In the past decade, many companies have introduced incentive-based wellness programs for their employees. These plans reward employees for making healthy choices, such as remaining smoke-free, exercising regularly, taking a set number of steps per day and other healthy behaviors. Rewards can include anything from financial rewards to discounts on health insurance. Here is how an incentive-based wellness program may benefit your company.
Your employees may be healthier
By giving employees incentives to maintain a healthier lifestyle, you may encourage them to improve their overall health. Many of these programs help employees learn the benefits of preventative screenings and early detection. As such, your employees may be more likely to take advantage of yearly physicals and other screening tests, catching problems early when they are more treatable. This could result in a healthier workforce, which ultimately leads to lower healthcare costs for the company.
These plans may improve morale
Some incentive-based wellness plans incorporate fun challenges for employees, such as prizes for using the stairs more often or tracking steps as a team. These activities can be a fun way of creating team unity while also encouraging employees to make healthier choices. These team challenges give employees an opportunity to interact with coworkers in a different manner, and can make working together on routine tasks more productive. Giving employees a challenge can also add some variety into their workdays, which can have a positive effect on mental well-being.
Programs may spur lasting changes when implemented correctly
Employers need to be careful when implementing incentive-based wellness programs to avoid the perception of discrimination. Making such programs mandatory for example, is discriminatory to employees with disabilities. Offering steep discounts to people based on BMI (body mass index) or other health factors including tobacco usage could send the message that your company discriminates against smokers or employees who are overweight. However, when implemented well, these programs can lead to lasting changes in certain employees, which contributes to their lifelong health. While the incentive may have spurred an employee to eat more healthfully or walk more often, they may see the changes and stick with a healthier lifestyle.
Incentive-based wellness programs are one tool that your company can take to encourage a healthy and productive workforce. By offering desirable prizes and making participation fun, you may be taking steps to help increase the health of your employees, which may help save you money on health care costs in the long run.
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