Employers need simple, low-cost ways of helping employees make healthy choices. The effects of poor health and obesity cost U.S. companies $225 billion every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and this number is quickly rising. Although some employer-sponsored wellness programs have yielded high returns — Johnson & Johnson reported a 170% return on wellness spending in the 2000s — the employee wellness industry as a whole has struggled to prove its value. . .
Jointly, the Google Food Team and the Yale Center for Customer Insights have been studying how behavioral economics can improve employee health choices. We’ve run multiple field experiments to understand how small “tweaks” can nudge behavior toward desirable outcomes and yield outsized benefits. To guide these interventions, we distilled scattered findings from behavioral science into a simple framework, the four Ps of behavior change:
The framework helped us structure a portfolio of strategies for making healthy choices easier and more enticing and making unhealthy choices harder and less tempting. Below, we present a brief example of each point of intervention.