Whether companies are launching “challenges” or online tools for healthy change, they are putting rewards in place for maximum response. For example, they are offering consumers rewards for participating in a smoking cessation or a weight loss program as well as winning the team competition for the most steps. With the increase in funding for prevention and wellness, rewards programs are getting more attention.
"Last week, I was awarded a wellness day off and I feel like a new person!"
“The rewards program has helped me. I am more aware of getting the steps that I need to make to my goal each day.”
“My company started awarding points to get us to be healthier. The program started off with lots of excitement but has kind of fizzled out.”
“Reward Me” Opportunity: Provide currency of value (e.g. money, time off) in exchange for desired behaviors while keeping the rewards dynamic, tiered (e.g. higher level for achieving stretch goals) and personalized to the individual.
Engagement in Action:
- Employers such as REI and Bridgepoint Education are using Limeade to engage and empower their employees. With the Limeade platform, employers enable their employees decide what they want to do to earn points for rewards. With Limeade’s mobile application, employees can even plan, track and monitor their goals while on the go. In addition to their own activities, employees may choose to participate in challenges from their employer or from others in the Limeade online community such as participating in an online coaching session, attending an onsite seminar or completing the challenge activity. For example, users challenge others to train for and complete local races, lose pounds, not drink for a month, or even "get to work without your car the most times this quarter". Employers challenge employees to "Exercise 30 minutes, 6 days a week" to "Contribute (your time or money) to a charity of your choice this month", to "do something for YOU in the next two weeks", or even "post an essay about how you've been inspired to change your life". Rewards typically fall into two categories; 1) an incentive benefit related to health care -- lower premiums, deductibles or access to a superior plan, or 2) other stuff their specific employees value -- vacation time, ski lift tickets, or dinner with the CEO.
- According to Forbes, Ochsner Health Systems and many other employers have used the Virgin HealthMiles platform with the “Pay for Prevention” program to reward employees for healthy behaviors. Points are given for the measurement of vitals and tracking of activity. Employers are testing different rewards such as lower premiums, gift cards and days off and the reward value can range up to $2,500 per year. In addition to challenges from a specific employer, Virgin also runs competitions across the employers for all participants in their network. For the selected challenge activity, the participant wins entries into a lottery for travel such as a trip to Sir Richard’s Private Island in the Caribbean.
Employers need to be creative in how they are packaging, positioning and promoting their rewards program. The program participants are in the best position to advise their employer on suggested rewards, reward structure and rewarded behaviors. Think about how the rewards program may differ for employees working in a call center or retail store compared with those employed by a financial services firm.
The biggest challenge for sustaining participation is to determine ways to reward consumers for increasing the time and frequency on activities they enjoy doing (e.g. swimming, biking) and for making healthy decisions about their diet whether they are in a supermarket or restaurant.