In this day and age, mobile apps are no longer something that are unique to people who have a smartphone, nor are they only for "techies" and "nerds" who understand how to use them. Mobile apps are now in the mainstream and implementing them into the workplace should be second nature for HR Departments.
Wellness apps in particular are a popular way for employees to get information, keep track of their progress, and maintain their privacy. They are an easy way for people to find recipes, fitness routines, facts about health issues (e.g., diabetes), stress relief tools, smoking cessation tips, and a host of other useful tidbits.
However, with thousands of these wellness apps available, deciding which apps to recommend to employees can be difficult. With some, there are enough reviews that HR or an employee can make an informed decision. That being said, HR also needs to determine which apps fit best into the corporate culture and ensure that the apps are part of an overall wellness program.
If a recommended app isn't useful, no matter how good it may be, then an employee is likely to become unmotivated rather than trying to find a better app on his or her own. Plus, how one can get the most out of an app needs to be easily understood. Like any new undertaking, such as learning to play an instrument, starting a gym routine, or modifying a diet, motivation is crucial to keeping employees engaged. Some apps pertaining to the same subject (e.g., running) will be for beginners, some will be for advanced users, and others can cover the entire range.
An article on Workforce titled, "Mobile For Wellness? Appsolutely!," lists some of the most popular fitness apps: GPS for the Soul (GPS4Soul), which measures your heart rate and offers guides based on your level of stress. Mind Tools, a management and leadership training app, offers self-skills tests, strategy tools and thousands of articles on leadership topics. And finally, Fooducate is a nutrition app that rates food on an A through D scale and helps users track their diet and make better choices.
When an app is rolled out by HR, employees like clear direction such as what the app does, why it pertains to them, and what benefit or outcome they can expect. It's also important for HR to determine whether the app works best on a tablet, smartphone, or wearable device. One way to figure out whether a wellness app should be recommended is for HR to do a trial run.
Once a group of apps has been approved for recommendation, HR may want to consider releasing the names and hyperlinks in a staggered fashion so that excitement is sustained throughout the year. This is another way to keep the company's wellness program in the forefront and retain employee interest.
Apps alone won't solve any health issues, but they will help bring awareness, are easily adoptable, and should be an essential part of any company's wellness program.