Finding the Right Wellness Incentives to Motivate Your Employees

Posted by Robyn Whalen on Thu, Dec, 15, 2016

One of the most important parts of starting a wellness program is determining how you will inspire employees to participate and begin the journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Incentives are excellent motivators to help get employees started and keep them on the right track. They also help to add some extra fun to make achieving wellness seem less intimidating.


To get employees to take the plunge into their new wellness program, you will need to craft an incentive plan that will positively impact employee participation as well as spark some enthusiasm too. Employees that are excited about their wellness program and the perks that come with it will be more likely to work towards a healthier lifestyle, and as a result, you can expect a positive ROI.

Incentives are a great way to increase employee participation, motivation, and engagement, but which incentives will be right for you and your employees?

Implementing Incentives

Incentives shouldn’t be offered randomly or without purpose. They should follow a plan and be rewarded when employees are showing dedication to living a healthier lifestyle. Incentives and perks should also change over time and be regularly implemented to maintain employee engagement. Here are the main types of incentives that should be implemented into your wellness program:

Participation-based incentives. As it sounds, these are incentives for employee participation. For example, an employee may receive a gift card for completing a biometric screening or health assessment.

Outcomes-based incentives. These are incentives for reaching a targeted goal. For example, an employee will be rewarded for reaching a targeted BMI or blood pressure result.

Action-based incentives. These are incentives for employees who are making a sincere effort towards reaching an individual health goal and has shown progress. For example, an employee may receive a free day of PTO for participating in a community race.

Incentives Your Company Could Try

Incentives come in many forms—from financial rewards to social recognition. When hearing the word “incentive” most people automatically think of gift cards or cash. While both of these are great incentives to get employees engaged, they are not the only two incentives to keep in mind. Here are some easy ideas that will help you get started in creating your own incentive plan:

Employee recognition. Everyone loves to be recognized for their hard work and success. A simple way to reward an employee for reaching one of their wellness goals is to give them a company-wide shout-out. You can do this by mentioning their name and success in a newsletter, email blast, or verbally recognizing the employee in a meeting.

Exercise classes. Offer employees free trials to exercise classes at a nearby gym or fitness center. This is a great way for employees to discover that fitness classes are something that they would love to continue on their own.

Healthy choices. Offering employees healthier choices in the breakrooms such as fresh salads, protein bars, and fresh fruit will go a long way.

Discounts. Provide discounts for employees who sign up early for any classes or activities provided by your wellness program.

Time. Time is a powerful incentive, mostly because some employees feel too busy with work to get healthy. Offer employees PTO, early leave, or flextime for participating in races, attending fitness classes, or anything else that pertains to employee well-being.

Biometric screenings. Offer these screenings to employees on company time.

Drawings. Splurge on one reward and have employees complete healthy tasks to be entered for a chance to win a great prize.

Follow-Up with Employees 

The best way to make sure you have the right incentives in place for your employees? Ask for their input! You shouldn’t waste any time or money on incentives that employees don’t find motivating, useful, or fun. Try sending out a quick survey to see what incentives and perks employees find useful to determine which incentives are keeping your wellness program and employees on track.

There’s no doubt that incentives are powerful motivators, no matter what the incentive might be. Keep your company’s goals and your employees’ desires in mind while creating your incentive plan, and your wellness program – as well as your employees – will be off to a great start.

What incentives would keep you motivated?

Image: Hand wringing a bill photograph by Bedneyimages- Freepik

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Topics: Wellness at Work


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