How to Make Employees Take Your Wellness Program Seriously

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Employers today put so much effort into keeping employees satisfied and engaged in the workplace. Some hire speakers for employee engagement to build a great workplace culture and engage employees in organizational values, vision, and strategy. Others are investing in wellness rewards programs to encourage employees to look after their health.

Employees these days are devoting more time and effort to their work that they’re starting to neglect their overall health and well-being. While this gives them unique satisfaction and fulfillment, the amount of work they’re putting in has taken a toll on their minds and bodies. Thus, it’s not surprising why many employees have concerns about their physical bodies and mental health. These concerns range from muscle pains, chronic fatigue, burnout, stress, anxiety, and depression.

Every employee has unique priorities in life, so motivating them to take care of their well-being is no easy feat. Nevertheless, it’s essentially critical for employers to minimize healthcare costs and hire top talent. In this case, they need employees who are in a better physical and mental state to ensure productivity and satisfaction in the workplace. This is only possible if employers can craft a compelling rewards scheme that encourages employees to play an active role in preserving their health and well-being.

So what makes a great wellness reward scheme? Here are ways to make wellness programs work:

Provide a range of options

Rewarding and incentivizing actions and behaviors can significantly reduce chronic conditions such as obesity and heart disease and establish lifestyle improvements such as quitting smoking.

Offering a wellness reward is not as easy as offering gift cards to employees who won the weight loss program. A great rewards scheme involves smart decisions to motivate the workforce and adhere to regulations. In fact, there’s a science behind the types of incentives that work and the ones that will flop.

Financial rewards such as electronic gift cards from Walmart or Amazon may be practical. Still, employers should at least diversify their incentives such as premium reductions in health insurance, charitable contributions, or health savings account merchandise and contributions, or other offerings that cater to employees’ needs and company ethos. Putting more effort into providing various rewards that match the employees’ specific wellness goals will drive employees to support the company’s wellness programs.

Although benefits-based incentives are more costly than gift cards, they lead to a more positive impact on employee engagement. The cost of benefit-based incentives can be big enough to inspire employees, but not too large that causes an entitlement mentality on program participants.

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Offer incentives with long-term impact

Employers must understand the specific wants and needs of the workforce before presenting incentives that cater to them. While rewards and incentives are a popular and effective tactic to keep employees engaged, employers should craft something that will resonate within the workforce. This means a great rewards scheme should grab everyone’s attention amid all the distractions in the world. The young generation, particularly the millennials and Gen Zs, have high expectations from their employers that they’re looking for something new, creative, and innovative.

Leveraging data analytics helps employers determine the ideal communication methods and incentives for employees based on their personal profile, including demographics, social, and economic determinants. From there, employers can establish a better ground for designing rewards and incentives.

Plenty of factors affect how a person values rewards, depending on their income level, family size, and form of transportation. Put all these factors together, and you get a tailored rewards scheme that caters to each individual.

Make the reward worth it

Employees can be efficient when considering a rewards program. They participate if it’s worth their time and effort and ignore those with little rewards. Alternatively, a reward that is too large that involves minimal effort has lesser engagement.

The strategy lies in aligning the amount of effort to the incentive value for the expected behavior. The process should be simple enough, so the only factors considered include the provision of the reward and taking the appropriate wellness action.

Employees will estimate the value of the incentive and the equivalent behavior in a wellness program. For instance, if preventative health screening shares the same rewards with reducing BMI, employees will choose the less complicated effort. To inspire actual action, employers need to increase the rewards for behaviors that involve more commitment.

Wellness rewards are no longer an employee perk; they are essential tools in the company fabric that drives the workforce to be more productive, motivated, and performance-driven. To achieve a real wellness improvement at the workplace, organizations should understand how a certain rewards program works and establish wellness rewards that support organizational change interventions and a healthy workforce.


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