Wellness Incentives to Match the Action

Wellness Incentives: Matching the Action

Do your well-being incentives reinforce the well-being activity? While cash or a gift card to a favorite retailer might be appreciated, employers often miss the opportunity to further promote healthy activity by using well-themed incentives.

In a previous post, Wellness Incentives: Everyone Doesn’t Have to Get a Trophy,  we shared how a raffle-style big reward is often a better incentive than a sure-thing inexpensive reward. Here, we will discover how you can further enhance the impact of the well-being initiative by creatively linking the incentive to the well-being activity you are promoting.

Four Who Got It

  • A manufacturing employer desired to increase the number of employees who get their annual vision exam. To help promote the vision campaign they gave away a desirable prize. They drew a name of an employee from among those who got their vision exam by the specified date. The reward? A hefty gift card for Oakley sunglasses. It was a perfect incentive, reinforcing eye care.
  • A law firm held a walking challenge where the winners not only received gift cards to a specialty running shoe store, but also reflective vests and a lighted dog collar for walks in the dark.
  • During a monthly campaign to get outdoors, one engineering firm invited its employees to participate in a survey. All those who participated were eligible for a drawing for a grand prize—their choice of a round of golf for four or an annual pass to state parks.
  • Knowing how community involvement and volunteering can bolster one’s wellbeing, a healthcare company committed to giving three sizeable donations to “the charity of your choice” to three employees, selected from among those who completed six hours of volunteer work during the designated period.

Need Ideas?

Campaign Matching Incentives
Vision Exam Expensive sunglasses, binoculars, telescope (Or have a little fun with a big bottle of carrot juice)
Walking A gift card to a specialty running store, lighted dog collar, reflective vest
Get Outdoors Round of golf, parking passes to national, state, or local parks, nice water bottles, REI co-op membership, backpack
Dental Care Electric toothbrush
Dermatology Sunscreen, beach umbrella, Panama or Tilley hat
Financial Well-being CD, Money Matters, student loan repayment, $$ in HSA
Ergonomics Travel pillow, home office chair, stand-up desk, massager
Gratitude Personalized note cards, gratitude journal,
Heart Health Apple Watch (to track heart rate); At-home blood pressure monitor
Hydration High-quality, name-brand water bottles, water filtration device, 5-gallon Primo Water starter kit
Mental Health/Stress Aromatherapy diffuser, spa-day, massage membership, tickets for a family fun outing
Nutrition Provide a personal chef for a meal, cooking classes, and gift card to a healthy restaurant or grocery store
Get Moving Earbuds, a gift card to a high-end active clothing store, a round of golf, a golf lesson, high-end gym bag (Ogio)
Sleep Weighted blanket, Hatch Restore Sound Machine, nice sleep mask
Volunteering Loaded backpack with items to take when volunteering, PTO, contribution to charity “of your choice”
Weight Loss Digital scale with an app, jump rope, membership in weight loss program

Be Mindful

Instead of taking the typical route of mindlessly offering a cash prize or gift card, we can creatively and thoughtfully offer rewards that incentivize and reinforce the well-being activity we are encouraging. So, let’s put our creative hats on and make the next incentive a match!


Jack Bruce serves as the Director of Population Health and Wellbeing at The Benefit Company in Atlanta, Georgia, where he supports the employee benefits consultants and client teams in developing health promotion, disease management, and wellbeing strategies.


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