At the time, Jaya had been in the UAE for just over a year, launching Flabuless – the Singapore-based company’s corporate fitness tracking solution — to the local market.
The platform allows corporates to set challenges – such as step goals – for their employees. Meeting those goals allows employees to unlock rewards from a variety of food, health, and fitness partners.
While fitness is its primary focus, the platform also allows users to earn points for taking part in other employee wellness initiatives; from corporate health checks to CSR programmes, and even check-ins at healthy restaurants.
We recently got the chance to catch up with Jaya to talk about the take-up of Flabuless in the UAE, Rewardz’ expanded product offering, and the continuing evolution of technology in the employee wellness space.
When Rewardz made the decision to launch in the UAE, its timing was deliberate. The government had recently made it mandatory for all employers to provide health insurance for their employees. Healthy employees may be happier and more productive, but they also cost less to insure.
“I realised that for us to be successful, there needed to be a niche to demonstrate exactly we’re doing and that value proposition needs to be very clear to our clients,” Jaya told us.
That niche was Flabuless, then the latest product in the Rewardz line-up. Rather than calling it something like “Flabuless, by Rewardz” though, the decision was made to launch as Flabuless in the UAE. According to Jaya, it was just simpler that way.
It’s a strategy that’s paid dividends too. The company counts the likes of Expo 2020, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai Tourism, Unilever, and Mashreq Bank among its clients.
Having proved the concept, it was time to start expanding.
Enter CERRA. CERRA stands for Connect Engage Reward Recognise and Appreciate and, Jaya told us, “allows organisations to choose what they want to reward and recognise through points and gamification”.
An extension of the Flabuless platform, CERRA recognises that traditional employee assessment and incentive programmes, run on an annual basis, aren’t really much use in a world where people leave jobs every couple of years.
Far more useful are spot rewards, which allow companies to instantly reward employees for good work on projects throughout the year.
Another extension of the Flabuless platform comes in the shape of The New Me Challenge. The logical evolution of corporate weight loss challenges, The New Me Challenge combines a smart scale and Rewardz technology with a support programme that includes onsite fitness classes, nutrition talks, workshops, and seminars.
The combination of product and service is a recognition of the fact that companies sometimes need a little help when it comes to running these kinds of challenges.
“The technology’s there, but you need to invest in the technology and time and resources to drive up the engagement”, Jaya told us.
The future of wellness
Things like CERRA and The New Me Challenge put Rewardz at the forefront of what’s happening in the employee wellness space right now, but what does the future hold?
Well, one thing’s certain, the pace of innovation is accelerating. “The landscape is changing very quickly,” Jaya told us.
Driving that change is an increasing recognition by employers that they need employee wellness initiatives.
The trouble is, very few companies are innovating when it comes to employee wellness. “They’re taking a very cookie-cutter approach and kind of doing things to just tick the box,” the Rewardz cofounder said.
Even when companies do realise the importance of employee wellness, they sometimes struggle to get the right kind of budget behind an initiative.
“The budgets to implement what will be a sustainable and comprehensive wellness programme are still trying to, I think, come in place,” she told us.
It is, however, something that’ll improve as more data becomes available, she added.
Effective employee wellness
That increased demand bodes well for Rewardz, but increased demand also means increased competition, making it imperative that its offering stands out from the crowd.
One of the ways it does this is by ensuring that its products are accessible to everyone in an organisation, not just those who are already fit and healthy.
As Jaya told us, Rewardz will go hands-on with a company to better understand the demographics of employees and what their needs are.
That way, it can set achievable challenges. An example of such a challenge would involve getting company employees to each walk 7000 steps for 10 consecutive days.
“It is possible for anyone to do it,” Jaya told us. “You don’t need to be running and clocking in 30 or 40 thousand steps a day to be on top. As long as you’re doing it for 10 consecutive days, you understand, you have a chance to shine in your organisation”.
It’s the kind of inclusive thinking that also saw Flabuless’ ranking system tweaked. Whereas previously it showed the top 20 participants in a company steps challenge, for instance, it now shows individual users where they’re ranked, as well as the people 10 places above and below them. Rather than comparing themselves to the top achievers, they can use micro-goals to improve themselves, steadily working their way up the ladder.
Ultimately, it’s a journey Rewardz will continue to travel with its clients.
As Jaya points out, “the workforce is changing and companies need to understand that. They need to put systems in place that can engage and motivate the workforce to help the organisation grow”.
If that particular penny does drop, they’ll find a ready and willing partner in Rewardz.