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Incentives and Beyond Incentives

What kind of incentives are employers offering? Do incentives benefit or undermine the wellness program goals of your organization? Are there other ways to keep employees motivated to participate?

These questions are just a few of the things that were discussed at the most recent Milwaukee Area Healthcare and Wellness Provider Roundtable hosted by Froedtert Health. Local WCWI members went around the table to share the structure of their organization’s incentivized wellness programs and discussed what has been successful, what has not, and what the future of their incentivized wellness programs might look like.  

The Roundtable series provide a valuable setting to network and share ideas and tools with like-minded wellness professionals within the same industry. To find more information about our Roundtables and other programs offered through WCWI, click here.

Summary of Some Key Takeaways from the Group:

  • Using incentives is widely used and embedded in established wellness programs.
    • The use of incentives provides “the carrot” to participate in wellness program initiatives.
    • Offering some kind of incentive draws initial interest to program offerings, and hopefully employees continue to utilize them.
  • Financial ROI can be tricky to measure value of wellness programs.
    • Can be hard to look at it financially because if you have a couple of high-risk employees (employee with cancer, or a premature birth for example) on the plan, it skews number averages.
    • Sharing/recognizing success stories of improved health (individual or employee population) has garnered interest and helped boost participation through word of mouth.
  • Robust wellness programs add value to organizations and keep them competitive for retaining employees.
    • Many employees seek and expect quality wellness programs and benefits from their employer.
    • Paradigm: how do you keep the program valuable and interesting to keep/retain employees (vs. employees leaving to go to a different company that offers more/better health benefits).
  • Common goal of wellness programs is to shift employees’ mentality of just participating to get it done to wanting to do something proactive about their health.
    • Food for thought: how do you build intrinsic motivation?
  • A common challenge is to create a communication strategy to get engagement and let employees know what program resources are available to them.

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