Many many employees will head out over the next few months for some well-deserved R&R with their families.
Did you know that one of the periods of lowest engagement at work is after a return from time off? So if you subscribe to the belief that low engagement equals low performance, you’ll understand the importance of keeping your employees excited and sustaining the belief that they are valued and appreciated.
And remember, losing an employee that you’ve spent time to hire, train, and onboard is significant. The cost of replacing an employee who leaves is at least 30% of that employee’s annual salary. To put that in perspective, with a $150M annual payroll, just a 20% turnover would cost that company $9M a year!
Employees leave most often due to a LACK OF APPRECIATION AND PRAISE – not money! A lack of something as simple as an unexpected “you did a great job” – or “we couldn’t have done it without you.”
So jump on the summer bandwagon and foster a CULTURE OF RECOGNITION. We make it easy to say thanks – Award of Choice offers each recipient his/her choice of over 500 gift card brands with no fees, no expiration, no minimums, and no contracts.
When considering an incentive effort to drive employee wellness, one of the first decisions to make is how much to spend on each employee. There has never been any definitive analytical proof that will show you how much it will take to motivate someone to change behavior, or for that matter what award will induce the most excitement. For years the incentive industry has provided guidelines to help you decide: example: X% of the salary for the program period, but there has never been any empirical evidence to support these rules. The chart below will give you a good idea of what type of budget companies are using today.
A number of factors go into motivating behavior change. And while one is the award itself, it is by no means the only one. If you think by simply offering some type $50-$100 fitness device you are going to motivate an employee to change years of poor lifestyle choices then think again, it probably won’t. But in combination with the other pieces of the wellness program (not the least of which is well designed communications) a choice of awards can be effective.
Following is a chart published in Incentive magazine comparing Safhow much budget companies invest, on average, per employees for their wellness programs.
|$50 to $99||18.2%||26.3%||+7.8%|
|$100 to $199||10.2%||15.0%||+4.8%|
|$200 to $499||11.8%||5.1%||-6.7%|
|$500 to 999||11.2%||3.3%||-7.9%|
|$1000 and more||5.9%||9.5%||+161%|
Almost 70% of companies researched use individual awards under $100. When considering awards, don’t automatically use one in the fitness related field, not everyone wants one. They may be good for introductory or communication reasons, but if you want to get the most motivation appeal out of your award budget, don’t give them what you want them to have or what you think they want. Let them choose what they want for themselves. When they can choose their own award they will make your objectives their own.
According to Incentive magazines “Safety and Wellness IQ,” almost 50% of companies today have some sort of employee wellness program in place. The biggest difference today is that most CEOs while eager to invest in wellness efforts, are demanding a better return on these investments. Healthcare costs and healthcare insurance are high, too high, and companies are looking for everything they can do to reduce them. With an aging workforce these numbers may only get higher.
A study conducted by the Global Wellness Institute, “2016 Future of Wellness at Work”, states the economic enormity of worker health is approaching 10-15% of global economic output. Some economist’s estimate this can amount to over $2 trillion each year. According to the research company Gallup, the cost to U.S. employers is $153 billion a year just counting workdays missed. Whether these global estimations are pertinent to your company or not, unhealthy workers have been a persistently growing problem.
Wellness efforts of the past amounted to websites with articles about exercise and nutrition with links to other resources; and wellness coaches and or company nurses who did health risk assessments (HRA). This communication effort often left it up to the worker to motivate them to “get healthy”. Today, doing an HRA is just the starting point, the admission ticket to the program. From a push using incentives to get employees involved by taking the HRA, today the effort is on participating, doing something to improve your health. Programs goals have changed from getting employees to join to improving health and fitness and thus reducing costs.
Another change in programs is not just focusing on people who are unhealthy, but getting to the rest of the employee base to ensure they don’t fall into chronic health conditions in the future. Today it’s about what your programs stress, what you want your employees to do. Incentives “2016 Safety & Wellness IQ” survey showed the top activities a program encourages are:
|Activity||Included in Programs|
|Physical fitness (walking, running, cycling, swimming, ets.||68.5%|
|Regular Medical Checkups||64.4%|
|Monitoring Health Issues (hypertension, diabetes, etc.)||49.3%|
|Gym, Fitness Classes||41.1%|
As all of these goals have specific and easy to obtain measurement are participative and outcomes based, awards can be easily used to achieve thems. By using a wellness portal with video to provide advice and material on all of these objectives, you can appeal to your entire workforce, especially millennials. Challeng goals and team objectives can also add to the interest because you can have groups supporting each other.
What Awards to Use
Incentives “Safety & Wellness IQ” survey, the top rewards in wellness programs are:
|Award Type||Included in Program|
|Retail & Bank Gift Cards||58.9%|
|Insurance Premium Reduction||25.5%|
|Experiential Awards (Spa treatments, etc.)||7.4%|
It’s no surprise that gift cards are the number one award group as the vast majority of individual budgets for these types of achievable objectives are less $50 to $100 ea. And gift cards are by far the best value in that denomination of award especially considering the high margins on merchandise that tends to deflate the value and group or individual travel awards that are quite expensive.
Communications and Technology Are Key
Communicating the range and complexity of health services can present a challenge. Individual motivation or apathy, sensitive health issues, and the cultural, geographic and demographic differences in your organization can all pose problems that need to be addressed when deciding on the communication strategy. Intranet portals, email campaigns, mobile devices, well thought out promotional items and the use of a host of Technology apps that speak to fitness can all help to make your program a success.
Activity trackers and wearable devises such as FitBit and smart watches are simple ways for employees to measure performance against goals. The American Council on Exercise reports that “people are 30 to 40 percent more likely to be active just by wearing a fitness tracker.” By using gift cards redeemable for Amazon and other online suppliers you can help offset the cost of activity trackers that can be expensive. Two top apps that unlock this ability for iPhones and Android devices are Argus and Pacer, both free, as are a host of others..
Safety programs for years have used triggers to motivate intended behaviors to avoid accidents. Wearables are a great trigger. The device on your wrist, the blinking light and vibration are physical reminders to change your behavior.
When you add financial planning, life style education, stress management and life-stage management to the equation, you move into the future from the wellness of the past to the entire well-being of the employee in the future. With a wellness program designed to change every day habits and reinforce improvement, these holistic well-being programs can help improve business outcomes like productivity and employee engagement, essentially the health of the business.
Companies that have seen measurable success know that these wellness programs take time to show results. They are long term objectives with very positive long term consequences.
There is abundant evidence to support the return on investment evident in the wellness programs of today. A quick search of the net will provide many. How is your wellness effort going?
If you are considering a Wellness program or looking for an award system that will enhance and strengthen the one you already have, you may want to consider taking a look at the Award of Choice, www.awardofchoice.com. It allows your employees to choose virtually any gift card they want.
If you want to motivate or recognize the performance of millennials, give them a choice of gift cards.
Recent research conducted by NPD Group and the Wharton School finds that gift cards are particularly popular with the younger generation. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that this group is “wired”, they grew up online, are connected always through various devices, and when they shop they prefer to use gift cards, and specifically electronic gift cards.
While various groups can agree or disagree on traditional vs electronic gift cards, in general, most of the younger age groups, and even many Boomers, prefer general purpose bank cards vs specific store cards because they can be used almost anywhere. Unfortunately, from the perspective of a buyer of employee recognition programs, these bank cards can charge purchase fees from $3.95 to $6.95 per card. And, as the vast majority of gift cards used in recognition programs are valued at $25, these fees can amount to an additional 15% to 30% added to your budget.
When faced with this choice, buyers often consider using one of several gift card solutions that are available in the incentive industry. These solutions allow them to award one card or certificate that can then be redeemed for large array of popular gift cards. Many of these solutions also contain a fee per card, but there is one that doesn’t…the Award of Choice.
Many people in the incentive industry will say that cash as an award doesn’t motivate as well as non-cash. Frankly to say that cash doesn’t motivate is disingenuous. It is innately tied to our perceptions of reward as a universal motivator in this country. It is easy to use, easy to distribute, and fulfills many of the needs that people have. In difficult economic times it can certainly be very motivating.
However, there are two sides to using cash as a motivator, and to understand when to use cash and when to use alternative awards requires an understanding of both sides.
Over the years we have spent a great deal of time researching cash and non cash as an employee award and have come up with at least eight reasons why non cash may be a better choice when attempting to motivate and award employees.
For a systematic review of the features and benefits of cash and non cash please see Is Cash a Good Incentive Award?