Below is a step-by-step guide for implementing Battle of the Branches™. Remember participants can start at any time during May and enter activity accomplished AS OF May 1st. So there is no penalty for a late start. Contact us at any time with questions: contact@HealthCode.org
Battle of the Branches™ is provided by the 501-c3 nonprofit HealthCode™, whose vision is that everyone should enjoy the benefits of a healthier happier life.
Like PBS or NPR HealthCode’s programs are provided at no charge. Optional registration donations are tax deductible, which along with sponsorships, donations and grants allow HealthCode’s programs to be provided at no charge to kids, schools and low income communities. Interested in how your organization can help? We’d love to hear from you Contact@HealthCode.org
Table of Contents:
- Battle of the Branches’ Background Docs
- Setting Up Your Organization
- Setting Up Groups/Teams
- Suggestions To Maximize Participation
- During Registration
- During May
- After May
- Other: Password Reset Info and Privacy Note; FitBit Tip
- Special May days to include in communications
1. Battle of the Branches’ Background Docs
Battle of the Branches is provided by the nonprofit, HealthCode whose mission is to empower people to live healthier, happier lives free from preventable disease. Since April 2014, over 500 organizations have used HealthCode’s free monthly virtual activity events.
Since 2016, US military units have been using HealthCode’s events to engage and connect their personnel globally. Air Force legal approval was provided in 2016 after a review requested for use by USCENTCOM AFELM.
In April 2021, the AF 517th TRG recommended HealthCode start May’s Battle of the Branches to further support the military community. They said “HealthCode’s programs are easy to implement, fun to use, and deliver metrics. Our Airmen need help in staying active. May is Military Appreciation Month. A great opportunity to spur activity through healthy competition among the military community”. Which resulted in the Battle of the Branches, piloted in May 2021.
May 2021’s pilot’s summary doc.
Obesity is a national security issue PDF.
2. Setting Up Your Organization
Is your Organization NEW to HealthCode’s activity events and has not signed up?
Are you a RETURNING HealthCode event participant or a recent registrant?
Then you are set for Battle of the Branches as your Organization and “teams/groups” are already in the system.
Note: Once your organization is signed up, you are ready to go for all HealthCode’s public monthly virtual activity events.
3. Setting Up Your Groups/Teams
Including “Groups” adds a lot of fun, engagement, supports internal challenges, increases participation and builds camaraderie.
Group names can range from military units to departments, schools, global locations, or fun group names.
Note: See D&B’s fun video. D&B leveraged HealthCode’s “Group” feature and their organization’s private leaderboard’s data to engage employees around the globe.
If you are a returning organization and you had “groups”, then your groups are all set. Let us know if you would like to add/edit your “groups”. Contact@HealthCode.Org
Steps to set up your “groups/teams”:
- Provide a list of “group/team” names in one column of an Excel sheet. This list will be loaded in as-is; please spell-check and make sure the list is accurate.
- Email your group/team list to email@example.com
- Send a list of the Group names NOT employee names as they sign up individually and then select your organization and their “group”.
- Tip for Returning Organizations: When returning HealthCode participants do sign up for Battle of the Branches, however, all their info is still in the system, including if they had selected your organization and a “group/team”, which they can edit.
- IF your Organization’s prior “Group/Teams” names have been edited for this event, then let your employees know to select their new “group”. This is done at registration by confirming their Organization and then selecting their “Group”. See the 3rd sample EMAIL TEMPLATE
Note: Participants can make changes to their Organization and Group from their Personal Profile page by clicking on “Edit Profile” near the top of the left column.
4. Suggestions to Maximize Participation and Results
- Obtain Senior Leadership Support
- Involvement and support from Senior Leadership (CEO, local office management) is a key success factor. Involvement ideas:
- Have Senior Leaders record brief videos to encourage registration and participation
- Have Senior Leaders send emails to service members/employees encouraging registration and participation throughout the challenge
- Involvement and support from Senior Leadership (CEO, local office management) is a key success factor. Involvement ideas:
- Engage Your “Wellness” Team
- If you don’t already have a formal wellness team at your company, recruit employee volunteers to join a Wellness Activation Team. This team will help you implement the challenge, get people moving and keep people excited through the event.
- Designate your Organization’s point person with the HealthCode’s Battle of the Branches™ team to facilitate communications. This will often be the person who set up the company, but if different please email that name to us.
- Designate a point person for each satellite office or department. This person will be in charge of communications, translations, incentives, inner-office promotions for their group, ie unit or department.
- Plan Communications
- Review the Battle of the Branches™ marketing communication tools such as SAMPLE BANNERS and logos, etc.
- Review the Battle of the Branches™ EMAIL TEMPLATES and SOCIAL MEDIA samples; customize for your company:
- “How to Register” email (adjust steps 3 and 4 before sending, per the below):
- On Step 3: Fill in your unit/company name where it says COMPANY NAME
- On Step 4: If your unit/company provided HealthCode with your groups/teams, great, you are ready to go. If you chose not to have groups/teams for your organization, change this line to read “Skip the Select Your Group/Team pulldown”
- Use sample emails:
- Make edits/additions as needed, such as:
- your unit/company goals: mile goal as an Organization or/and the number or percentage of “employees” participating
- group goals: a great way to support team building and develop camaraderie
- per “employee” individual mileage goals; say a minimum of 31 miles for the month of May
- setup registration promotions online and in common areas, such as lobby and break areas.
- Make edits/additions as needed, such as:
- Simple Promotions
- Leverage Battle of the Branches’ “Race Bib”, which participants access at registration. Have fun, include the race bibs in your team-building activities as employees post photos on social media, along with your organization’s hashtags. You can access an image of the “Race Bib” in the Sample creative materials.
- Internal company incentives are important to boost your company’s registration and participation. Examples:
- PTO or Vacation hours/days for meeting a goal
- Gift Cards and Prizes
- Recognition through company communication channels
- Set Goals
- Set a registration goal: X number or X percent of employees registered by May 1st
- Set an Organization wide first-day mile goal; also encourage each “group” to set their own goals and challenges with other groups
- Set an Organization wide mile goal for the entire month
TIP: What is your organization’s objective?
If it is to get the most people up and moving; then set a mileage goal that almost all can reach. Some organizations have used a mile a day, some even less. It’s not about the most miles, it is about helping people along their journey to a happier healthier life. In the process, building your organization’s culture.
5. During Registration Phase (Up to and during May)
Emails during Registration Phase: You will find the Email Templates HERE
Send the “HOW TO REGISTER” email to your employees at least once during this period: In the email templates you will find the “HOW TO REGISTER” email. This will tell your employees exactly how to register on the website for the event. Just cut, paste, customize and send (NOTE: Make sure to customize steps 3 and 4 in this email before sending).
Send the “Registration Reminder” email:
- TIP: In these emails state the goals for your organization – specifically registration goals (number/percentage of employees your company is wanting to have registered).
- TIP: Include a video from senior leadership in these emails encouraging all employees to register by X date to meet the registration goal. Another option is to have the email be sent from the senior leader to all employees.
Send email to “employees” saying:
- April 30th is the last day to register before the event starts (Note: “employees” can still register through May 31, but encouraging them to be registered before May 1 is the best plan for a solid event – people work better with deadlines).
- In these emails be sure to state any special company plans, occurring on May 1 to kickoff the challenge:
- state your first day or week goals
- hold a special event (walking first mile together as a company, kickoff ceremony led by CEO, etc.)
Send an email to employees to get them excited that Battle of the Branches™ is underway and they can include their activity as of May 1st. Reiterate your company’s first day, week and month goals. Provide a calendar of any events your company is putting on or sponsoring (walking groups, company boot camps, etc.).
- Post/Display any marketing assets: Put up posters, table cards, etc. around the office in common areas and high traffic areas (break room, dining area, elevator, meeting rooms, front desk, etc.).
- Registration Incentives: Provide an incentive to register (for example: a drawing each week from those who have registered, to win X prize from your organization).
TIP: Want to see who has registered from your organization?
- Log on to your personal profile page, click on “Your Organization’s Leaderboard” link on the left column under the Battle of the Branches logo.
- Then click on the “Download all from this organization” link on the right side. Download the excel doc, which will show employees’ names as they register. Starting May 1 as people enter their activity data, their data will show up on your organization’s private leaderboard, on the public board and on their private profile page.
6. During May
Kickoff at your office (on May 1st)
- Implement first day kickoff plans. We highly recommend a first day ceremony. Examples:
- Dedicated time to walk together at each office to complete 1st mile
- CEO addresses employees through office video communications and/or email with video
- Communicate any first day and month goals for your company.
Company Leaderboard page
This is a big motivator for individual employees and the company as a whole. Be sure to communicate and promote that each employee visit this page often to check how they and their group/team are doing. See 2b below for how to access this page.
Instructions on how to access Company Leaderboard for your organization:
- In your profile, locate the Battle of the Branches™ logo in your Event Stats column.
- Under that logo you will see the word ORGANIZATION with your company name in blue
- Click on the company name and it will take you to the Company Leaderboard page. There you can see a leaderboard of individuals from your company and the overall stats for all employees combined.
- Click on the “View Groups” link on this page to see a leaderboard of the office locations
- Click on the name of any group/team to see the individual leaderboard for that group.
- On-Demand Reports: Wellness leaders can pull an on-demand report of employee participation by clicking on the “Download All From Organization” link on this page
Implement events throughout the month
- Walking Wednesdays (set a time and place for employees to meet each Wed morning, at lunch or after work to walk together).
- Informal Bootcamps or Yoga classes
- Take the Stairs Days
- Encourage Walking Meetings
Mile logging reminder emails
- Send an email to all participants reminding them to log miles from the weekend. We see a big bump in miles being logged each Monday when we send reminders.
- We suggest that you send an email to all employees every Thursday or Friday during May and on May 28 to remind them to log their miles (especially important for those who do not connect a Fitbit, Strava or Map My Fitness account to their profile for automatic logging).
Provide incentives as you reach milestones on the way to your company goal. For example, if your company goal is to achieve X% of employee participation, give away incentives as the employees reach each of their goals. Be sure to draw the winner randomly from those who are participating. This prevents it from being about who does the most miles (which can be discouraging to folks who are new to activity) and prevents gaming the system (as there is no advantage to having more miles than others when it comes to incentives).
Be sure to take photos and videos throughout the event and share through any company social channels (internal and external). This will go a long way in helping visually connect all employees across the office or the world, as they see other employees having fun and being active!
Use hashtag: #LoveYourHealthIAM AND the hashtag for your organization
7. After May
Post Event Celebration
Now is the time to celebrate all that your company has accomplished during the month. We recommend:
Send out a company wide email that congratulates all participants for being a part of the Battle of the Branches™ challenge with your company. Be sure to include:
- All of your company stats (Find these on your Company Leaderboard Page)
- Recognize any goals met for the company. Recognize groups/teams and individuals who went above and beyond or had great improvement across the month.
Just like you did on the first day, hold a special event or gathering ceremony to close out the May event (either on the last day of May or the first week of March).
Reports and Metrics for your company
On Demand Reports
An on-demand report is available on the Company Leaderboard page for your event, by clicking the “Download All from Organization” link. This report will show you first name, last name, office location or group, and logged miles for each person (it will not show any contact or personal information – see below for Detailed Reports)
Suggested Stats to Share with employees and senior leaders
- Company stats (miles, calories, minutes): These can be found on the Company Leaderboard page or calculated using the detailed reports.
- Per group/team stats (miles, calories, minutes): Found on the group leaderboard page for each group. Click into the Company Leaderboard page, click View Groups link and click on any office name (or calculate using the detailed report)
- Projected Health Care Cost Savings: Divide the total calories burned by 3500. Then multiply that number by 9. The resulting number is your projected health care cost savings.*
Year-round Engagements :
Check out HealthCode’s free global monthly activity events to engage your “employees”, families, and community throughout the year: January iResolve.™, February Love Your Health, March Spring into Action, April Million Mile Month™, May Million Mile Month Reboot, June Triathlon in a Month in Training, July Triathlon in a Month™, August Dog Days of Summer, September Fall Into Action, October Marathon in a Month™, November Turkey Trek, and December Give the Gift of Health.
Your Organization’s events’ activity data will be stored for easy access on your Organization’s Private Leaderboard pages; including for each Group. Your Organization’s Private Leaderboard is accessed from your HealthCode Personal Profile page.
8. Other Items
Password Reset Info
For personal privacy reasons HealthCode CAN NOT access or see passwords. Common reasons for password reset issues:
- Password email going to spam
- Email used was work vs home or vice versa, so try both (sometimes even misspelled such as “coom” vs “com” (true)
- Organization’s email/web filters – so please ask your tech team to include as approved the following emails and web sites: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com; https://events.healthcode.org, www.MillionMileMonth.org and www.HealthCode.org https://healthcode.org/
Privacy Note: Personal information provided at registration is NOT shared with partners or other organizations. Registration and activity data is aggregated to improve HealthCode’s programs, obtain partners and funding support.
Over 95% of Fitbit issues have been solved when:
- Assuring device is fully charged – as the activity data goes from their device to their Fitbit web site and from the Fitbit website to HealthCode’s activity event platform
- Disconnect their Fitbit connection from their Personal Profile page on our site, clear their browser cache and reconnect
NOTE: Participants using other trackers can sync up by first connecting their device to Strava or MapMyFitness and then to their HealthCode Personal Profile page
A Special HealthCode Request:
9. Noteworthy May Dates:
May 1: Battle of the Branches ™ First Day, May Day
May 4: Star Wars Day (May the 4th Be With You)
May 5: Cinco de Mayo
May 8 VE Day WWII, Mother’s Day (2nd Sunday)
May 13: Friday 13th 🙂
May 21: Armed Forces Day
May 30: Memorial Day
May 31: Battle of the Branches Final Day
See this site for fun ideas throughout the month.
Tip: Integrate the walk/run/bike events in your community supporting chronic health issues.
*This formula is based on 2009 Mayo Clinic research and is endorsed by UnitedHealthcare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. Explanation: Body fat reduction through the use of caloric expenditure occurs at the known rate of 1 lb body fat per 3500 calories burned/used. Healthcare costs due to weight gain have been calculated at $28 per pound over a three year period, or approximately $9 per pound annually.” So, to get the Projected/Estimated Healthcare Savings we take the total calories burned and divide by 3500 (caloric expenditure to burn 1lb of body fat), and then multiply by $9 (the savings per year per 1lb).This figure is directional and meant to provide an additional guide for how an organization is benefiting from participation, outside of the miles, calories and minute metrics.