Why incentives might cost you more than dollars

Did you know the average value for employee wellness incentives in the U.S. is now over $500 per employee per year? Are you kidding? Imagine the potential positive impact if that money was actually put towards providing employees with more personally relevant health education and change coaching resources.

No other country in the world uses wellness incentives like the U.S., but is it working? Well, let's not get into an ROI debate today, but we certainly will challenge the sustainability issues and cultural precedent that heavy incentive based-wellness plans may create. 

Do incentives show your employees that you really value their health, or does it simply turn health into a commodity to be bargained between employer and unions? More to the point, do incentives really hold the power to actually motivate individuals to change and maintain better health and productivity? There are plenty of psychological and social theories to suggest that they won't. For a little insight into some of those theories, you can read a previous HBD article published in Corporate Wellness Magazine by clicking here.

But that's not the purpose of this post. What we really wanted to share is an enlightening TED talk by Dan Pink. If you really think that incentives are the answer to motivating your employees to be healthier, more engaged, or more productive at work, then this might surprise you.

Dan talks about incentives in the context of work behaviors, but the same psychology applies to health behaviors. Isn't it time we jumped the gap between what science knows and what business does? Employee health programs which more effectively engage individuals and provide them the knowledge and resources to self-motivate and control the process of their own change will be much more powerful in maintaining employee health and satisfaction compared to financial incentives. If you want proof of concept, then contact us to learn how our comprehensive health, safety, and performance programs maintain outcomes that more than double wellness industry averages... and all without incentives. 

View the TED video by clicking here.


Published on by Andrew Stephenson.