April 5, 2021

Rewarding Health: Should companies offer a wellness carrot?

Smiling man looking a cell phone at home office

Rewarding Health:  Should companies offer a wellness carrot?


Rewards work.  Companies offering rewards enjoy a higher engagement in their wellness programming compared to companies that do not.  It seems simple enough, but in fact, the reward question is more complex.  By digging deeper into the what and how of offering rewards, organizations can structure a program that benefits not just their employees but their company, too.

If you are looking to drive participation in your wellness program, here are the 3 questions you need to ask.

     1. What do your employees need to do in order to earn a reward? 

Rewards provide motivation but in order to be truly effective they need to have clear and actionable parameters.  A reward loses all value if it is too difficult to earn because of either uncertainty over how to participate or a lack of opportunities.  Clear instructions, timely communications, nudges and easy tracking capabilities empower your employees with the knowledge of how to engage with your wellness initiative.    

Secondly, take a holistic approach to rewards. Employees have different interests and strengths and the healthy behaviours you are rewarding need to reflect the diversity of your employees.

      2. Are the rewards being offered ones your employees actually care about?

Employees are rarely excited about company swag leftover from a prior event and busy HR personnel do not have the time to be sourcing gift cards. Making rewards personalized, memorable and engaging starts with understanding the individual employee to ensure that rewards are flexible enough to hold value with different individuals.  By allowing employees to self-select from a predetermined reward list, structured to align with your company’s budget, your rewards offerings will be meaningful and desirable.  What’s more, rewards do not need to be limited to gift cards.  Consider options such as charitable donations, contributions to health spending accounts or even premium reductions; whichever align best with your employees’ interests and your company’s values. 

       3. Are there barriers to earning rewards?

Do equal opportunities exist for office, remote and front line workers to earn rewards?

Integrating rewards into your digital wellness program ensures you are offering your employees an accessible, immediate and simplified redemption process, while eliminating administrative work for your busy team. By structuring rewards as an “in-app” purchase based on predetermined participation in your wellness programming, you provide the timeliness needed to make rewards meaningful for encouraging ongoing healthy behaviours.  What’s more, employees, regardless of location, can access the rewards, driving participation and engagement in your program.

Sprout uses the COM-B model to improve employee engagement, loyalty, and productivity while showing your employees that you care about their overall health and wellbeing.   Built using behavioural economics, our integrated rewards solution allows employees to clearly see how their behaviours contribute to earning rewards, driving motivation for ongoing healthy habits.

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