Employee wellness programs are relatively commonplace, and organizations are investing significant resources in them. A smart incentive strategy is key to maintain engagement and interest in wellness programs—as well as to motivate participation. Employers must adjust to different and changing expectations for rewards to be successful. This includes knowing the types of rewards that are most valuable, and when and how employees like to receive them. The goal is to deliver the right reward to the right person at the right time.
Our own Theresa McEndree provided Recognition & Engagement Excellence with tips to keep in mind as you design a wellness incentive program.
Here’s an excerpt:
More than anything else, people want choice in rewards
When selecting rewards for wellness program participation, be sure you offer a variety. One size doesn’t fit all when you’re trying to motivate and show appreciation toward your employees. It’s important to offer numerous choices such as gift cards, egifts, travel, merchandise and more.
Incent employees regularly
Don’t make rewards purely aspirational—they shouldn’t be too difficult to earn or take too long to receive. You don’t want employees to forget about them or lose interest in working toward them. Instead, offer smaller, regularly delivered rewards to incent wellness program participation. Micro rewards enable you to create a steady stream of recognition and interaction while regularly engaging your employees. Additionally, frequent and quickly delivered rewards are meaningful because they provide regular reminders of the behavior(s) that led to the reward.
Digital rewards should be in the mix
Digital rewards are a great option to satisfy employees who increasingly rely on smartphones in their day-to-day lives. Employees appreciate the flexibility and rapid delivery of egifts and virtual rewards because they can be used soon after they’re earned. Additionally, the cost of providing digital rewards is typically lower than providing physical rewards that require printing, shipping, etc.
Do you really need wellness rewards? Yes
People have been trained to expect rewards for making a purchase, participating in an activity at work, taking a test drive, etc. So to maximize participation in your workplace wellness program, offer smart incentives that motivate action.