A recent article on Boston.com sites a survey which finds that employers are spending more on wellness programs than ever before. 95% of the companies participating in the survey plan to offer some kind of health improvement program for their employees with 74% offering associated incentive programs in 2014.
Employee wellness and engagement have evolved from buzz words to solid fixtures in many company’s strategies for overall performance improvement. Healthy and engaged employees are happier, work more efficiently, remain loyal, and in turn provide a more positive experience for customers.
The fact is that study after study is finding that wellness initiatives are worth their weight in gold. Not only does the employee win but also the company’s bottom line. According to a study by Hewitt Associates – for every $1 an employer spends on wellness programs, employers can expect a $3 to $6 return. Certainly a fact that positions wellness as a top contender for inclusion in overall employee benefits strategies.
Tying incentives to wellness is an effective tool because participants are able to set concrete goals that are achievable and measurable. In addition, the incentive program can be utilized to reinforce “maintenance plans.” For example, employees that set and achieve goals for weight loss, smoking cessation, financial savings, etc. can be rewarded for maintaining the weight loss or remaining smoke-free for certain periods of time beyond the original goal-date. Ultimately, wellness programs are meant to encourage employees to change behavior for the long-term and incentive programs can be just the reinforcement needed to take these types of programs to the next level.