About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wellness Incentive Tips, From a Master

Another great (and free!) resource from the good folks at WELCOA: The organization’s president, Dr. David Hunnicutt, recently sat down with Bill Sims, a leading authority on the successful development and use of wellness incentives, to talk about what works best when it comes to developing and implementing incentive-based wellness campaigns for workers.

The interview covers everything from which types of incentive programs work best and the right length for offerings to what to do about employees who try to scam the system. Some of the highlights:

The question I have for you, Bill, is this. When you’re using incentives, are there a lot of people who will try to game the system?
Yeah, I think you’re going to have that in any system— it’s a fact of life that you’re going to have people who try to beat the system, and I think you just have to accept that. It’s like the story of the guy who got his pedometer and he won the walking contest, and during that period of time he gained 20 pounds. When they handed him the award, one of his buddies kind of ratted him out. He said, really, Joe just tied his pedometer to his hunting dogs.
So does it happen?
Of course, it happens. My advice is to put small rules into place and to keep moving. The number of people who try to game the system will be relatively small in the grand scheme of things.
What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a worksite wellness practitioner about incentives?
It would be this: use a combination of strategies. Pilot several solutions. Don’t be afraid to do something different. If you’re getting 50 percent participation and you’re spending $450 a person a year to get there, the only way to go is up. So I think test and try various solutions to see what’s right for your workforce.

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