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Are We Doing Wellness Wrong?


The use of financial incentives to promote health behavior change is all the rage in the world of corporate wellness, but what do we really know about the effectiveness of this approach? There is definitely a role for incentives. They can get employees who wouldn't otherwise participate to take action. They can be particularly effective when they help remove barriers that would otherwise prevent the recipient from getting involved. But, incentives generally work best for simple, discrete, short-term behaviors. I don't know about you, but making significant, sustainable health-behavior changes doesn't sound simple, discrete or short term to me.

Employers aren't just pushing incentives at the workforce. Employees tell us that to participate in their company's wellness offerings, they want incentives.

There is much more to be said on the topic of incentives in wellness and health promotion, including discussion about rewarding participation vs. outcomes, the role of readiness for change, what extrinsic rewards might do to intrinsic motivation and more. But for now, I'll leave you with these questions...

  • Is your organizational culture really healthy if you have to pay your employees to participate in your wellness program?

  • How do we provide wellness offerings that people actually want to use?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. David Ballard published on November 23, 2011 1:58 PM.

Joe Gerstandt Pushes the Reset Button (and probably some others) was the previous entry in this blog.

Why Do We Micromanage? is the next entry in this blog.

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