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How to Maximize Success of Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs

HNI Account Executive

For an employer-sponsored wellness program to hit a home run, two factors must be in place. First, the program must address wellness issues important to your unique employeeemployer sponsored wellness programs population. Second, the incentives for participation must be just right.

recent report released by the Healthiest Employers survey revealed what areas of wellness employees would most like to improve and the incentives that motivate employees to use an employer-sponsored wellness program. This data can be used as a starting point to gauge what would work best for your employees, but remember — every population is unique.

Room for Improvement: Where Employees Would Like to Improve Wellness

Exercise/fitness was the area employees most wanted to improve. Tobacco cessation was the area employees were least interested in improving. This could be because employees already have successfully quit smoking or were not smokers to begin with, or it could be because tobacco users are not interested in quitting.

The survey rated responses on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 equal to least improvement needed and 5 equal to most improvement needed. Here are the results:

Please rate the following areas you would most like to improve in your life:

  • Exercise/fitness: 3.9
  • Nutrition (eating right): 3.7
  • Weight loss/management: 3.4
  • Stress management: 3.3
  • Tobacco cessation (i.e., stop smoking, chewing, etc.): 1.4

Of wellness-related topics, employees were most interested in exercise/fitness and overall health. They were least interested in smoking cessation and diabetes. This lack of interest could be because disease management affects a very specific (and small) employee population.

The survey rated responses on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 equal to not at all important and 5 equal to very important. Here are the results:

Please rank each of the following wellness-related topics in order of importance to you:

  • Exercise/fitness: 4.3
  • Overall health: 4.2
  • Nutrition: 4.1
  • Weight loss/weight management: 4
  • Stress management: 3.6
  • Blood pressure check: 3.2
  • Ergonomics: 3
  • Disease management: 2.7
  • Diabetes: 2.5
  • Smoking cessation: 1.6

The insight provided by the report clearly shows that employees are itching to get moving!

Employees' Most-Wanted Incentives for an Employer-Sponsored Wellness Program

Now that you know what wellness topics interest employees, it's time to examine the perks that will inspire participation! It's probably little surprise that the report found money was the top incentive. Financial incentives or cash and insurance premium reduction tied for top incentive, followed by paid time off.

The lowest rated incentive was lottery tickets. Looks like employees don't view games of chance as strong motivation!

The survey rated responses on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 equal to no incentive to participate and 5 equal to high incentive to participate.

Please rate each of the following incentives based on their ability to incentivize you to participate in your employer's wellness program:

  • Financial incentives or cash: 4
  • Insurance premium reduction: 4
  • Paid time off: 3.6
  • Gift cards: 3.4
  • Pre-paid gas card: 3.3
  • Points program (ability to earn points toward the purchase of items such as televisions, computers, iPods, etc.): 2.9
  • Drawing for a new car: 2.8
  • Recognition (i.e., award, plaque, company announcement, etc.): 2.7
  • Company-branded merchandise (T-shirts, hats, water bottles, etc.): 2.6
  • Lottery tickets: 2.2
  • Not applicable: 0

These two elements, incentives and areas of interest, will guide the design of your employer-sponsored wellness program. The next step is communicating this benefit to employees!

How have you approached activities and incentives in your wellness program? How would your employee responses compare to this report? Please share in comments!


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Topics: Construction Transportation Manufacturing HR / Employee Benefits