If your idea of a well-run, effective wellness program requires big bucks to fund enticing incentives to participate in screenings and appraisals, you’re behind the times. The future of successful wellness programs relies on non-clinical, creative, and fun ideas, and human interaction.
For years – ok, decades – many wellness programs have used extrinsic rewards to encourage individuals to participate. Does it work? Only to a point. In his book, “DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel H. Pink noted, “…many people work only to the point that triggers the reward – and no further. So if students get a prize for reading three books, many won’t pick up a fourth.”
Apply this observation to wellness programs. If you throw $100 at people to take biometric screenings or fill out health risk appraisals, they may do it, but what does that really accomplish?
When it comes to wellness, health promoters should want individuals to reach the highest level of health possible. Do you continue to “pay” individuals beyond screening and appraisals to make the changes they need to make? Most wellness programs (ok, all, really) don’t have enough money to do that. Fortunately, there is a better way – a lasting way. It comes down to helping participants trigger their internal motivation.
How can wellness professional help individuals find their internal motivation? It’s pretty basic, actually. You just need to understand human behavior and work with it.
- Wellness needs to be fun, romantic, hip, sexy, easy and free. The more enjoyable and easy something is, the more likely wellness program participants will want to do it.
- People need to like their jobs and feel valued. When people do, it affects their attitudes and overall health.
- Individuals are wired to be social. Getting people together is the foundation for wellbeing. Find opportunities for your wellness program participants to connect with each other through resources and events, often free, in the workplace and community.
For more on how to create a wellness program of the future, check out this presentation from The Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz, Shawn Connors, given at the Healthy Worksite Summit on October 2, 2013.