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Energizing Employees Toward Health and Wellness

Posted, by Deborah Merkin
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New research released from Fidelity Investments shows employers across the country are doubling spending on health and wellness programs. The study shows that corporate employers are planning to spend an average of $521 per employee on health and wellness programs in 2013, up from just $260 4 years ago. The increased cost is indicative of the success of health and wellness programs in controlling overall organizational healthcare costs. Over the past several years organization health care cost has been rising at a phenomenal rate, that is prohibitive to some employers. Since the largest percentage of the cost comes from preventable conditions caused by employees bad habits such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol,  employers are looking to promote a healthy lifestyle among their workforce to bring overall cost down. Here are a few easy strategies for energizing your workforce around an organization-wide health and wellness strategy.

Incentivize Health and Wellness: Employees are motivated by incentives. Offering modest rewards for reaching health and wellness goals, whether it be losing the extra 10 pounds, quitting smoking, or reaching a healthy cholesterol or blood pressure range. Health and wellness incentives are proven to work, and can range from extra paid time off, to a travel voucher, or even a gift card to a health and wellness retailer such as GNC or Nutrisystem. Giving gift cards to promote employee healthy lifestyle is key because the incentive also shows that the organization and health care provider are supportive of the employee's lifestyle changes.

Think Small, Gain Big: Setting small, attainable health and wellness goals for employees are the key to success. If an employee sets out to lose 50 or 100 pounds to improve overall health, the goal is long term and can take a significant amount of time to achieve. However, if an employee sets out to lose the first 10 pounds as a goal, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and are more motivated to get there because it seems less daunting. Setting multiple smaller goals for employees throughout the life of a health and wellness program will keep employees engaged in a healthy lifestyle and will have greater longevity to ultimately help the organization maintain lower healthcare costs.

Add Interactivity to Boost Engagement: Adding an experiential website or application where employees can track progress, or even compete against one another to see who can reach certain health and wellness goals is a great way to boost and maintain engagement over an extended period for any size employee group. Tracking progress and competing to reach goals either individually or in teams helps employees stay active and engaged in their health and wellness journey. The more involved they are in the process, the more progress they will see, and the lower the healthcare costs are for their employers.

For more information on engaging employees in health and wellness programs to control your organizations healthcare administration costs check out this article from CNBC.

Topics: Workplace Health & Wellness, General Gift Card, Employee Incentives & Rewards

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