The program launched in February, so it is too early to tell if the games led to the ultimate goal of a behavior change, but Marek was encouraged to see employees beat every goal BCBS MN set for participation.
Out of 3,000 employees, 1,343 registered for Healthcare University. The 38% participation rate exceeded the health plan's goal of 20% registration. "We were absolutely thrilled," says Marek. "I wasn't sure where we would land."
The communications strategy to launch the program was relatively simple – emails were sent, icons pushed out to employee desktops and a takeover of the company's intranet for several days.
The real key to getting employees registered was not in catchy graphics and slogans. It was all about people. BCBS MN's CEO Michael Guyette set the tone for participation by registering and using the tool himself. Other leadership followed, as did employees, and this is where Marek says he saw the excitement for health literacy come alive. Some employees then "took it upon themselves to champion" the education portal. Marek says the internal encouragement was no surprise because he says the culture of BCBS MN is supportive.
"We didn't create employee champion groups before the pilot," he says. "Identifying employee champions is part of our culture. We've taken an active role in attempting to be more transparent with projects and encouraging people to be more involved."