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Benefits Of Incentives To Motivate And Promote A Workplace Wellness Program

We have been reporting on the results of our "Workplace Wellness Management Survey on Incentives." In previous issues of Wellness Program Management Advisor, you have received statistics on the numbers of organizations that have formal incentives or rewards for participation in workplace wellness programs.

We also looked at the percentages of programs that are offering cash incentives or other types of rewards, as well as studying the use of ‘other’ incentives.

We now have comparative data for each of three years and three years apart. The study was conducted in 2003, then again in 2006, and again in 2009 to help provide a basis for measuring changes in the adoption of incentives for wellness program participation.

Many of the wellness professionals who participated in the survey shared their thoughts and perspectives on incentives and the benefits and contributions that incentives bring to the success of a program.

For instance, from a hospital wellness program incentives are "great for people who have the time to participate. They encourage people to get off the couch and walk, ride, exercise, jazzercise, etc."

By using incentives everyone wins, a corporate manager of wellness and fitness told us, "It sometimes takes more than just self-motivation to be successful in the program. We find that when an individual has a goal or something driving them to succeed, they are far more likely to continue in a program then drop out."

Another respondent said, "As much as an individual ‘wants to be fit,’ or ‘wants to get fit’ THEY NEED REWARDS along the way. In most cases ‘just hitting your goals’ is NOT enough for most," said the director of wellness/events.

Enthusiasm Rubs Off – Employees Motivate Each Other

"Employees are enthusiastic about incentives," said a personnel management specialist with a federal agency. "Employees go in teams and motivate each other. They report happiness and discuss how the exercises have reduced weight which lowered cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetic counts."

A health and wellness manager said, "I believe you have to offer some type of incentive for participation in most programs. It is not enough incentive that you will improve your health, most employees need some type of tangible incentive to get them involved."

An HR representative participating in the survey reported that the response is ‘great’ to the incentives. "We offer subsidized costs to all programs so that is a huge incentive. Also the gym is free and is open 6 days a week from 6:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m. Employees are also allowed to bring in their own personal trainer to our gym."

"We feel they are vital to our program's success," reported Robert Szarzynski, a county government assistant HR director.

The "Workplace Wellness Management Survey" was conducted online among wellness professionals and subscribers to Wellness Program Management Adviser, the Wellness Junction Professional Update and members of the Wellness Managers Professional Discussion Group, and was compiled and analyzed by the Institute for Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion, the research and survey arm of the Wellness Management Information Center, publisher of Wellness Program Management Advisor.

Source: Institute for Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion. Copyright 2010, Wellness Management Information Center.

© 2010 Health Resources Publishing