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Innovation, Impetus and Incentives

July 2, 2013 / Corporate Wellness

GYI0050763223.jpg“Innovation needs impetus – a purpose to get you thinking about ways to have a positive impact on the world. One of the best ways to achieve this impetus is prizes. They are often a catalyst for innovation simply by giving people a tangible reason to make something new.” – Sir Richard Branson

Who doesn’t love a prize or a reward?  It’s an innate human instinct to want a reward or recognition for hard work and dedication to a cause.  This “reward” often causes a cycle of renewed energy, interest and desire to keep on going.  This is especially true when it comes to topics as personal as health and wellness.

Don’t just take our word (or Richard’s) that incentives matter.  A recent survey we conducted of 10,000 employees found that incentive-based wellness programs are a huge driver of participation and engagement.  61% of employees said that incentives are a key reason they participate in wellness programs and 78% claim they’re interested in participating in incentive-based programs while at work.

Most wellness programs have some kind of incentive structure in place. Whether it’s encouraging employees to participate in physical activity during the workday, making healthier choices at lunch or taking a minute to decompress with a stress-releasing interoffice game – people are more likely to participate if they know there’s a prize.  Sometimes that prize is just feeling good or changing a behavior that previously led them to feel “unwell.”  Simply telling them  their health insurance premium will go down isn’t enough.  They need to feel stimulated, challenged and accomplished.  Pushing themselves toward that prize at the end of the week is a personal accomplishment, motivating them to do more or go bigger the next time around.

In the workplace, feeling well or inspired leads to higher engagement levels and increased productivity across the board.  With that comes continued innovation throughout the organization.  Isn’t that what most companies strive for?  So, if it’s as simple as putting together an incentive strategy that not only causes more output but creates more mentally stimulated employees – it’s a win/win.

Our own David Coppins recently explained how incentives drive organizational behavior in an interview with Incentive Magazine.

“While intrinsic motivators and individual determination are vital, the extrinsic motivators of recognition and rewards for reaching health-related milestones can be vital for participants in the early months of a new program,” David said.

“The incentive helps you get through those typical obstacles until you actually start to see those benefits that drive the intrinsic motivations If incentives can get you over those first 90 days, then eventually your own intrinsic motivators will kick in,” he added.

What’s your incentive strategy? How are you driving your business to get the most out of your employees while keeping them engaged day-to-day?

Virgin HealthMiles is in the business of changing lives for good.   We’re also changing the wellness game.  We’re incentivized by the thousands of personal success stories we hear each year from participants in the program, so share yours with us in the comments below.

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