Guide to Setting Employee Wellness Incentives

 In Articles

It is common knowledge that most companies wish to tap as much from their resources as possible and that includes employee productivity. One thing that puts a strain on productivity is poor health resulting in a heap of sick notes and leave requests. Moreover, employees who do not take off and go to work feeling under the weather or strained aren’t much use for productivity either.

Health isn’t necessarily related just to germs and the flu but rather includes a series of factors such as fitness and a healthy diet. This is why more and more employers have turned to wellness incentives in order to encourage a healthier lifestyle amongst employees.

Start with the basics

Before investing in expensive gym equipment, start with basic issues such as unhealthy snack habits and smoking for instance. Write up a plan depicting the issues which you wish to address and how you intend to do it. It all starts with change and helping your employees process the change.

Remove or replace the vending machines in the office with ones offering healthier snack options. Although smoke breaks are legal, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging your employees to quit smoking by offering a nice reward.

The key here is not to think too big but rather to focus on the problem areas first.

Set up a challenge and reward

Now comes the fun part. Just with sales incentives, you can approach your employees with a wellness incentive. For instance, the person who has managed to lose the most weight in a certain amount of weeks gets a reward. It is, however, important to respect your employees and not to hurt their confidence or self image. Let them understand that this isn’t something with which to ridicule them but rather that you care about their general health.

There’s no point in participating if the reward isn’t attractive, let’s be honest. Make a list of rewards you are willing to give away and have your employees vote which one is the most valuable to work towards. It goes without saying that any food related gift cards should be left off the table. A gym membership for a certain amount of time could be a great idea as many people would like to go to the gym but are unable to afford it.

Challenge ideas you can consider

A pedometer challenge: Most everyone owns a smartphone, more importantly, one with a severely ignored pedometer on it. Pedometer apps are designed to count the amount of steps you take. Set up a challenge where the first person to reach a certain amount of steps (10 000) wins. However, this challenge opens up a fair amount of cheating possibilities.

Have sports match: An incentive program need not be a long story. You can have your office divide into teams and set a date for a big cricket, rugby, soccer, baseball or any other sort of match. Give the teams enough time to practice and in the end you will have killed two birds with one stone by encouraging healthy habits and teamwork. May the best team win.

A treadmill or step challenge: This works much like the pedometer challenge where employees are encouraged to reach a certain amount of km on the office treadmill or step machine.

Make changes, stick to it and be an example

As manager or employer it is important that you set an example to your employees. You cannot take away the vending machines and morning coffee run just to walk by with a hamburger in one hand and caramel latte in the other. Join in the challenge and show them that you are invested as much as they are.

Small but rewarding changes you can implement:

Start a walking club

Provide a safe spot where people can put their bikes

Replace the snacks available with healthier options. Consider healthier catering options for meetings. This especially shows your prospective clients and associates that you run a business dedicated to promoting health.

Simply replace the full cream milk with low fat milk

Encourage employees to take the stairs instead


We here are Healthshare care about healthy living and improving the lifestyle of not only our employees but communities as well. We will customise a healthy living project to fit the needs of the clients and communities. You are welcome to contact us for more information about this and other services.



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