Incorporating incentives into your wellness program is a way to motivate employees to start or continue exhibiting good health behaviors. Incentives are generally external rewards offered to individuals and can be anything from monetary rewards to discounted fitness membership fees. Other examples of incentives include free health coaching, merchandise (e.g. T-shirts, iPods, gift cards, etc.), and time off from work.
Companies can offer incentives to employees for a number of different things such as completing a health risk assessment, participating in lifestyle change programs, and joining team challenges. When considering what incentives may be best for your wellness program, it is important to consider the wants and needs of your employees. Wellness programs tailored to fit your company’s culture will be most effective at motivating to change. In some cases, disincentives can be used as well. For example, at some companies employees pay an insurance surcharge if they do not complete health risk assessments or participate in programs if they are considered “high risk.” Incentives are effective components of wellness programs and can be utilized to tackle the different tasks or changing people’s health behaviors.