A pair of Quebec tech teams have joined forces to offer a mobile app for corporate customers who want to modernize their existing wellness initiatives. With the app employees can track their own healthy choices and compete in group health challenges.
The partnership comes via Montreal-based startup Gymbirds, developers of the Praktice Health app, and the more established company, Pro Health Group. The Quebec City-headquartered company calls itself Canada’s leading corporate wellness provider.
Praktice Health’s CEO Michael Mozsberg said employees want a digital experience that doesn’t feel like work. In addition to being an interactive program, the CEO said Praktice Health is a simple turnkey solution with communication emails, progress reports and no long-term commitment. The end result is “an improved company culture through co-worker relationships.”
The companies said employee wellness is a top priority for employers, with a direct impact on company culture, competitiveness, productivity, and employee retention. As the workforce demographic increasingly shifts towards millennials, HR services, including wellness programs “need to keep up with their demands and evolving needs,” say the two companies. This includes digitization of corporate wellness.
Both Forbes and Bloomberg have argued for and against corporate wellness programs. Forbes wrote in 2013 that it’s “more important than ever,” and difficult to succeed without such programs. “Preventable wellness is a complete lifestyle and behavior change and change takes time and commitment,” wrote the website.
Still, Forbes recognized that too many companies are trying to implement wellness programs with little to no experience or game plan for success. “As a result, more programs fail than succeed.”
Bloomberg argued in 2015 that, in fact, corporate wellness programs can hurt more than help, in some cases even pressuring employees to stay fit to keep their jobs.
Praktice Health, for it’s part, uses gamification, social networks and mobile technology to create 30-day challenges for employees. Importantly, it’s meant to promote preventive health behaviours that can be practiced by members from any health and/or fitness level.
“We believe this partnership will be very well received by our clients,” said Steve Griffin, president and general director of Pro Health Group.
As we reported earlier this week, there do exist Canadian competitors within the space. League, founded by Mike Serbinis (who created and sold Kobo for US $315 million) specifically targets corporate wellness. With League, companies can create individual health accounts in which workers can spend on what they choose. The range of services and amounts can be customized to allow different coverages according to the type of employee.
Here in Montreal, former Montreal Canadien Georges Laraque recently cofounded his new health and wellness platform called Mentorum, which allows people to search out professionals in 11 categories.
Founded in 1996, Pro Health Group is a corporate wellness provider that offers comprehensive expertise in mental and physical health. Year after year, over 3,000 professionals in its nationwide network support more than 600 employers and half a million Canadian workers.
Praktice Health launched in early 2015 with the goal of making a fun, engaging, and affordable corporate wellness programs.