Incentive Industry Spotlight: Wellness Incentive Programs

Wellness Programs are starting to gain more attention in the workplace as empirical evidence outlining their value becomes available. Companies worldwide are searching for ways to reduce the effects and associated costs that the current epidemic of lifestyle-related diseases are having on the workplace. A Forbes article states that “poor health costs the U.S. economy more than a half a trillion dollars a year” in absenteeism due to illness and the cost of payments for disability and workers’ compensation.

One way to combat these startling figures is to introduce a Wellness Program into the workplace. These programs are designed to reduce medical and insurance costs by encouraging employees to take precautionary actions to reduce risk factors associated with certain chronic diseases and unhealthy behaviors.

An article released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “employers benefit from workplace health programs through increased employee attendance, enhanced productivity and lower insurance costs”.

A Wellness Program should be viewed as a form of preventative maintenance. These programs, when designed with the employers’ population data in mind, can help save employers money on direct medical costs, workers’ compensation and disability costs as well as reducing replacement and recruitment costs associated with absenteeism due to injury or illness.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/businesscase/benefits/

A 2013 RAND Health Employer Survey gave the following list as common Wellness Program elements:

  • Screening activities such as blood pressure measurement
  • Preventative interventions such as lifestyle and disease management
  • Healthy Living promotions such as gym membership and healthy food options
  • Structural  and contextual changes to the workplace including perks for taking the stairs and changes to corporate policies and culture

A critical piece of a successful Wellness Programs is a high participation rate. RAND Health found that participation in voluntary screening and management initiatives may remain low for companies who have implemented these programs on their own.

Companies find that employees are either reluctant to participate or participation rates drop off after the initial implementation of these programs.

One way to solve both of these problems is to introduce a Wellness Incentive Platform to support the pieces of your Wellness Program. These incentive programs encourage and reward employees who take part in the initiatives and show that the company values healthy and happy employees.

Incentives should be tailored to the specific workplace so that the wellness incentive program is sustainable and has lasting effects. For the following companies, small investments into incentives for individuals harnessed striking results:

  • National Business Coalition on Health found that Caterpillar Inc. was able to garner a 90% participation rate by offering a reduction in health premiums of $75 a month for employees who completed a health-risk assessment.
  • Houston City set a $25 monthly payroll surcharge for employees who did not complete three health related tasks per month. They found that introducing this penalty resulted in 90% of employees completing three or more of these tasks.
  • Florida Blue was able to achieve an 18% increase in employees with two health-risk factors or less by offer rewards for $10 up to $500 for completing different health related activities.

Experts find that just a $100 investment in incentives per employee per month can increase the participation rate to 75% or higher.

 

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Health Screening and Disparities Press Conference” by Maryland GovPics  is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Battle to Attract and Retain Top Talent is Intensifying

Job market conditions are improving and there have been encouraging gains in hiring rates, job fill rates and salaries. From the standpoint of the prospective job seeker, this is great news. According to a study published last month by talent acquisition and recruitment agency 24 Seven, a whopping 66% of those surveyed felt that they were in demand in the marketplace. Individuals who feel this way are more likely to seek employment elsewhere and negotiate higher salaries from their current employer (72% had received an increase in compensation in 2014). A career move is anticipated in the next year by 70% of respondents, with salary being the top reason for the decision (45% were unhappy with their current salary). With 81% of executives reporting steady or increasing hiring rates, those seeking new career options are in the market at a prime time.

On the flip side, a job market that so heavily favors employees poses a challenge to employers and their companies. Top talent is more difficult to attract during this time in the economy. Alarmingly, only 30% felt that their company invested a sufficient amount of resources into talent acquisition. An astounding 85% of executives felt that the pressure to attract talent was increasing due to the fact that the appropriate talent is paramount to their company’s success. Sales, Design and Creative, Marketing, Product Development, Management and Digital were all cited as the most difficult to recruit according to executives.

Attracting talent is only the beginning however. Retraining and engaging these individuals should be the main focus to sustain long-term success. An employee who is happy and content with their job is a nice start, but an engaged employee is much more valuable. Employee engagement was a new metric in the 2014 edition of this report and refers to the degree to which employees are likely to be inspired to go above and beyond the expectations of the job.

24 Seven’s study found that increasing employee engagement has a direct positive impact on employee loyalty, job satisfaction, career outlook perception, likelihood to promote/refer company, and team/manager connection – all impactors on an employee’s likelihood to seek other employment.“

Engaged employees also tend to be more efficient, productive, innovative and willing to take on new responsibilities. These individuals are deeply invested in the company’s success.

Unfortunately, only 47% of employees surveyed said they would categorize themselves as “engaged”.

So, the next question you might ask is: “How do I engage my employees?”

There is no simple, short answer to this burning question. Engaging an employee is not as easy as offering them a great salary and cushy benefits. A deep connection between the company and employee must be formed.

A clearly defined employer brand was found to be a strong determinant of employee engagement. Credible, relevant, honest and distinctive are characteristics often used to describe the identity of companies with a strong employer brand.

After medical insurance, a “time perk” was the second most valued benefit by employees and something to consider when improving employee engagement. This includes: flex time, telecommuting, comp days and summer hours. Over half (60%) of talented workers stated that their companies offered some of these benefits. Executives also listed flexible schedules, better growth opportunities and clearly defined career paths as top ways to lure talent.

Showing appreciation for the efforts of your employees more frequently is another way to improve engagement.  By offering employee incentives such as incentive travel, merchandise or reward cards you are thanking your employees for their hard work and continuous efforts.

Meetings and conferences that align employees with the goals of the company are excellent ways to help inspire them to strive for greatness. These events can provide a perfect forum to communicate vision, welcome new ideas, foster creativity and build excitement.

Do you feel that there are improvements that could be made in the ways in which your company attracts talent?

What is your strategy for increasing employee engagement and retaining employees once you attract them?

Please share your thoughts below or send me an email at khewkin@jnrcorp.com to discuss.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

*All figures and statistics are courtesy of the following study conducted by 24 Seven

A Look at Prepaid Cards in Incentive, Rewards, and Recognition Programs

There are few rewards as satisfying as being able to pull out your wallet to simply slide out a prepaid reward or incentive card that is a branded, physical representation of your hard work.  In recent years, prepaid debit cards have skyrocketed onto the scene to become the most popular tool of choice by various firms to help motivate, engage and reward both employees and customers alike. The popularity of prepaid cards is evident through 75% of businesses believing that prepaid gift cards are among the most effective rewards, especially in driving loyalty and commitment as surveyed by the Incentive Research Foundation.  The majority of incentive planners also promote prepaid cards as a more meaningful, personal and impactful enticement than cash.

Incentive planners and business executives are not the only ones encouraging the use of prepaid debit cards; recipients are voicing their appreciation for these convenient compensations as well. In a study done by the Incentive Research Foundation, 44% of survey respondents proclaimed that prepaid cards are their favorite type of gift or reward. So much so, that when offered a prepaid card or equivalent cash, five times as many respondents chose the prepaid card over other alternatives. This data speaks volumes about the optimistic future of the prepaid debit card industry as it becomes the most notable way of simultaneously increasing both the potential incentives for employees and overall productivity for a firm.

So what’s the draw to these tiny pieces of extraordinary plastic?

There are numerous benefits associated with issuing prepaid cards, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Prepaid cards are being used as incentives across the spectrum as they can be accepted at any retailer where credit cards are taken.
  • Prepaid debit cards, unlike cash, can be used online, a more suitable feature in today’s technological age.
  • Prepaid cards have the ability to be reloaded, providing ease for the cardholder to continuously add funds to their favorite card.

Prepaid cards are being used as incentives on various levels, from spot rewards to holiday bonuses and for merchandise, dining, travel and entertainment. This slew of opportunities connected to each prepaid card has made the business a $46 billion industry in the United States as stated by the Incentive Federation. Furthermore, prepaid cards are now the most frequently used reward in corporate incentive programs, with over 75% of organizations utilizing prepaid debit cards as rewards according to Incentive Magazine’s Gift Card IQ Survey.

Businesses that are able to capitalize on the opportunity to enter into prepaid debit cards will have a positive position looking ahead, as it is widely believed that these cards drive a much higher return on investment than any other type of incentive rewards, such as cash. The flexibility and ease of distributing each card, as well as the ability to customize each as a personalized reward creates a mutually beneficial relationship while also establishing an emotional connection with an employee or customer. The facts speak for themselves, and the secret is out: prepaid cards are now on the map and are here to stay.

For more information on JNR prepaid card programs, please visit our website.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Andy Tallon

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Interested in an All-Inclusive Trip for Two to Tahiti?

Who isn’t? Unfortunately, when incentive program budgets get cut many immediately opt for a slimmed-down communication campaign. Your fabulous trip to Tahiti becomes your best-kept secret, and you don’t see the desired behaviors or increase in performance from your participants.

Here is a simple, two-step Cliffs Notes guide to communication and incentive program success:

  1. Fund it
  2. Have a Strategy

In order to have a killer communication strategy, start with the basics:

What is your objective? Define the desired outcome for the entire incentive program, and what series of smaller objectives do you have to achieve for this goal. What elements of your communication will create program awareness, inspire performance and deliver program information?

Who is your audience? Identify your target audience and the characteristics that are relevant to this particular group. These characteristics include demographics, personality traits, attitude, values and if available, behavior to past communications.

What is the message? The success of an incentive program has direct relation to the perception of the program’s value. Expectancy theories of motivation and achievement hold that the effort exerted in pursuit of a reward is directly related to the value of the reward offered for that performance. Communicate that value by staying relevant to your audience and highlighting benefits that are important to them. Our words, tonal quality, creativity, brevity —all the thousands of symbols that we use, intentionally and unintentionally—are perceived and translated according to our audience’s perceptions, shaped by age, gender, culture, intelligence, and the experiences unique to every individual.

What are your channels? Identify which communication tools will trigger a response from your audience.  Your audience’s age, gender, education and culture have also shaped the way they learn, respond and communication to different communication channels. Do you need to integrate online and offline, personal touches, and how many times do you need to reach this audience to breakthrough?

Are you measuring? Evaluating analytics and the audience’s response to different mediums of communication and making proper adjustments is key to connecting and maximizing their engagement.

Give your incentive program a chance to thrive. Fund it, understand what your audience needs and expects, and adapt your messages accordingly to enhance the likelihood of achieving your program goals.

For further reading on communication campaigns, click here.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kelly Woolsey

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Automotive Manufacturers Can Engage Consumers with Incentives

Those involved in the automotive industry can utilize incentives to achieve a wide array of objectives. Incentives can be valuable no matter what segment you operate in and no matter who your target audience is.

In this blog, we will focus on automotive manufacturers and how they can engage their consumers by offering various cash and non-cash incentives.

Automotive manufacturers looking to increase sales of new vehicles and strengthen existing customer loyalty should look to three distinct incentive program solutions.

Purchase Incentives – Close More Vehicle Sales and Move Product Faster

As an auto manufacturer, the word “incentives” probably means cash back to the customer. Administration is typically most efficient and effective on a prepaid debit card. These cards empower the customer by giving them the freedom to spend their money as they choose.

While cash is helpful in moving inventory and adjusting price levels, non-cash incentives such as merchandise, travel incentives or gift cards are more powerful in sweetening a deal when cash is not enough. By utilizing corporate discounts based on quantity, these incentives can offer a higher perceived value to the recipient while being very low in actual cost to the company. Procuring hundreds or thousands of a particular item will allow your cost per item to come in well under the retail price the consumer would otherwise pay.

Although offering a gift may be appealing to some, it is important to offer a “cash out” option that equals the promotional value of the non-cash items to accommodate those who need the extra cash in-hand to make a down payment and ultimately close the deal.

Gift After Purchase/Customer Loyalty Incentives – Keep Customers Loyal Long-Term

Although most manufacturers feel that cash is the most effective way to sell cars in the short-term, merchandise and travel can be interesting after-purchase gift options to increase the loyalty of your customers in the long-run. Getting caught up in the pressure to sell today and ignore long-term loyalty is understandable, but not wise.

Carefully selected merchandise will allow you to target a very specific demographic of consumers based on their interests and needs. Incentive travel for your most loyal customers can deliver priceless, memorable experiences that are impossible to replicate. Automobile manufacturers that prioritize customer loyalty are already starting to understand that non-cash incentives are crucial.

The following are some rather positive statistics compiled by Incentive Performance Center about these Gift After Purchase/Customer Loyalty Incentives programs.

  • 75% of recipients told others about the gift
  • 30% of those recipients told 4 to 7 people
  • 98% would recommend the brand to others
  • 71% said the gift exceeded their expectations

Loyal customers are great brand advocates. They possess lower selling costs, increased profitability over time and tend to be more willing to pay higher prices for your product. The lifetime value of a loyal customer is truly astounding.

Test Drives – Increase Showroom Traffic and Sales Revenues

There is a direct correlation between the number of test drives taken and the number of vehicle sales. This has been tested in many studies and is widely accepted in the automotive industry. Offering non-cash incentives that directly appeal to your target market is the most effective way to ensure that your budget is being allocated to the appropriate audience.

The incentives should be attractive enough so that your focused demographic is intrigued, but carefully targeted to avoid accommodating a mass number of unqualified individuals that come in to the dealership and waste the time of the personnel with no true interest in making a purchase.

Incentives given in exchange for test drives are an essential component of efforts to effective sales strategies.

In conclusion

As an automotive manufacturer, a fundamental understanding of incentives is paramount. A failure to grasp or deliver incentives successfully simply represents a lost opportunity to achieve greater profitability. While this blog specifically discusses how automotive manufacturers target consumers, future blogs will examine how other automotive audiences can benefit from these programs.

If you’d like to explore this topic further, please read the full study compiled by Incentive Performance Center here, explore how we deliver incentive programs here or send me an email at khewkin@jnrcorp.com so that I can provide you more detailed information on any of the topics covered in this post.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.