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Companies promote healthy living through incentives

Businesses are increasingly using incentives to create a culture that promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Rising healthcare costs and an aging workforce are forcing companies to consider strong measures to lower insurance expenses.

A recent study by Aon Hewitt shows that businesses are increasingly using incentives to create a culture that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Approximately 48 percent of organizations are enacting companywide initiatives designed to change the culture of the workforce and build an environment focused on health and activity. To successfully implement the change, most firms are finding they need to offer enticing rewards.

One of the main challenges businesses faced was encouraging employees to participate. According to the study, 65 percent of organizations stated that motivating staff was their primary obstacle. There are a number of options for companies available, and 61 percent of companies have selected using health and wellness incentives for participation.

“To truly impact employee behavior change, more and more organizations realize they need to closely tie rewards to outcomes and better results rather than just enrollment,”  Jim Winkler, chief innovation officer for Health & Benefits at Aon Hewitt, told Forbes.

Building an employee incentive program allows companies to offer a wide variety of products and rewards that can motivate employees to join. A comprehensive initiative will help firms create a corporate environment focused on promoting healthy activity. Workers that lose weight or stop smoking could be entitled to merchandise or promotional offerings.

The benefits for businesses are clear. Not only do programs lower their overall healthcare costs, but they gain a more productive workforce as well. Healthy employees are less likely to call in sick, and the rewards encourage the workers to create a culture dedicated to wellness, which can improve morale. Selective targeting of risky behavior and creating incentive programs could save companies thousands of dollars each year.

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