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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Health Rewards

Health rewards programs are initiatives implemented by organizations, such as healthcare providers, employers, insurers, or wellness companies, to incentivize individuals to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. 

These programs aim to improve overall health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs by motivating participants to engage in activities that promote wellness and prevent chronic diseases.

What are health rewards?

Health rewards typically refer to incentives or benefits offered to individuals as a form of encouragement or motivation to engage in healthy behaviors or activities. These rewards can take various forms, including financial incentives, discounts on health-related products or services, access to wellness programs, or recognition for achieving health-related goals.

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When is the ideal time to introduce health rewards in a wellness program?

The ideal time to introduce health rewards in a wellness program are: 

  • At the program launch: Introducing health rewards at the launch of a wellness program can generate excitement and enthusiasm among employees. Offering incentives from the beginning encourages early participation and sets a positive tone for the program.
  • During open enrollment periods: If the wellness program is part of the organization's benefits package, introducing health rewards during open enrollment periods allows employees to sign up for the program and learn about the available incentives alongside other benefit options.
  • At the start of a new year or quarter: Introducing health rewards at the beginning of a new year or fiscal quarter aligns with the common practice of setting new goals and resolutions. It provides employees with a fresh start and motivates them to prioritize their health and well-being.
  • After assessing employee needs: Before introducing health rewards, it's essential to assess employee needs and preferences to ensure that the incentives offered are relevant and meaningful. Conducting surveys, focus groups, or health risk assessments can help gather insights into employees' health priorities and interests.
  • Aligned with key health initiatives: If the organization has specific health initiatives or challenges planned, such as a weight loss program, smoking cessation campaign, or mental health awareness month, introducing health rewards in conjunction with these initiatives can enhance participation and engagement.
  • Regularly scheduled wellness events: Introducing health rewards in conjunction with regularly scheduled wellness events, such as health fairs, lunch-and-learns, or fitness classes, provides opportunities to promote the program and incentivize participation.
  • Throughout the year: Health rewards programs should be ongoing rather than one-time initiatives. Introducing rewards throughout the year, with opportunities for employees to earn incentives continuously, helps sustain engagement and motivation over time.
  • In response to feedback: If employees have expressed interest in incentives or rewards for participating in wellness activities, introducing health rewards in response to their feedback demonstrates that the organization values their input and is committed to meeting their needs.

What are some examples of health reward programs?

The examples of health reward programs are: 

  • Gym memberships discounts: Employers or insurance companies may offer discounted or subsidized gym memberships to encourage regular exercise and physical activity.
  • Cash incentives: Individuals may receive cash rewards or bonuses for participating in wellness programs, achieving specific health goals (such as weight loss or smoking cessation), or completing health assessments.
  • Health insurance premium discounts: Some health insurance plans offer premium discounts or lower deductibles for individuals who participate in wellness activities or meet certain health criteria.
  • Points-based rewards: Health rewards programs may use a points-based system where participants earn points for engaging in healthy behaviors (such as attending health screenings, exercising regularly, or eating nutritious meals) and can redeem those points for rewards like gift cards, merchandise, or travel vouchers.
  • Health-tracking devices: Some employers or insurance providers provide health-tracking devices (such as fitness trackers or smart scales) to encourage individuals to monitor their health metrics and make positive lifestyle changes.
  • Educational resources: Access to educational resources, workshops, or seminars on topics such as nutrition, stress management, and disease prevention can also be considered health rewards.

How do health rewards promote wellness?

The ways in which health rewards promote wellness are:

  • Behavioral change: Health rewards provide tangible incentives for individuals to adopt healthier behaviors such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, stress management, and preventive healthcare. By offering rewards, people are more motivated to make positive lifestyle changes that contribute to overall wellness.
  • Increased engagement: Health rewards programs increase engagement by making wellness activities more appealing and rewarding. When individuals are incentivized to participate in wellness programs, they are more likely to actively engage in activities that promote their health.
  • Accountability: Many health rewards programs require participants to track their progress towards wellness goals. This accountability encourages individuals to stay committed to their health objectives, whether it's losing weight, quitting smoking, or managing chronic conditions.
  • Positive reinforcement: Rewards serve as positive reinforcement for achieving health-related milestones or making progress towards wellness goals. This positive feedback encourages individuals to continue their efforts and reinforces the connection between healthy behaviors and positive outcomes.
  • Long-term behavior change: By offering ongoing rewards and incentives, health rewards programs support long-term behavior change. Instead of focusing solely on short-term results, individuals are encouraged to adopt sustainable lifestyle habits that promote lifelong wellness.
  • Health education: Many health rewards programs include educational components that provide participants with valuable information and resources to support their wellness journey. By increasing knowledge and awareness about healthy living, individuals are empowered to make informed decisions about their health.
  • Cost savings: From an organizational perspective, promoting wellness through health rewards can lead to cost savings by reducing healthcare expenses associated with preventable illnesses and chronic conditions. By incentivizing employees or members to prioritize their health, organizations can potentially lower healthcare costs and improve overall productivity and well-being.

How can health rewards improve employee health and productivity?

The ways in which health rewards improve employee health and productivity are: 

1. Increased participation in wellness programs:

Health rewards incentivize employees to participate in wellness programs offered by their employers, such as fitness challenges, smoking cessation programs, stress management workshops, and health screenings. When employees actively engage in these programs, they are more likely to adopt healthier behaviors and habits that contribute to improved overall health.

2. Motivation for healthy behaviors:

Offering rewards for achieving health-related goals, such as reaching a certain level of physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, or participating in preventive healthcare screenings, motivates employees to prioritize their health. This motivation can lead to positive lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of chronic diseases and improve overall well-being.

3. Reduced absenteeism:

By promoting employee health and wellness, health rewards programs can help reduce absenteeism due to illness or health-related issues. When employees are healthier, they are less likely to miss work due to sickness, resulting in improved attendance and productivity.

4. Enhanced employee engagement: 

Health rewards programs increase employee engagement by providing opportunities for individuals to actively participate in activities that support their health and well-being. Engaged employees are more committed to their work, more productive, and more likely to contribute positively to the overall success of the organization.

5. Improved morale and job satisfaction: 

Employees value employers who demonstrate a genuine concern for their well-being. Health rewards programs signal to employees that their health is important to the organization, leading to higher morale and job satisfaction. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be motivated, productive, and loyal to their employer.

6. Better stress management:

Many health rewards programs include components aimed at helping employees manage stress effectively, such as mindfulness sessions, relaxation techniques, or access to mental health resources. By reducing stress levels among employees, these programs can improve mental health, enhance coping skills, and ultimately boost productivity.

7. Cost savings for employers: 

Investing in employee health and wellness through health rewards programs can lead to significant cost savings for employers in the long run. By preventing or managing chronic diseases, reducing healthcare costs, and increasing productivity, employers can realize a positive return on investment from their wellness initiatives.

How do health rewards impact overall employee satisfaction? 

The ways health rewards impact overall employee satisfaction are 

1. Recognition and appreciation:

Health rewards programs show employees that their health and well-being are valued by the organization. When employees receive recognition and rewards for participating in wellness activities or achieving health-related goals, they feel appreciated and respected, leading to higher levels of satisfaction.

2. Improved work-life balance: 

By promoting health and wellness, health rewards programs encourage employees to prioritize their physical and mental well-being outside of work hours. This emphasis on work-life balance can lead to reduced stress, better overall health, and greater satisfaction with both work and personal life.

3. Enhanced morale and engagement: 

Employees who feel supported in their efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle are more likely to be engaged and motivated at work. Health rewards programs contribute to a positive work environment where employees feel valued, respected, and motivated to perform their best, resulting in higher levels of satisfaction.

4. Opportunities for personal growth: 

Health rewards programs often include educational components that provide employees with valuable information and resources to support their health and wellness goals. By offering opportunities for personal growth and development in areas such as nutrition, fitness, stress management, and disease prevention, these programs can enhance employee satisfaction and well-being.

5. Reduced healthcare costs:

Employees appreciate benefits that help them save money on healthcare expenses. Health rewards programs that offer incentives such as discounted gym memberships, subsidized wellness activities, or lower health insurance premiums can help employees manage their healthcare costs more effectively, leading to greater satisfaction with their overall compensation package.

6. Sense of community and support: 

Participating in health rewards programs can foster a sense of community and support among employees who share common wellness goals. By providing opportunities for social interaction, teamwork, and mutual encouragement, these programs can strengthen relationships among coworkers and contribute to a positive workplace culture, thereby increasing employee satisfaction.

7. Positive impact on physical and mental health: 

Ultimately, health rewards programs can have a direct impact on employees' physical and mental health, leading to improved overall well-being and satisfaction. When employees feel healthier, more energized, and less stressed, they are likely to be more satisfied with their job and their life in general.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

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