthusiasm it generated spurred my motivation to meditate even more than I normally would have otherwise. I am grateful to Wellbeings for the opportunity to improve my health and life.”

“WellBeing challenges are great initiatives to bring in health and fitness awareness in the workplace. Taking part in a plant based diet challenge was an eye-opening experience, it made me aware about the various amazing substitutes that exist which taste similar if not better than animal products. This challenge also opened up several conversations about understanding the importance of a plant based diet.”

“The wellness challenges were a necessary reminder of the importance of taking care of both our minds and bodies – especially given how 2020 turned out.”

Team Contributors: Jacob Huschilt, Carlos Mo, Lionel Pereira, Emily Chan

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