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7 Wellness Incentive Ideas To Boost Your Corporate Programs

10 min read
Last Updated on 23 April, 2024

When wellness programs were first introduced, these instantly became popular among employees.But, we can witness a steep downfall in the past few years with the increased sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy food habits.

Rising health issues have been a significant concern worldwide. Employee well-being has become an important issue to resolve across companies. Hence, to pump up the spirits of busy employees, health and wellness incentives can help them re-engage and adopt healthy office habits.

Companies have started adopting corporate wellness programs to combat any health-related problems.

The purpose of such programs is to help employees maintain healthy behaviors at all times. The tricky part here is that it's hard to retain their patience and motivation to achieve a long-term goal unless the employees are internally driven.

Even though there is a lot of debate over the efficiency of wellness incentives, 75% of corporate programs include them for better employee engagement. A Hewitt Associates survey reveals that 48% of major U.S. employers planned to offer wellness incentives to employees willing to take part in wellness or other health-oriented programs.

What is a Wellness Incentive?

Woman holding a trophy after winning a wellness challenge
A wellness incentive is a strong emotion or desire that impacts the overall well-being of an individual. The motivation may be either external or internal. Employers can use wellness incentives to offer rewards and recognition to their employees. And in the long run, this helps to promote workplace wellness.

Incentives are also used to instill healthy lifestyle habits among employees. It is often combined with various wellness campaigns to increase participation. For example, you can offer incentives to employees who:

Types of Wellness Incentive Ideas for Wellness Programs

Man looking for wellness incentive ideas for wellness programs
There can be various types of incentives for a corporate wellness program. It is important to customize them as per the requirements of your employees. Choosing an incentive can always be cumbersome at times.

Since you will spend money and time deciding the incentives, you may feel anxious about whether your efforts will bear fruit.

Hence, as an HR, you should offer products or services that your employees will value. Before curating some ideas, you must know the different types of incentives.

Based on the budget of the employee wellness program, there are two types of incentives:

1. Cost Incentives: These incentives are generally tangible. The cost may vary depending on the material’s quality and quantity. You may consider a budget based on per employee or only winners in a year. Cost incentives can be divided into three further levels i.e

  • Low-cost incentives:(<$100) - Water bottles, yoga mats, bags, earphones, etc.
  • Mid-cost incentives:( $100-$300)- Gym memberships, wearables devices, shoes, health equipment, etc.
  • High-cost incentives:(>$300)- vacations, a day off with pay, laptops, mobile phones, etc.

2. No Cost Incentives: These incentives are non-tangible. It can be used for free if appropriately planned. It does not require any extra cost.

Some of the no-cost incentives include:

  • give paid office breaks for exercising or meditating
  • offer flexible hours of work
  • give the choice of a work-from-anywhere schedule in a week

Based on the process of wellness programs, there are three types of incentives:

3. Progress Based Incentives: These incentives can attract the active participation of your employees. You can incentivize participants who strive till the end of a wellness challenge.

For instance, you can apply this type of incentive system to a weight loss challenge of 6 weeks. You can reward the achiever if the participant meets a specific target weekly.

4. Participation-based incentives: In this type, employees who take part in wellness events receive rewards based on a point-based system. Or else they can receive rewards in the form of certificates.

This incentive is more popular as it encourages employees to join challenges as a team. There is hardly any competition in the participation-based incentive system. Hence, you can administer it through random draws.

5. Result Based Incentives: Employees can avail of this incentive after completing a wellness goal. It can be assumed as the least inclusive incentive as it reduces the competition by excluding the participants who fail to complete a challenge.

The winners receive extra brownie points. This further motivates them to take part in future challenges with motivation.

Meeting wellness goals can include meeting health requirements in a biometric screening test.

Importance of effective wellness incentive programs for employees

Woman carrying weights to stay active
Corporate wellness programs generally use the concept of wellness incentives to improve employee health and overall wellness. Evidently, there are many health benefits to incorporating a wellness incentive program. Well-planned incentive programs bring in a sense of motivation to adopt healthy behaviors.

But creating such wellness incentive programs consume the wellness budget and a lot of personnel time. The purpose of the awarding incentives goes down the drain if not targeted and appropriately tracked. Thus managing an effective wellness incentive program is important to garner positive results.

Employers should always abide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act while curating an employee wellness program.

Here is a step-by-step method to help you plan an effective wellness incentive program.

  • Study the type of behaviors you want to incentivize
  • Must have a smart choice of the right incentives
  • Know your employees' motivations for the incentives
  • Selection of a hassle-free way of incentivizing
  • There must be a free communication related to the process
  • Opt for choosing healthy alternatives for incentives

Here are seven viral wellness incentive ideas to help you elevate your wellness programs.

Seven budget-friendly wellness incentive ideas

Woman practising wellness activity at work

1. Give paid leave

Nothing can match the thrill when one hears Vacation! But a U.S. The Travel Association report cites a different picture totaling 768 million vacation days goes unused in a year.

The life of a regular employee becomes busier inside-out of their work. Working longer hours, meeting deadlines, looking after the family, and pursuing interests snaps the "Me-Time" out of every individual. This severely affects your employees' work-life balance. And thus invites unwanted physical and mental health issues.

How to do it: One way to reward your employees is by giving them Me-Time. If an employee hits their performance goals in a particular year, offering them a vacation or work days off can be the best incentive ever. This can be a most sought-after benefit, which helps your employees to rejuvenate, allowing them to return to work fully energized.

2. Reward through corporate wellness platforms

Corporate wellness platform offering incentives after completion of a wellness challenge

Tech-savvy employees spend most of their time socializing with their peers online. Employers can use this concept to create an engaging workforce by providing resources that promote wellness.

Wellness technology helps organizations with various affordable services that help track employee health well-being. Many websites and mobile-based apps help engage in wellness campaigns. Additionally, they also provide services to track employee participation rates.

How to do it: Opt for our in-house AI-powered corporate wellness platform, Vantage Fit. It integrates the element of gamification and incentivization to enhance employee wellness and engagement.

Vantage Fit rejuvenates employee wellness through real-time activity tracking and heart rate monitoring. The app comes with a customizable wellness campaign, on completion of which helps in gaining Vantage Fit points. These points can be used to buy deals from any e-commerce website or buy gift cards.

Schedule a demo now and let Vantage Fit take care of your organization's health and wellness.

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3. Gift merchandise

Purchasing merchandise has significantly gained traction in the past few years. The corporate office offers recognition rewards to its employees for brand promotional factors.

It's tangible and often viewed as a success symbol for participants. It is used as an employee motivational factor to boost the participation ratio in various tasks for their organization.

How to do it: Employers can allocate some specialized company's merchandise as a prize for participating in or winning a competition. You can also buy some t-shirts, mugs, water bottles, and shoes to replicate the same effect. This will boost morale and create a buzz among your employees to win the event.

4. Offer health insurance rebates

Health insurance sample image

Out of all incentives, employees are more thrilled about the news of the company's offering health insurance. According to the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, a lot of the young cohort of employees that include Gen-Z desired health insurance at the beginning of their careers.

This is one of the top incentives which create an impact on employee engagement ratios. Even though it costs a minimum amount, companies worldwide offer employee health policy rebates provided employees to meet the desired criteria or performances.

How to do it: You may select winners of a particular event and offer a minimum dollar, such as a $40/month rebate, which can add up to $480 a year.

5. Issue free memberships

Due to time constraints and lack of customized care, employees lose interest in their job. Various companies are opting for methods to add meaning to their employees' lives. Improvising their health is one way to create an impact on their lifestyle.

If there is a lack of office space for an in-house gym/meditation room, offering memberships that provide similar services proves to be a great substitute. There are various means, both online and offline, which create effective results in your employees' health.

How to do it: You can offer gym memberships to your employees to create an active lifestyle. There is also a provision for providing online gym services through mobile apps, where your employees can work out in the comfort of their homes.

You can also offer memberships of various healthy food joints, online health coaching, health savings account, and meditation apps, which boost the purpose of wellness programs.

6. Issue gift cards as a perk

To gain maximum productivity from your employees, it is necessary to attract their attention with goodies and office perks. While this incentive requires spending a little money, it is useful as a long term benefit.

You can witness a surge of event participation and employee engagements as no one would want to miss the opportunity to get office perks like bonuses or gift cards. Employers can take the help of a corporate platform that offers office incentives.

How to do it: Enrolling in Vantage Perks service by Vantage Circle. This is a cloud-based employee discount platform that offers a wide range of deals and discounts from leading brands. Your employees can buy their favorite wellness products at a minimal amount through the platform.

7. Plan worksite exercise

Employees meditating together at workplace

Most of your employees lack personal time, including taking care of their health. Post work hours, they feel burnt out and lose motivation to participate in any physical activity. This leads to a sedentary lifestyle, elevating the chances of high-risk diseases.

So, investing in a workplace wellness room can prove to be beneficial at times. This incentive increases the efficiency of your wellness programs. Further, it can diminish the time constraint your employees go through to take care of themselves.

How to do it: If there is an extra room within your office, you can renovate it into a retiring room. Here your employees can exercise, relax, and meditate within the office hours. You may also plan to provide juice corners and necessary equipment for any light activity.


Final Words

An incentive program forms a comprehensive part of health promotion and HR strategy. It helps in boosting your employees' morale and motivation to lead a healthy and purposeful life.

Choosing the right kind of incentive gives you a good return investment - employee satisfaction and a low turnover rate. It is worth mentioning that some incentive programs are taxable. Thus having a regular check with the payroll team is a must for an employer to avoid extra costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can wellness incentive programs improve employee health and well-being?

Wellness incentive programs are designed after conducting timely pulse surveys and evaluations of an organization’s employees. This helps HRs to craft a specialized wellness program that will tend to all their employees’ needs to instill healthy behaviors at all times.

2. What are the common challenges while incorporating wellness incentive ideas, and how to overcome them?

Some common struggles related to the incorporation of wellness incentives ideas are:

The management or the employees may not be happy with a wellness program’s efficiency. The solution is to create surveys and understand the wellness status of the employees. This way, you can implement the right type of wellness incentive.

Crafting a wellness program with the help of in-house resources may be pricey. Hence, the smart solution here is to partner with a corporate wellness solutions provider like Vantage Fit. In doing so, you save a lot of time, money and can promote employee wellness successfully.

3. What are two creative wellness incentive ideas that are most effective?

The two most creative wellness incentives are paid holidays and issuing popular brands’ gift cards.

This article is written by Rangana Atreya, a Content Marketer at Vantage Circle. Having a creative mind with a spiritful life, she takes inspiration from travelling and learning languages. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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