In their efforts to control health care costs, most businesses offer their employees wellness programs, which often use incentives to boost participation. A recent nationwide study done by benefits software and solutions provider Bswift, found that more than half of employers that had been surveyed, are overlooking crucial practices that could increase worker involvement in these programs that would help keep employees healthy, reducing costs and boosting productivity.
“High levels of participation are critical for success, but companies are falling short when it comes to outcomes based incentives that reward participants for their actions and increase engagement.” says Bswift Executive Director Brad Wolfsen. “To move the needle on wellness, assessments must be objective, progress must be measurable, and employees need to invest in their own wellness success.”
The study reports that while 85% of large companies and 81% of smaller companies offer wellness programs, only 44% have more than half of their employees using them. Although more than three in four large companies (78%) and nearly seven in ten smaller ones (69%) use incentives to spur participation, the message apparently isn’t getting through.
Bswift recommends that employers shift their focus to results-based incentives. For example, only 15% of large business offer employees “carrots” or “sticks” based on biometric thresholds, even though more than three in four (77%) have automated biometric testing in place, up from 61% last year.
“What it boils down to is that many companies are making benefits administration too difficult,” says Bswift CEO Rich Gallun. “As businesses peruse such strategies as wellness programs to control health care costs, they’ll need to make more effective use of automation to measure outcomes and encourage employee participation.
Our agency’s employee benefits specialists would be happy to review your program and offer their recommendations, free of charge.