Workplace Wellness Programs: Increasing Employee Participation
Unless the employees in the workplace are interested in participating in workplace wellness programs, the addition of these programs to the health care benefit plan will not be effective in reducing corporate health care costs.
State-of-the-art fitness equipment only works when it is used and exercise facilities are only beneficial when they are visited regularly by members and employees. Said another way, the key to an effective workplace wellness program is participation.
Now, employers are faced with the decision of how to increase employee participation and how to make workplace wellness programs more attractive to employees of varying health and wellness through all the ranks.
Workplace Wellness Programs: Gathering Effective Employee Incentives
The single, sure method of increasing employee participation in workplace wellness programs is to learn what motivates these individuals. Employee engagement is the key to success. Workplace wellness programs do reduce health risks, as long as the employees with the health risks agree to follow the wellness plans and actively pursue an improvement in their own health.
Increasing employee participation will maintain the new health status which produces a return on the investment in the workplace wellness program for the employer.
Workplace Wellness Programs: Recognizing Participation Patterns
Typically, increasing employee participation is harder after the onset of the workplace wellness program. New participants are enthusiastic and interested in the initial phase, but after the novelty has faded so does employee participation. This is a turning point for the introduction of stronger motivators.
Several strong incentives are money, time-off from work, reduced portions of the co-pay or a point system in which points accumulate to greater and greater values for merchandise, money or reduced health care premiums. The Health Risk Appraisal should address which incentives the employees identify as motivating.
Workplace Wellness Programs: Breaking Achievement into Smaller Steps
Increasing employee participation can be done by breaking the criteria for wellness into smaller steps in order to add more frequent rewards. Creating opportunities to save up smaller reward for a chance at a reward of greater value is another option for increasing employee participation. Self-selection of incentives is crucial for motivation to be meaningful to the individual participating in the workplace wellness program.
The possibility of further rewards for maintaining the new level of health is another solid method of increasing employee participation. Successful workplace wellness programs increase the value of the reward in tandem with increased employee participation rates. This type of reward system works especially well with health risks that involve breaking an addictive cycle.
Workplace Wellness Programs: Increasing Employee Participation Saves Money
Increasing the value of rewards for participation can deter some employers with limited financial resources from making a commitment to workplace wellness programs. The fear that larger incentives for increasing employee participation will break the bank costs companies valuable time.
An astute workplace wellness program design will back the resources of the company. Unless a one hundred percent participation rate is achieved, the employees who are not successful are going to be paying the full premium; whereas, the savings generated by the participating employees will be recycled by the health care costs.
Attempts at increasing employee participation in the workplace wellness program by raising the costs of premiums for employees who do not participate should be used with caution. This strategy often creates a hostile, anti-health environment that increases the stress level in the workplace and dissolves employer-employee morale.
Incentives should be aimed at increasing employee participation and maintaining engagement. Anything that minimizes the good will of or places a negative connotation on the wellness program is a detriment to its success, whereas effective incentives will support this.
Writer Bio: John Bates is a leading wellness industry consultant and prolific writer about all aspects of health and wellness programs. His work can be found on numerous wellness websites including his own: Infinite Wellness Solution’s and Infinite Health Coach.