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5 Things to Consider Before Launching Wellness Incentives

Posted May 06 2013 12:00am
On Friday I blogged about Mary , a wellness participant whose life was changed by participating in a wellness challenge. It’s the kind of story all of us at Wellness Corporate Solutions love to hear -- but as wellness professionals, we know that Mary’s success was only possible because she chose to participate. We provided the resources, but it was up to her to take the first step.

How can we encourage others to do the same?

Believe it or not, this question is controversial. Some companies have instituted aggressive incentive plans that actually penalize non-participation, or even tie incentives to specific health outcomes. If you’re currently considering options, I would offer the following advice
  1. Take your time. Before launching an incentive strategy, give your wellness program time to establish itself as an integral part of your corporate culture. Employees should view wellness as a benefit, not just as a path to a monetary incentive. To generate participation organically, survey your employees and design programming around their specific needs.
  2. Keep it simple. Confused employees are unlikely to participate. Avoid introducing too many incentive requirements too quickly, and work with your wellness vendor to design a plan that is easy to grasp.
  3. Communication is key. It’s essential to communicate program specifics early and often. If employees don’t understand how the incentive works or why you’re implementing it, you risk jeopardizing the integrity of the program.
  4. Choose wisely. There is no magic formula for employee engagement, so choose an incentive that makes sense for your corporate culture. Some employees appreciate a premium discount or a free gym membership, while others respond better to a tangible incentive. Your wellness partner should suggest options that fit your population.
  5. Consider employee morale. Before implementing a stringent outcomes-based incentive strategy, remember that wellness is a long-term investment in your employees’ health. Your wellness program should make every employee feel like an asset -- not a liability. 
If you’re not sure which incentive strategy is right for your group, rely on your wellness vendor. Seek their advice. A wellness partner who understands your culture will be able to point you in the right direction.  If you still have questions, let us know . We’d be happy to help.

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