Wellness Programs

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Employee wellness programs certainly aren’t new. They’ve been popular for years now, and as a result, HR professionals have fine-tuned both program structure and communications to better support corporate goals for employee wellness and ROI.

However, there’s still some room for improvement.

The opportunity lies in an employee wellness program component that’s a growing priority: incentives. Yes, they can be an added expense, and yes, they can add complexity to program administration. But investing in incentives makes sense, particularly when it comes to health-related behavior changes.

Numerous studies have been done to evaluate how employees respond to different wellness rewards. Insurance premium discounts, for instance, are a popular and seemingly logical incentive choice for diverse employee populations. But there’s a problem: only 45% of employees find insurance discounts motivating. And some individuals even see this type of incentive as a negative, with a perspective that it’s a penalty to pay a full, undiscounted insurance premium. Programs that take a positive approach fare better, especially those with cash incentives, which are ranked in the top three wellness incentive choices by 81%.

Truly meaningful incentives will stand out in the recipient’s mind, both at the moment of presentation and reward redemption. This is part of the reason prepaid cards are increasingly desirable for wellness incentives. Prepaid cards are cash-like, but clearly separate from regular pay, and spending is flexible enough to appeal to diverse groups. All said, it makes sense to carefully consider the difficulty of the action or behavior change as well as the audience when choosing wellness incentives. There is no ideal answer for every program.

Contact Eagles, Benefits By Design, Inc. for more information on wellness incentives.