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Neuroscience Design Firm Launches Ground-breaking Habit Formation Engine for Employee Wellness

Neuroscience Design Firm Launches Ground-breaking Habit Formation Engine for Employee Wellness
Image credit: Courtesy of Tri Habits
By Imperium Group

Despite the endless stream of information on healthy diet and lifestyle, employers continue to struggle to support many employees in adopting healthy lifestyles. And the costs to both employer and employee are staggering. According to the CDC, productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year, or $225.8 billion annually. Add to that the rising out-of-pocket costs that employees have continued to absorb. To help improve employee health, as well as their financial health, companies are starting to turn to neuroscientists and designers to create behavior design solutions that can help people develop and sustain positive habits and resilience. 

Tech startup engagedIN has recently launched Tri HabitsTM, a highly-customizable software engine designed to help employees and patients build the habits they always hoped to achieve. The platform combines the latest research in neuroscience with cutting-edge behavior design techniques to provide users with methods that train their brains to keep behaviors that are wanted, discard those that are not and replace those with healthier and/or more effective habits.

engagedIN founder and CEO, Dr. Kyra Bobinet explains: “Many times, we know what we should do, or even want to do—yet we go and do something else. Tri Habits uses an approach that mimics how the brain forms habits then delivers this as a practice and iteration game that protects people from failure as they try on, and tweak, new behaviors to fit their lives. By designing with the brain, instead of against it, we are scaling natural patterns of behavior change that we found over and over in our research on successful habits.”

Founded by Dr. Bobinet in 2013, engagedIN has become an important resource for top employee wellness and human relations executives in the Fortune 500. The firm developed the platform to help program managers to solve the “brain-behavior gap” by combining the latest research with a game-like design approach to increase employee engagement and results.

And it seems companies are eager to get onboard, really big companies. Global retailer and Fortune 1 company Walmart recently announced they would be the first to offer a version of the software, “Leading employers know that employee health and well-being are driven by behavior,” said David Hoke, Senior Director, Associate Well-being at Walmart, “Tri Habits offers a solid, science-based method to improve behaviors and build habits. By generating an iterative mindset in employees, Tri Habits gives employers an easy way to empower their people and make their individual healthy efforts resilient and sustainable.” Walmart and engagedIN developed a tailored version of the app-based platform, focused on nutrition to associates and consumers. Named Fresh Tri, the app will also be available to be licensed by other companies for their employees or used by consumers. Companies that want a version that supports other habits or requires additional functionality can collaborate with engagedIN to have these developed as well.

The Tri Habits engine and each custom front end, such as Fresh Tri, blend neuroscience research with a game-dynamic user interface that gives people the ability to simply practice habits that have been proven effective, either in clinical studies or by people who have changed their habits sustainably. Designed for how the brain pays attention, remembers, and seeks reward, the software helps people to practice and iterate on habits so they stick. Tri Habits builds resilience by encouraging people to iterate whenever their practice is not flowing—thereby protecting them from shame and disappointment.

“The trick was to create a software that would work effectively no matter the brain or personality type of the user, which is a challenge when you think of the different ways in which we all look at the world and go about our daily routines,” recounted engagedIN Chief Technology Officer, Brian Garcia. “We designed our engine by leveraging hundreds of research studies in habit formation, brain science, and behavioral science to emulate in-real-life behavior patterns, so we can discover what works at-scale and help guide others who are stuck -- similar to how Waze crowdsources the fastest routes to get you where you want to go.”

The Fresh Tri app, focused on food habits, is available for free on all app stores.

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