Posts Tagged ‘health and wellness incentives’

Wellness Champions Drive Peer Health and Wellness

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Did you know how much peers influence each other when it comes to health and wellness behaviors in the workplace? The numbers are staggering:

  • Employees who have family or close friends who are obese are 57% more likely to become obese
  • On the flip side employees at small companies are 34% more likely to quit smoking when their co-workers do

A new study out from StayWell Health Management revealed that using “wellness champions” in the workplace, almost like team wellness captains, drive general employee populations to healthier behavior. The peer support and good example set in the workplace changes employee behavior for the better. Creating a healthier work environment lowers insurance and healthcare costs for both employers and employees.

Empowering peer rewards can be a great way to reinforce a community of wellness. Allowing “wellness champions” to reward healthy behavior like increased exercise or decreased smoking or junk food intake creates a non-vertical reward cycle that allows peer support to grow throughout your organization. Rewards can be small, like small denomination gift cards to healthy retailers like Whole Foods Market, GNC or CVS/Pharmacy.

To learn more about wellness champions and the theory behind it head over to Employee Benefits News.










Back to Basics: What Employee Wellness Means for Your Bottom Line

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Employee wellness programs have gained immense popularity over the last few years. Wider implementation and a boost in popularity based on a component of the Affordable Care Act that incentivizes companies for implementing employee wellness initiatives. Through all of this it is easy to lose sight of what impacts wellness program have on your bottom line, so here are a few reminders:

  • Fewer absences: Healthy employees take fewer sicks days, require less doctors appointments to manage ongoing health issues and can be at work more. This provides greater continuity in their positions and mitigates costs of hiring a temp or even a longer term substitute.
  • Increased productivity: Greater continuity in your workforce leads to greater productivity. Healthy employees tend to be more focused and can get more done.
  • Increased morale: Healthier is happier. Healthy employees are happier in their positions and are more focused on achieving team goals and creating camaraderie in the workplace.

For more information on why employee wellness programs are good for your business head on over to Business2Community.

 

3 Hazards of Workplace Wellness Programs…And How to Avoid Them

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Workplace wellness programs are a great tool to motivate employees to be healthy and control health care benefit costs. However, poorly administered plans can wreak havoc on employees and employers alike. Here are three hazards that can foil your workplace wellness efforts, and how to avoid them.

  1. Bad Programs Don’t Save Money. A poorly administered program can miss the mark and cause your company not to see any return on investment. The most common occurrence of a program not saving money is when employers don’t adequately communicate the goals and benefits of the program to their employees. Communication is key. Communicate often to employees old and new.
  2. Programs can get too personal. No employee wants there employer too embedded in their personal life and decisions. Instead of mandating invasive employee tests or weigh-ins, change snack and meal options around the office. Make sure there is a salad bar and healthy snacks available to employees, rather than mandating regular medical testing.
  3. Alienating Employees. Keep it high-level and positive. Reward employees  for healthy choices and create opportunities for exercise, activity and healthy eating. Don’t get too personal and invasive. This will cause employees to be averse to participating for fear of their employer invading their personal space and time.

For more information on how to avoid common pitfalls of employee wellness programs check out this article from Forbes.

Invest in Employee Health with a Little Competition

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Everyone is buzzing about employee health and wellness initiatives. With the newly applied Affordable Care Act, rules and employees trying to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions, losing weight is on everyone’s mind. And who doesn’t like a little friendly competition among colleagues?

Rather than have a basic carrot based health and wellness rewards program in place set up a weight loss competition among colleagues. Form teams, have the teams set goals, while keeping weight numbers private and reward winners at a regular interval, whether it is a weekly winner, monthly winner or one-time overall competition winner. Make sure to offer a variety of rewards. A weekly winner might win a small denomination gift card to a health retailer like CVS/Pharmacy, GNC or Whole Foods Market, while the overall winner might win a weekend getaway or an extra day off. Competition will only drive employees to be healthier and drive down premiums for both employees and your organization.

Wellness Programs Lead to Healthier Employees, Lower Costs

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

The Affordable Care Act is here, and even though most open enrollment periods are now over for the year, there is still time to improve your employee health and lower future health care costs. Implementing health and wellness programs can both lower health care costs for employers, and place accountability on employees for their own health. Chad Koerten, who works for KI Furniture near Green Bay, WI has credited his organization with an 80 lb. weight loss over his 15 years with the company.

It is stories like Chad’s who prove that wellness program work. If healthier employees and lower costs for both employers and employees isn’t enough, using small rewards or incentives to engage employees in programs can be highly effective. Incentives like small denomination gift cards to popular retailers like Whole Foods MarketCVS/Pharmacy and GNC for entry into a wellness program or reaching a wellness goal can be highly effective.

For more information on how employee wellness programs can lower costs and raise the health of your employees check out this article from the Green Bay Press Gazette. 

 

Whole Foods, Sticking to Its Roots

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

It is great in today’s business environment to see a large national brand sticking to its roots, what made it successful. Whole Foods is doing just that with its Local Producer Loan Program. This unique loan program helps Whole Foods help small scale independent food producers grow their business and scale to sell the type of food Whole Foods needs to purchase for its consumers. These independent food producers get to grow, create more jobs and have a category leading retail partner, while Whole Foods gets to give back and help bring healthy, wholesome, natural food to the masses.

Sticking to its roots is just one example of why Whole Foods gift cards can be a great addition to an employee health and wellness incentive program. Whole Foods sets a positive business example. They make good on their promises, they serve their population to the absolute best of their abilities and promoting their brand to your employees sets a precedent for your own business. Giving employees positive examples like Whole Foods can drive them to create a similar environment of integrity, teamwork and giving back in their own workplace. Doesn’t January seem like a great time to start? Everyone is dieting anyway!

For more information on Whole Foods’ Local Producer Loan Program check out this article from FoodProductionDaily.com.

Welcome 2014! Welcome Healthy Employees?

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

We all wish for a Happy and Healthy New Year.  But, is your workplace doing all it can to promote and improve employee health and wellness?

Register to view our on-demand webcast and learn what you need to know about complying with the latest Healthcare Reform laws and regulations for 2014, when implementing incentives to your corporate health and wellness program.

Gift Card Partners, in conjunction with CVS/pharmacy and the Employer Healthcare Congress present: Wellness in the Corporate Environment and Complying with PPACA; How to Build a Successful Gift Card Incentive Program

How do you plan to improve your workplace health and wellness in 2014?

New Government Rules Push Employee Wellness

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

 

Today, the carrots and sticks of employee wellness turn into mainly just carrots, thanks to the new rules being applied to the Affordable Care Act. So what does this mean for employee wellness programs? The new rules are pushing employers to promote improvement in employee health, rather than penalizing unhealthy employees for being unhealthy. The limits to the percentage of health benefits that can be incentivized for qualifying healthy behavior are increasing from 20 to 30%.

 

This confirms the trend that carrots work better than sticks. When building your employee wellness program be sure to incorporate tiered rewards. For smaller benchmarks offering spot rewards like a gift card to Whole Foods Market, GNC or CVS/Pharmacy is a great way to encourage an employee who lost their first 5 lbs to continue their effort. For larger benchmarks, health care benefit cost incentives are more appropriate. Carrots are the way to go, and now the law supports helping your employees find health and wellness.

For more on the new components to the Affordable Care Act and how they affect your employee wellness program, check out this article from Washington Business Journal. 

Medicaid & Medicare Programs Adopt Healthy Rewards

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

As the country moves closer and closer to individual healthcare insurance requirements, Medicare and Medicaid are becoming pivotal in the American health care system. U.S. Medicaid and Medicare programs examine and implement health and wellness trends and incentives closely. Wellness incentives and healthy rewards are used in these programs to:

  • Decrease the cost of care to patients over the long
  • Encourage regular physicals and other health-related milestones to keep patients out of the emergency room
  • Encourage members to comply with health and wellness programs
  • Provide gift card incentives and rewards as motivators

GCP provides the right healthy rewards and healthy gift card incentives, to help motivate and reward members for gaining and maintaining healthy behaviors. Click here to learn more>>

Incorporate Carrots into Your Employee Wellness Program

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Incentivizing employees with “carrot” rewards in the context of a corporate wellness program is essential for employee motivation, participation and endurance of the program. However, one size fits all rewards are often not effective for all employees. Here are a few ways to customize the carrots in your employee wellness program.

Tie incentives to specific goals: Whether it is biometric goals like smoking cessation, a specific cholesterol number, or a certain amount of weight loss, tie wellness rewards to specific health and wellness goals.

Create reward tiers: Not all goals are the same size. Scale the reward to meet the goal. For smaller goals issue a small denomination gift card to healthy retailers like GNC, Whole Foods Market and CVS/Pharmacy. For bigger goals offer a gym membership or an extra afternoon off.

Keep it simple: An employee wellness program should be easy for employees to understand and simple for HR to track and administer. Keeping it simple will keep it effective.

For more information on carrot rewards in your employee wellness program check out this article from Business Management Daily.