Using Incentives in Wellness Programs
Workplace wellness programs seek to impact risk factors associated with preventable illnesses by promoting healthy lifestyle choices. Because lifestyle behaviors are deeply ingrained, making these types of behavioral changes is difficult and requires discipline and dedication – making it challenging to get employees to participate in the program. It’ll take strong motivational forces to get most of your employees to take action. One way to raise and maintain employee interest in wellness programs is to offer incentives.
The best incentive program will be easy to administer and cost-effective, and will move employees to take action and sustain positive lifestyle changes over time. Incentives are widely used in workplace wellness programs because they’re easy to understand and administer, can produce significant changes in behavior and can be combined to increase their motivational impact. However, incentives could also reward unhealthy behavior such as fast, dramatic weight loss. Be sure to design your incentive program to encourage desirable behaviors.
Types of incentives you can provide include:
- Cash and Cash Equivalent Incentives
- Fringe Benefit Incentives
- Public Recognition
- Group Health Plan Benefit Incentives
Some of the most common behaviors that are rewarded by incentives are completion of health risk assessments, participation in wellness program activities and individual achievements. Participation in program activities such as nutrition, smoking cessation classes, achievement of specific lifestyle changes (e.g., stop smoking) or biometric accomplishments (e.g., obtaining particular cholesterol, body mass index or blood pressure levels) are often rewarded as a way to keep interest in the program.
While intangible incentives have a relatively low cost to employers, they do require funding. For employers to experience a positive return on investment (ROI), the cost of incentives must be less than the expected savings the program will produce. To achieve this positive ROI, it’s essential that your workplace health promotion program contains effective incentives that motivate lifestyle changes and improve the health of your employees and their families.
For more information on the benefits of wellness programs, contact a member of the ‘A’ Team today.
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