Incentives and Rewards ideas guaranteed to drive engagement

incentives and rewards

Like health risk assessments and biometric screening events, incentives and rewards programs (I&R) have long been a staple of corporate wellness—and for good reason.  After a wellness administrator has spent some time analyzing the population health data garnered from their Health Risk Assessment and/or biometric screening event, they will likely have an idea of the problem areas they wish to target.  However, knowing what to target and knowing how to deliver an intervention are two very different things.

Luckily, for administrators fortunate enough to have a robust wellness portal with an integrated incentives and rewards platform—both issues become significantly easier.  While each of the various tools in a wellness portal play their own role in a wellness program, a flexible incentives and rewards platform can be of central importance in driving behavior change.

Incentives and rewards programs draw on simple extrinsic motivation to drive behavior change—in other words, they offer individuals a carrot to entice them into taking a specific action.

But, not all incentives programs are created equal.  If you are going to invest the time, money, and corporate resources into a wellness program, you’re going to want it to be successful.

Here are 5 incentives and rewards ideas guaranteed to help drive engagement and deliver results: 

Create Relevant Rewards

To increase the odds of success, it is important to incorporate incentives and rewards that are relevant to your population and likely to persuade employees to participate. For example, if you notice your employees wearing a Garmin or other wearable device, you could incent people to get active by offering a reward for walking 10,000 steps a day or 50,000 steps a week. If your employees consider themselves “foodies,” you can encourage them to submit photos of a healthy lunch or to share a healthy recipe.

Rewards Should Promote Healthy Behavior 

You should reward these behaviors with items/experiences that further contribute to your population’s health status and health goals.  These can be things like gym memberships, health-food gift cards, a standing desk, etc.  All of these options help promote a health-conscious lifestyle, which means a higher quality of life for employees, increased productivity and reduced health insurance costs for employers.

Make a Strong First Impression

It’s not always as simple as offering a generic reward to achieve your wellness milestones. If the incentives fail to connect with employees, then they will be less likely to continue to participate in the program in the future.  Thus, it is important to make a good first impression.  You may want to kick-off your wellness program with a bang, and offer up the biggest prizes early on.  You’ll always want to tailor your I&R program to your company’s evolving needs, to make sure that you’re getting the best results and the highest level of ongoing participation.

Keep Your Rewards Program Fresh

In the early days of wellness programs, the incentives typically included monetary rewards, such as cash, gift cards or reduced insurance premiums. While these pocketbook-friendly benefits are still appreciated by many employees, they can get stale, and there may be a better fit for your company. Perhaps your employees would be more motivated to participate if company perks, like flex time or extra vacation days, were offered.  Finding the right reward to motivate your employees to jump on the fitness bandwagon is crucial to the success of your wellness program. Don’t be afraid to make changes to an existing program if you discover a better system for your business.  Be sure to keep your finger on the pulse, and to adapt to your employees changing needs.

Offer Incentives and Rewards That Resonate With Your Employees

It’s simple to find out what type of incentives and rewards most appeal to your employees; just ask them. Create a company-wide survey to collect responses, or organize a focus group to get direct feedback. There’s no need to guess when the answers are right in front of you. Ask your employees what motivates them to want to participate in the wellness program. Get creative when making the poll and include a wide variety of suggestions for incentives. The more ideas you can present to your workforce, the better you’ll be able to understand what motivates them, and the more you’ll be able to cater a successful incentives and rewards program to them.