Incentives can be great motivators when you’re trying to maximize participation in a workplace wellness program, because who doesn’t love the chance to get in on winning a prize? But what exactly gets employees excited about doing the work to improve their health? And even more challenging, what can motivate them to maintain that wellness-focused mindset after a competition or challenge is completed?

Let’s start with the obvious incentive: cash prizes. Sure, everybody could use a few more dollars in their pockets, but there are a lot of ways to get more creative with financial incentives. Consider these:

  • Contributions to employee health plans in the form of premium discounts or credits
  • Monetary donations to the charity of a winner’s choice
  • Gift cards for sporting apparel stores or recreational activities that promote spending on healthy habits

One thing to think about with financial incentives is when to award them. Maybe it’s after employees reach a certain objective in a wellness program or win a multi-week challenge … they can also be used as participants continue to demonstrate healthy behaviors or maintain results beyond a certain timeframe, too.

Speaking of that, employees also seem to appreciate incentives that help them stay on track with their long-term goals. A few ideas here:

  • Paid sessions with a personal trainer or health coach
  • Wearable fitness tracking devices
  • Exercise equipment, including things like bikes, weights and yoga mats

Another type of incentive that may hook participants is one that gives them more time to enjoy their favorite pastimes. Consider incentives that involve:

  • Paid personal time off
  • A one-day or weekend get-away
  • Tickets to a sporting event

There’s nothing wrong with a simple cash giveaway, but sometimes it helps to get resourceful with incentives when participation in wellness programs is slowing. Try something new and see how it affects your participation rates!

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