Insurance and Wellness Blog

Dodging 3 Common Wellness Incentive Pitfalls

Posted by Sarah Szul on Jun 11, 2015 9:40:11 AM

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When implementing workplace wellness programs with incentives, organizations typically have the right intentions – to encourage their employees to live a healthier life. However, too many organizations are sabotaging the effectiveness of the wellness incentives without even knowing it. Designing an effective incentive strategy can be confusing and overwhelming. Below are 3 common pitfalls in wellness incentive designs – their consequences and how to dodge them.

  1. Overcomplicated programs
  2. Unattainable goals

  3. The incentive IS the goal


Pitfall #1 – Overcomplicated program

Consequence: Employees will become overwhelmed by too many options or too many requirements to earn the incentive and will ultimately stop participating.

Dodge it: When you design your incentive strategy, you should be able to explain the program in a couple of quick sentences.


Pitfall #2 – Unattainable goals

Consequence: If the goals that participants need to meet seem impossible to achieve, they might quit and not even try.

Dodge it: Set up participant goals that are small and can be built upon over time. (Define your goals - http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/motivation/define.html)


Pitfall #3 – The incentive IS the goal

Consequence: Employees will only do enough to earn the incentive, but don’t make lasting changes to their health.

Dodge it: Tie part of the incentive to health outcomes where participants need to achieve/maintain a certain level of health or improve by their health by a specific metric.


Here are some pointers to make the best possible body of your blog:
  • Include visuals
  • Include short explanatory phrases in your headers
  • At the end, transition into your conclusion

Wellness incentives are a critical component of an organization’s workplace wellness program. These programs can be win-win for both organizations and employees to reduce health care costs and promote healthy lifestyles. However, the design of the incentive structure needs to be thoroughly reviewed before implementing in order to avoid any pitfalls.

Organizations also need to make sure that their incentive design is compliant with ACA and HIPAA regulations (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/workplacewellnessstudyfinalrule.pdf). For more information on compliance, contact me! 888.263.4656 x1196




Topics: Corporate Wellness