To simply pour the juice of why improving employee engagement wellbeing is important, here's a quote from Rob Wittman:

‘Individuals will achieve healthier lifestyles when employee wellness programs are accessible and available in their workplace through their health provider and in their communities.’

Tips to improve employee engagement and wellbeing

Improving employee engagement and wellbeing is substantial to an organization's success. Here are some ideas that rarely fail in the cause.

1. Idolizing 'Health is Wealth'

Employers consider this saying very important in today's work scenario. The current work environment and the tough competition have made employees' lives stressful.

The pressure and stress are so intense that employees fail to focus on staying fit. Again healthcare cost is something that has always been rising. This is why employers have started getting into keeping their employees healthy and fit.

“A wellness engagement programs are now viewed as a platform to enhance employee engagement, increase productivity, and reduce absenteeism” - Robert Kennedy Senior Vice President, Fidelity Business Consulting.

I still remember one of my bosses encouraging employees to use the staircase instead of the lift. He would even get posters in the cafeteria that talked about the advantages of eating fruits and vegetables. However, these practices are considered old in today's modern standards.

Organizations have started to customize attractive employee wellness programs and innovative incentives to enhance the wellness engagement amongst the staff. How far will employers get into the business of keeping their employees healthy? This purely depends on what ROI the employers get from their employees and the wellness programs they have designed for them.

“No sports star or anyone successful in their career stops learning. They are at the top of their game because they are constantly learning, growing, and developing themselves” – Sheana Abrahams – Wellness Manager at getting Smarter.

In its Ninth Annual Employer-sponsored Health and Well-being Survey, The National Business Group on Health and Fidelity Investments identified new key trends for 2018. The survey states that employers will continue to invest in global wellbeing and incentive programs.

Other key findings from this survey report are:

  • 92% of the business owners consider well-being part of their overall business strategy.
  • The employee incentive prevalence too shot up from 74% to 86%.
  • 83% of the employers plan to continue or expand their wellness programs. Out of which 29% of employers plan to increase the amount for financial incentives offered to the employees in the next 3 to 5 years.

Organizations need to endure to influence and increase their employee wellness programs. This will help them to craft healthier, strong, constructive, and productive workforces.

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An average employee incentive amount increased to $784 for 2018, increasing from $742 in 2017. The amount increased by 50% from an average of $521 in 2013.

‍2. Investing in fitness

Employers believe that their investment in wellness engagement will benefit them in two ways.

  • They can manage the ever-increasing cost of health care benefits for both the employees and the organization.
  • A healthy staff will increase productivity and reduce absenteeism, thereby positively impacting the overall workforce performance.
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Another survey conducted by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health states that 90% of the employers offer wellness incentives, financial rewards, or prizes to their workforce who work towards getting themselves back in shape.

There has been a rise from 57% of companies in 2009. What does this statistic indicate? Well, the answer is simple. It indicates the noble purpose of enhancing the health of their workers.

For instance: A well-being program named Health Living has been designed for the employees at PepsiCo. This program is designed to help employees, and their families enhance their physical, emotional, and financial health.

The program has three pillars to drive the well-being of the employees:

  1. ✅ Be well: These programs are designed to help employees get healthy, get in shape, and be safe.
  2. ✅ Find balance: These programs are designed to help employees cope with stress, build resilience, and enhance their quality of financial well-being and work-life balance.
  3. ✅ Get involved: These programs are designed to help employees foster community involvement and family and social connections, which is, of course, a critical component of wellbeing.

These pillars are incorporated with the culture across various other programs. Such programs reinforce intentions like various fitness programs, flexible working arrangements, community outreach such as nursing home visits, and more.

We all know that health insurance costs have always been increasing; this is one of the reasons why employers are investing in wellness programs and focusing on increasing wellness engagements among their employees. Incentives such as E-gift cards are playing a massive role in successful participation.‌        

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A recent survey by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health reveals that the most popular wellness-based incentives continue to be reductions in premiums (61%), Cash or gift cards (55%), or employers subsidized contributions to health savings accounts or similar programs (27%).

E-gift cards are one of the best ways and can be beneficial tie-ups to the success of employee wellness programs. They can be used to increase wellness engagements. Some of the most well-known and successful wellness engagement integrates an attractive component in the form of rewards or incentives.

Rewards or incentives inspire the participants to focus on their fitness and healthy lifestyle goals. E-gift cards can be redeemed at health-oriented spots like health clubs, sporting goods, gyms, or even natural food grocers.

Almost more than half of the employers use E-gift cards to reward employees for individual wellness achievements. Gift cards offer instant gratification as compared to insurance premium deductions. Gift cards give an instant more boost than a boost to take-home wages on a regular basis.

Stay alert! Keep options open

Incentive plans are made to attract attention. Engagement should be the signature behind any employer's incentive to their employees. Imagine a situation: A company has designed an attractive wellness engagement program, but only a few employees participate in this program. Would the elected reward be an incentive? Certainly, not!

Therefore, employers' biggest challenge is to seek a one size fits all incentive. Incentives should meet the passion of the employees. It should evolve around options that satisfy their interests, needs, and lifestyles. The precondition for satisfying manifold palates makes an e-gift card an ideal incentive. It serves as an ideal option to please the toughest employees.

Why e-gift cards?

They offer a variety of options to the recipient. Family and friends can share E-gift cards. Being easily customizable administered, it fits a huge number of corporate needs. Even employees prefer to have an e gift card as an incentive.

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According to Incentive Magazine, 8 out of 10 employees prefer gift cards over other incentives. This is because these cards can be used by the employees when and where they want it to be used. E-gift cards can be used as a reward at various echelons.

Think out of the box!

Healthcare insurance costs are on the rise. Every employer's challenge is engaging their employees over the long tug to be physically fit and healthier, and more productive while saving some money for the company or the business. You could invite your employees to make healthy cooking classes as an employer. Renowned local chefs could host these classes.

This will make your employees proficient in healthy meals that would keep them and their families healthy and fit. But is this enough to bring about colossal wellness engagement?

Well, we all know that humans love to get rewards, discounts, or incentives. It's a human tendency. So, without any incentive, wellness engagement won't happen.
But having an incentive like the redemption of earned points for e-gift cards could help increase employee wellness engagement.

Thinking out of the box and developing innovative ideas can work, provided the thoughts appeal to your employees.

Tips on how to increase wellness and engagement with E-gift cards

As an employer, you would always be on a hunt on how to increase wellness engagement with E-gift cards.

Here are a few tips that you can check and try out:

  • ✅ Keep it simple: Simple and clear rules and a point-based system that is steady throughout the programs will be easy for employees to understand. Employees too can easily track their own improvements.
  • ✅ Make it interesting: Add a tinge of fun to it such as periodic challenges or competition. This will keep them engaged throughout the employee journey. Group activities such as group walk at lunch breaks let co-workers connect with each other.
  • ✅ Make it social: Provide a platform where employees can socialize to compare their scores and encourage others to participate and exchange tips as well. Co-workers get motivated to join in such a program when they see the outcomes and receive encouragement from their peers.
  • ✅ Make it measurable: You should have reporting tools in place to collect data and determine the effectiveness of such wellness programs.

Key takeaways

Increasing wellness engagement can bring amazing benefits to both employers as well as employees. A few benefits are mentioned below:

For Employers:

  • Improve employee engagement and wellbeing
  • Enhances productivity
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Brings profits to the organization
  • Boost staff morale
  • Reduces the cost of healthcare

For Employees:

  • Employees work harder and perform better.
  • They are more energetic and therefore more productive.
  • Keeps them healthy and lets them achieve their career goals as well as the company's goals.
  • Better concentration on their work and less leave requirement.

A healthy employee builds a healthy organization. Since employees' health and wellness are definitely becoming a priority for employers.

Conclusion

“A Company’s employees are its greatest asset and your people are your products.” - Richard Branson

Wellness incentives have become a beneficial business. Such incentives curb health insurance costs for employers and increase an employee's productivity. Rewards are given to enhance engagement. Make sure that your health and wellness programs are measurable.

Rewards can be given in the form of points or e-gift cards to the employees for participating in healthy activities like taking walks during breaks or joining the gym. Partner with the right source to get your employees back in shape and increase wellness engagements with e-gift cards!

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Daliah Monteiro LinkedIn

Daliah Monteiro is a freelance writer from Ahmedabad, Gujarat.