by Alex Palmer | July 30, 2018
Workers are eager for wellness awards, but employers could be doing more to meet this demand. Those were among the findings from Hawk Incentives, a Blackhawk Network business, which found that a majority of employees who are offered a wellness program choose to participate in it, but a minority of organization offer wellness awards. 

The research, based on a survey of 1,400 U.S. adults about their attitudes and preferences toward workplace award programs, found widespread popularity of wellness incentive programs, with 64 percent of employees surveyed who are currently offered wellness programs choosing to participate. With the additional 15 percent who were automatically enrolled in workplace wellness programs, that results in a 79 percent participation rate. Additionally, 83 percent of those who received a wellness award expressed satisfaction with it.

"Employee satisfaction and engagement are two important components to a company's success," said Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing, Hawk Incentives, in a statement. "Reward programs are specifically designed to encourage both, and our research uncovered a pervasive, specific desire for and interest in employer-sponsored wellness programs. This measurable demand demonstrates an opportunity for employers to incorporate wellness rewards alongside other efforts to help make employees feel valued, that their accomplishments are recognized and that their employer cares about them."

Employees ranked wellness programs as their second-most preferred, after those which recognize individual workplace accomplishments. 

But the numbers were less rosy when it came to the proportion of employers offering these wellness awards. Just 44 percent of those responding said their employers offered rewards, and only 38 percent of those that offered rewards specifically offered wellness rewards. More women than men, and more salaried employees than hourly, reported being offered wellness programs.

McEndree emphasized the value of wellness incentive programs and the need for organizations to embrace them, saying that they "have shown to benefit employers beyond morale improvement; they can help boost productivity, reduce absenteeism and lower insurance costs."