Do Wellness Incentives Work?

Do Wellness Incentives Work?

When it comes to employee participation, one of the most common questions we get asked is, “Do wellness incentives work?” The short answer is, YES! But, let’s dig a little deeper. Roughly 78% of large organizations with wellness programs offer incentives with 30% believing their incentives were ‘very effective’ and 47% believing they were ‘moderately effective’. In addition, a RAND study found that incentives are associated with 20% higher participation rates in wellness programs.

However, it is important to note that incentives are the magic solution to higher participation rates. RAND research states that incentives are only helpful when they are used to compliment a rich, well-designed program. A 2020 study done by the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), also found that incentives are beneficial when used in combination with a supportive workplace health culture. This study also found that of all the types of incentives, “combination” incentives were the most successful. Keep reading to learn about each type of wellness incentive!

Types of Incentives

Not all organizations and employees are the same, which means the same incentive may not work for everyone. Luckily, there are a variety of wellness incentives to choose from, and most can be tailored and customized. Listed below are the three main types of incentives:

  1. Participation-Based: These incentives are typically rewards given to those who participate in one or several aspects of the wellness program. This is the most inclusive type of incentive.
  2. Outcomes-Based: These designs reward individuals for achieving targets or improving health-related outcomes including BMI, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco use and glucose.
  3. Combination: With this type of plan, rewards are available for participating in or completing an activity as well as for achieving targets or making improvements in health-related outcomes.

Tips For Implementing Wellness Incentives

If you have decided wellness incentives are the right move for your organization, follow these tips from The Benefits Guide and CoreHealth Technologies!

  1. Start by deciding which behaviors you are looking to change so you know which type of programs will benefit your employees the most.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the relevant rules under the Affordable Care Act to get a better idea of which incentives can be implemented.
  3. Communicate with your employees either one-on-one, in focus groups, or through a survey to figure out which of the 3 main types of incentives would be the most motivating and encouraging.
  4. Evaluate your company culture and organizational mission to ensure the proposed incentives are relevant and align with overall goals.
  5. Once you’ve decided on incentives, create a communication strategy to make sure all employees are informed and aware of how the incentive program will work.
  6. Remember that there is a trial-and-error phase! It may take a while to find the right incentives that maximize participation rates.

Wellness incentives can be a great way to lower health costs, reduce sick days and improve the health of your workforce. It won’t happen over night but following these tips will help you create the perfect incentive program for your organization and help improve participation rates! If you’d like more information on this topic, please reach out to us today!

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