Employers often use wellness program incentives as a way to influence employee behavior and boost motivation in the workplace. In return, employees can benefit from lower health care costs and improved wellbeing. Unfortunately, not all employees take full advantage of these program incentives, leaving employers hesitant to continue offering these perks. The question then becomes clear: are wellness program incentives really worth the investment?
Wellness program incentives can greatly range from company to company. Some of these programs offer employees financial rewards for undergoing health screens, improving their cholesterol levels, or sticking to exercise regimens. By offering these smart incentives, employers can drive participation and essentially boost engagement in these wellness programs. The incentives offered can play a major role in employee participation. Many of these wellness programs offer incentives like gift cards, company swag, charitable contributions, premium reductions, HSA funding, and of course, bragging rights. Some employers take it a step further and offer benefits like personal health assessments or biometric screenings.
While the incentives are not always big, they can be tempting. Even small incentives have the ability to motivate employees and create change in the workplace. However, it is important to focus on the benefits of the wellness programs themselves rather than the incentives. By encouraging your employees to look at the bigger picture, everyone can benefit from these programs. You may be wondering if these incentives are worth the investment and, in most cases, the answer is yes. If you are not getting the results you are looking for, it may be time to review your wellness program and incentives.
Advantages of Wellness Program Incentives
The primary goal of a wellness program is to encourage employees to adopt and maintain healthier behaviors. As not all employees are willing to participate in a wellness program at first, employers often turn to incentives as a way to make these programs appear more attractive. There are a number of advantages to offering wellness program incentives. Some of these perks include the following:
- Increase Employee Happiness – Among one of the simplest advantages, offering wellness program incentives can make your employees happier. When wellness programs are offered to employees at no cost, they are more willing to participate. Employees that know that they have a way to improve their health that will not cost them money. And as a result of taking advantage of these benefits, they will be happier and more productive.
- Boost Morale – Many employers choose to offer competitive incentives, such as friendly competition among teammates. This type of incentive encourages employees to work harder to meet their goals and, in the meantime, they are improving their health. Competitive incentives also help create stronger bonds between coworkers.
- Promote Weight Loss – When incentives like financial rewards are offered to employees simply by participating in a wellness program, employees are more likely to push themselves to become healthier. In turn, this can lead to weight loss and overall better health.
Disadvantages of Wellness Program Incentives
Wellness program incentives can result in many amazing benefits for both employees and employers. However, there are some disadvantages that you will want to be aware of from the very start. Wellness programs in and of themselves can prove to be costly and may not always provide the return on investment that employers are looking for. If you do choose to offer wellness programs with incentives, here are a few downsides you may discover:
- Not All Incentives Work – As an employer, it is important to know your employees and what types of incentives work best. If you choose the wrong incentive, you may find that the bulk of your employees do not participate. For example, if your workforce is made up of mostly younger employees, gift cards may be an appealing incentive. However, older employees may desire incentives like lower health insurance premiums.
- These Programs Are Not Always Effective – It is true that poor health and disease are often linked to an inadequate diet and exercise routine. However, this is not always the case. Some people are genetically predisposed to certain illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, meaning your incentives and wellness programs may not be all that helpful.
Offering Wellness Programs to Employees
It is important to remember that while incentives may draw employees in and encourage them to participate in a wellness program, not all will adopt these healthy behaviors in the long run. However, this does not mean that incentives should not be used. Instead, focus on long-term behavioral change to help your employees change over time. This can help ensure that your wellness program sticks. When offering wellness program incentives, always remind your employees about the benefits that come from these behavior changes, such as reduced weight, better mood, and less susceptibility to diseases.
Develop an incentive program that is easy to follow and allows employees to track their progress. Many wellness program incentives work on a point system, meaning that employees can earn a certain number of points for various health and wellness tasks that they accomplish. For example, an employee may earn 20 points when they complete a preventive cancer screening or 50 points when they go to the gym four times a month. Then you can assign a certain number of points for each reward, such as 2,000 points for a $10 gift card to a local coffee shop or grocery store.
Learn More About Wellness Program Incentives
It is not always easy for people to change their behavior, especially when it comes to their health and lifestyle choices. However, making these important changes can be highly beneficial in all parts of a person’s life, especially their career. This is why many employers choose to implement wellness programs. To encourage more employees to participate in these programs, incentives are often given. Whether these incentives are worth the investment is dependent on a number of variables, such as the value of the incentives and the impact that the wellness program is making. For more information about the benefits of wellness program incentives or to inquire about the benefits of consulting services, contact the Business Benefits Group.