Better health can be its own reward. But people who aren’t yet sold on the value of fitness often need more motivation to exercise and eat right. That’s where incentives come in.
Employers are realizing that incentive works, and are ramping up their health rewards programs accordingly. They’ve increased their average spending on incentives per employee from $260 to $521 over the past five years, and plan to spend even more in years to come.
But, for incentives to drive engagement, they need to be something your employees will value. Here are a few suggestions for meaningful incentives:
Cash and gift cards.
Cash and gift cards are popular rewards for a reason: Employees like them. They’re easy to come by and widely available. Survey your employees beforehand to see what businesses they prefer to patronize. That way, you won’t be trying to hand out Wal-Mart cards when your workers would rather shop at Target.
Paid time off.
Let’s face it, everyone loves a little extra vacation time (us included!). The actual cash “cost” to your company is nothing, but the implied value to your people is invaluable. These days off are highly desirable and will get employees daydreaming about what they’ll do with their extra vacation time.
Invite everyone who reaches a certain fitness benchmark to a quarterly lunch or party on company time. Whether your budget allows for a catered meal or just a cake, make the event memorable. Recognize top fitness performers, have a raffle for prizes, give out freebies like water bottles and be sure company leadership attends to show support for the wellness program.
Everyone company has its own quirks. Maybe everyone covets a covered parking spot or face time with the CEO. Turn these quirks into incentives: Give top fitness performers first pick of parking spots or vacation slots, or reward them with brown bag lunches with top executives.
Joining a gym or taking a new exercise class can jump-start employees’ interest in fitness. But classes and memberships can be pricey. Entice them to try new forms of exercise by offering them free or reduced-price fitness services like exercises classes, gym memberships or sessions with a personal trainer.
Though incentives can sound expensive, they pay for themselves in the long run. Think of them as investments. They encourage employees to join and commit to your wellness program, and healthy employees translate to lower health care and absenteeism costs for your company (for more information click here).
Incentives are important to employee wellness. Check out our program!