Employees come in all shapes and sizes, and so do their health risk factors. While some need more exercise, others need better nutrition and still others need a good night’s sleep. Recognizing the diversity of wellness needs and lifestyle preferences, smart employers are looking for ways to add variety and personality to their corporate wellness programs — to ensure employees have the resources they need to get healthy and the tools they’ll actually use to aid in the process.

That’s the idea behind Coach by Cigna, a free wellness program that’s now available with Samsung’s S Health app. By providing personalized recommendations and video guidance from industry experts, Coach by Cigna helps users focus on the healthcare goals that matter most to them, which makes it the perfect platform for corporate wellness programs.

One Size Fits Nobody

The Coach by Cigna app helps users improve their health across five categories: nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress and weight management. Rather than pushing all five programs at once, Coach by Cigna uses a lateral assessment to help individuals identify the areas they need to focus on and the programs they’re most likely to use. “It’s not just about health; it’s about who you are,” says David Vonesh, digital marketing director for Cigna. “Our lateral assessment doesn’t just ask traditional health risk questions like, ‘How many servings of fruits and vegetables did you eat today?’ Instead, we focus on the individual’s personality and recommend programs that would yield the greatest results.”

Cigna’s assessment places users into one of eight archetypes, such as “Explorer,” “Innovator,” “Planner” and “Humanitarian.” The app makes program recommendations based on what each archetype would enjoy doing. Vonesh said, “An Explorer is probably seeking new challenges and will be motivated by variety and excitement, whereas a Humanitarian might be more likely to engage in altruistic activities like a 5K run for cancer.”

Get With the Program

Once Coach by Cigna identifies an individual’s archetype and key areas of focus, it recommends specific programs. There are many options available in the app, such as Fitness HeadSmart, PepTalk, Hydration and Anti Diet, among others. Each program includes daily goals and instructional videos from health coaches — many of them being top in their fields. “Cigna has about 3,000 to 4,000 nutritionists, exercise physiologists, behavior specialists and health coaches,” says Vonesh. “We’ve also partnered with external experts, such as Dr. Breus, a well-known sleep doctor who regularly appears on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ and ‘The Dr. Oz Show.'”

Program recommendations come with introductory videos from the coaches, who explain their background, expertise and approach to their specific program. Once participants enroll, they have daily “check-ins” — videos where coaches walk them through the curriculum for each day. “This humanistic aspect is really important,” says Vonesh. “We’re all consumers of health and wellness apps, and we know people start to lose momentum when they realize nobody is holding them accountable. Although coaching is through video, you have someone there who empathizes with what you’re trying to do and is really motivated to help you. We think that connection and accountability are key factors in helping to drive behavior changes.”

Debra Smith, senior marketing communications specialist for Coach by Cigna, explained that the video portion of program received much acclaim from users. “On average, 21 percent of our users stay engaged with the program from beginning to end,” says Smith. “We believe the video content is driving that high level of engagement.”

Adding a Coach to Corporate Wellness Programs

During open enrollment in fall 2015, Cigna is encouraging clients to incorporate the new tool into corporate wellness programs as a way to engage employees, help them track and celebrate their progress and promote a spirit of community around health and fitness. However, Cigna customers aren’t the only ones who can leverage this app to boost employee health. Coach by Cigna is now available in 15 countries and nine languages, and it can be downloaded on any Samsung mobile device with Android Lollipop OS. While Samsung’s S Health app tracks health data, Cigna provides content to help users stay motivated and reach their personal best.

“Samsung was a natural partner for Cigna on this journey,” says Young Kim, business development director for Cigna. “Both companies are global leaders in their fields, and when we first started collaborating, Samsung smartphones were the only devices with a health hub at the global scale. Nowadays lots of companies are doing this type of work, but Samsung and Cigna were first.”

Business leaders looking to create a corporate wellness program may want to consider Samsung smartphones and wearables that support digital health and wellness apps like Coach by Cigna.

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Taylor Mallory Holland

Taylor Mallory Holland is a professional writer with more than 11 years of experience writing about business, technology and healthcare for both media outlets and companies. Taylor is passionate about how mobile technology can reshape the healthcare industry, providing new ways for care providers to connect with patients and streamline workflows. She stays on top of emerging trends and regularly speaks with healthcare industry leaders about the challenges they face and how they innovate using mobile technology. Follow Taylor on Twitter: @TaylorMHoll

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