Safety and Wellness Incentive Programs: Do They Work?

Take a look at your company’s current incentives program and you may be thinking that you already have everything covered, but have you already considered improving your safety and wellness programs? Perhaps you’ve tried a few things, but you’re not seeing your employees making a change for the better.Conversely, you might just want to see better results. If that’s the case, then you should consider using safety and wellness incentives to get the job done.

 Rewarding Behavior Changes Employees for the Better

Telling your employees to practice a more healthy lifestyle is easy; it’s getting them to actually do it that can be very challenging. In many cases, wellness programs that try to promote any change to employee behavior end up being ignored because the people feel like there’s very little reason to comply. By using the right incentives, however, your company can help your employees make crucial changes that will not only benefit your business, but also their wellness as a whole.

There are a few kinds of incentives that you can give to promote your company’s wellness program:

  • Financial Incentives – Added directly to the payroll, handed as cash, or provided as health service subsidies, financial incentives are the most common types of incentive for this purpose.
  • Non-financial Incentives – Gift cards, gym subscriptions, and free healthy meals are less common, but they can be the most effective incentives in certain situations.
  • Company-sponsored activities – Weight-loss competitions, company-sponsored exercises, and educational seminars can also be used to encourage employees to participate in the program, either as a group or as individuals.
  • Sponsored medical assistance – Employees with certain diseases or conditions can be provided free access to certified medical professionals.

So, do these incentives actually work? It greatly depends on your employees’ preferences and wellness needs. For example, some employees fail to go to the gym simply because they do not have the time or money to work out. For such employees, offering gift cards or sponsored gym subscriptions can be more than enough for them to make the change.

However, people that have already developed severe unhealthy habits are a bit more difficult to convince. Give them a financial incentive, and they can be tempted to spend that extra money on booze or cigarettes. A better option is to offer them tickets to key seminars or even subsidize healthcare or rehabilitation programs in extreme cases.

Of course, incentives shouldn’t be all about the ones that need to change. Those who are already living a healthy lifestyle can also receive some form of incentive. Cash incentives tend to be more suited to healthy employees, but you can also offer other rewards such as lower insurance health premiums or sponsored discounts on regular checkups.


Incentives and Insistence

Incentives work well, but your wellness program will be even better if your company understands the power of constant reinforcement. Ensuring that your employees get more exposure to healthy options can help them transition to a healthier lifestyle. Another good way to convince employees is to make them understand the actual benefits of the wellness program, instead of just telling them what to do. Reminding them that the company will also do what it can to help them make the transition to healthier living can give employees another reason why they would want to change for the better.

Selecting the proper rewards and providing enough information about your company’s wellness program may seem like too much effort in the beginning, but the long term benefits of such a program for you and your employees are definitely more than enough reason to actively promote it instead of letting it go to waste.

Author: Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles by others on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to