Welbe Offers Health-Improving Tools for Employees, Office Culture

Welbe wants to help users improve their physical, social and financial health, and employers to boost and measure morale and well-being.

Welbe health app

Apple, with HealthKit, has proposed a way to offer consumers more complete views of their health profiles by bringing together information from a variety of sources. Tanner Labs, with a new platform called Welbe, is now offering enterprises something similar.

A native app with a colorful and modern design, Welbe brings together information from popular wearables and fitness and nutrition companies, such as Fitbit, Jawbone and RunKeeper. It offers each user a view of his or her own information, while administrators see the combined information of multiple employees—there's never the possibility that an administrator can see an individual's data.

Importantly, Welbe is opt-in for employees, but enables employers to offer social and financial incentives that work to boost participation.

By meeting certain goals, whether steps per day, hours slept each night or glasses of water consumed, a participant can earn points that are tied to dollar amounts. Employees can choose to participate anonymously or using their names.

Newly launched, Welbe currently features nine challenges (more features are promised for later this year), including things like doing yoga for a few minutes a day or including more green vegetables in one's diet. Human resources can launch a challenge, say, pitting the IT department against the sales department, with a leaderboard visible to all (again, with participants grouped for privacy) showing which group walked the most steps over two weeks.

"Traditionally, companies have done manual, handwritten health screenings, or health assessments, once a year. It's jaw-dropping when we show them that information they're used to seeing annually can be refreshed every five minutes," Nate Walkingshaw, vice president of Tanner Labs, told eWEEK.

Businesses can use the information to potentially receive discounts from their health insurance providers.

"But it goes so much deeper than that," said Walkingshaw.

"It's about the return on investment related to a series of things. Are we making a difference inside the corporation to make people happier, healthier and more engaged?" he explained. "If you look at the programs companies have traditionally rolled out, such as walking challenges … there's no way to measure that at the end of the year. Welbe gives you a deeper lens. You can see trends for the quarter … and answer questions like, 'Did I increase cash and social currency around a water challenge or a yoga challenge?' It's very meaningful to tie the money we spend to the work that we're doing and see the outcomes and benefits."

Walkingshaw added that Welbe is not about a company telling employees what to do during their personal time—or just from 9 to 5. It's about encouraging healthy physical, social and financial decisions (think tips around saving, etc.) seven days a week.

As for Apple's HealthKit, Walkingshaw added, "We're very excited about it. It's a huge step in the right direction, when Apple decides to plant their feet in this space. We'd absolutely integrate with it … if the technology will allow it."

Welbe is free for a company's first 35 participants. The per-person monthly fee changes to $10 for groups up to 100 people, $8 for up to 500 people and $5 for up to 1,000 people.

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