A third of UK workers believe employers should reward them for keeping healthy, according to a recent study by Willis Towers Watson. A similar proportion (34%) also responded they would only participate in an employer’s wellbeing initiative if there was a financial incentive to do so, up from 26% in 2013.
There is a general issue around engaging employees with workplace health initiatives, the survey suggests, as 70% of employees do not believe existing wellbeing programmes meet their needs. But employers appear to be responding: 33% said the strategy for encouraging healthy behaviours – for example, weight management programmes – will include direct financial incentives over the next three years, up from 12% stating this is the case currently.
Mike Blake, wellbeing lead for Willis Towers Watson, said:
‘The figures suggest that, despite employers increasing their focus on health and wellbeing, existing schemes are not appealing to employees and, as a result, many feel they need extra motivation to participate, in the shape of financial incentives.’
However, he advises caution in offering incentives, suggesting that a more fruitful approach is to ask more searching questions about the programmes and initiatives that are already in place:
‘For example, are they joined up; do they connect to employees’ wants and needs; is there a broad enough range; and are they well communicated?’