They say you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but that’s not the route some of your peers are taking to control their healthcare costs. So which way should you go?
Fact: Most companies are trying to get employees to take greater control of their own health, reducing their health expenses (and their companies’ costs) in the process. It’s one of the few strategies that have actually helped at least contain health expenses in recent years.
How to do that is another story.
One of the most common approaches helping companies of all sizes give employees that little nudge they need? Incentives and disincentives.
But is it better to reward employees for making smart choices or penalize them for not-so-smart ones?
A new survey by Hewitt Associates let’s you know what your peers are doing. Check out the results.
If you want to play good cop …
It’s certainly the path of least resistance: When employees make a healthy choice, you reward them financially. That explains why there’s been such an uptick in financial incentives in 2010:
- 63% of companies now offer cash incentives for completing a health risk assessment (that’s almost double the 35% who did in 2009), while
- 37% will pay their people to participate in wellness and health improvement projects (a modest jump from 29% last year).
If you’re comfortable being bad cop …
Of course, at times it’s easier to get the results you want by punishing bad behavior instead of patting people on the back for good behavior. But what are most companies penalizing? Here are the three biggies:
- 64% ding folks for smoking
- 50% penalize employees for not participating in disease management and lifestyle behavior programs, and
- 45% charge a price for failing to participate in biometric screenings.
And the winner is …
So which approach is better? It all depends on your workforce.
You and other supervisors need to understand what motivates your staffers in order to find the right mix of incentives. Talk with other managers about what makes their people tick so you can determine which approach (or perhaps a combination) will get people making healthier moves.