Wellbeing initiatives at work can significantly contribute to employee wellbeing engagement.  But the question is how do you motivate and engage employees with wellbeing initiatives in the first place?  60% of employers cite low employee wellbeing engagement as the greatest obstacle to changing unhealthy behaviours (CIPD 2013).

The carrot – Incentives

US firms have long been offering incentives for employees who actively participate in wellbeing schemes.  61% now offer financial reward, up from 36% three years previously (CIPD 2013).

Just offering minor incentives can yield far better participation, some research indicates that offering incentives such as a water bottle or t-shirt can boost employee wellbeing attendance rates by as much as 10 – 15%.  Participation increases dramatically to nearly 40 – 50% if higher financial rewards are offered; such as subsidised gym membership or cinema tickets.  Aligning employee wellbeing initiatives with reward as well as an overarching company strategy or policy can push participation rates still further to >80%.

The US approach to incentives is yet still more progressive.  Many high performing companies in the US extend financial rewards and incentives to spouses of employees; recognising that spouses and home life are important contributors to a healthy lifestyle.

The stick – Penalties

Conversely, employers can use penalties to drive up participation numbers.  In the US there is a current trend for employers to become more aggressive with wellbeing; surcharges could be placed on healthcare premiums.

As always when applying any punitive measures to any business initiative, care must be taken to ensure aspects of Employee Equality Act are adhered to.  It is also important to ensure that a negative culture which is non-inclusive or divisional is not fostered.


The most important aspect of increasing engagement related to employee wellbeing is through effective communication and promotion.  Below are a few items that will drive up employee participation:

  • Hold health fairs, workshops and “lunch and learn” sessions on health topics
  • Entering the organisation into “health and wellbeing” competitions – show the company values the health of its employees
  • Include health and wellbeing programmes into employee training and induction schemes
  • Include health and wellbeing objectives as part of line manager briefings
  • Fully utilise all internal media to communicate interesting and relevant content for employees
  • Consider a health and wellbeing team to drive internal competitions and activities
  • Promote wellbeing champions and advocates to represent different initiatives
  • Identify the correct channels to communicate to different groups; use social media and even gaming software to support workplace well-being programmes.

The Bluecrest Wellness approach

Bluecrest Wellness has a track record of delivering high participation rates for employee wellbeing initiatives. The fundamentals of our service make it ideal for both company paid and flexible benefit schemes:

Cost – Our health assessments are half the cost of traditional providers; coupled with the tax advantages of health assessments, this makes an attractive employee benefit that won’t cost the earth.  Bluecrest recently just won a client that can now provide health screens to the entire 1,000+ workforce for the same price as their old traditional provider would charge to screen 200 executives!

Content – we provide a hugely comprehensive provision covering the three pillars of employee wellbeing; Physiological Health, Mental Health and Musculoskeletal Health

Convenience – Bluecrest Wellness can either come to your work place to deliver assessments or alternatively employees can choose from one of our 2,000 clinics nationwide.

Consultation – Bluecrest Wellness has a wealth of experience at marketing wellbeing events and can use this expertise to drive up your employee participation rates.  We work collaboratively to find the right way to get the message across to your employees.

Delivered in the right way, employee wellbeing initiatives can demonstrate significant ROI and are moving up the corporate agenda in terms of achieving competitive advantage.  Bluecrest Wellness prides itself on its ability to deliver for organisations on their wellbeing objectives.