Do Incentives Really Work?

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The answer is yes. Participation rates can increase rapidly. Depending on the incentive you offer they can go up 40% to 45%.1 For example, a moderate cash incentive of $25 to $75 may bring as much as 30% to 50% participation, while a significant cash incentive, $100 to $500, may bring as much as 70% to 80%.1 Be aware there are federal and state regulations about financial incentive limits for wellness programs.

What companies are spending.

The employer coalition National Business Group on Health, along with Fidelity Investments in its Six Annual Employer-Sponsored Health & Well-being Survey, reports that employers are spending $693 on wellness program incentives for each employee in 2015 to boost program attendance.2 Popular incentives include gift cards, lower health care premiums, cash, free screenings and exercise classes. You also could raffle off a large, high-cost item or hand out small novelty items, such as T-shirts or event tickets.

What employees are thinking. Getting more bang for your buck is important as most employees look for ways to save on health care costs. To have the greatest impact on your program or screening attendance, link your incentive to the program’s message. For example, getting key biometric preventive screenings or vaccines can earn employees extra health care dollars. How much of an incentive you provide depends on your budget and the value of the program, class or event you're asking employees to join.

Check our our webinar recording, Using Incentives to Drive Behavior Change

1 Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA) website:

2 Forbes website: Employers Boost Wellness Spending 17% From Yoga To Risk Assessments (March 2015):