employees who quit unhealthy personal habits like smoking

Wellness programs are not a new idea. For years companies have offered their employees ways to improve their health and well-being, which in turn is intended to improve morale and productivity. A win-win for everyone involved. In the past, wellness programs typically involved simple measures such as providing employees with access to a gym or health and wellness education. While these steps have proven effective, more and more companies are looking beyond these simple measures and introducing corporate wellness incentives program to help motivate more employees to take part.

What Types of Incentives Are Commonly Offered?

Wellness program incentives are typically offered in the form of rewards, or occasionally penalties. For example, a common incentive is providing employees with a small monetary reward for participating in health screenings, checkups, or weight-loss and fitness programs. Additionally, some companies employ penalties such as charging smokers more for their health benefits. Penalties are often coupled with rewards such as cheaper health benefits for employees who quit unhealthy personal habits like smoking.

Do Wellness Program Incentives Improve Outomes?

The effectiveness of wellness incentives depends heavily on the type of incentive offered, as well as how they are employed. It is not uncommon to have some employees initially hesitant to accept incentives, especially when they involve penalties. For some, these methods come off as discriminatory against those who opt not to take part in the program. However, many of those who were initially hesitant will often change their minds once they see how much they can stand to benefit from the program. This is best accomplished by refraining from penalizing employees for non-compliance, or at least limiting the use of penalties, in addition to providing sufficient monetary reward for compliance. Offer too little, and employees are often unmotivated to take the necessary steps. Studies have shown that wellness rewards program of at least $100 for completing wellness tasks are needed to bring a program’s compliance rate up to around 75%.

Do Wellness Programs Need Incentives?

While wellness programs certainly can exist without incentives, it will likely limit their effectiveness. Wellness programs without incentives will reach employees who want to improve their health for intrinsic reasons, but often fail to reach the majority of employees. Therefore an extrinsic motivation is needed for a company to reap the most benefits from their wellness programs, and incentives such as monetary wellness rewards program have been found to be extremely effective in this role.

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