How can your organization maximize wellness program results? Incentives have been shown to boost participation, which in turn can increase employee productivity, provide a positive return on investment, and decrease health care costs. It is important to choose the right incentive to gain the highest benefits from your wellness program.

What are some examples of effective incentives?

The key to choosing the right incentive will be determining the interests of your employees and what will motivate them to participate. Some examples of effective incentives include:

  • Health Insurance Premium Reductions
    • Remember that the size of the reward (or absence of penalty) is limited when it is tied to meeting a health-related outcome, as outlined by the Affordable Care Act.
  • Wellness Days Off or Paid Time Off
    • This could be a full day or also broken into smaller amounts.
  • Health Savings Account Contributions or Wellness Reimbursement
    • Consider contributing to your employee’s Health Savings Account, or reimbursing employees for participating in wellness-related activities, such as gym membership fees, healthy cooking classes, or yoga classes.
  • Cash and Gift Cards
    • Cash and gift cards are always popular among employees. Remember, however, that cash equivalent incentives are typically subject to payroll taxes.
  • Wellness Perks or Drawings
    • If your organization has a tight budget, consider offering wellness perks. Wellness perks can range in price, from pedometers or a healthy lunch to a Fitbit® or treadmill.

Structuring your incentive

When creating your incentive structure, there are several elements for your organization to consider:

  • Culture
    • It is important to know what will motivate employees to participate. If you are unsure, consider surveying your employees to determine what would motivate them.
  • Budget
    • Determine what your organization’s budget will be for incentives and choose the best option based on that amount. If your budget is limited, you could consider offsetting costs with premium differentials for participation or achievement of health outcomes.
  • Desired Outcome
    • Evaluate what the goals are for your organization’s wellness program and choose an incentive that will help you achieve your goals.

Need more assistance determining the best incentive structure for your organization? Use the incentive quiz on the following page, provided by Well Nation®, to guide you in your decision.