Morale Cash, gift cards and discounts on health insurance premiums are some of the rewards and incentives employers are offering in the hope that employees will embrace healthy lifestyle choices (Creating successful wellness incentives 2014). After all a healthy workforce has been shown to be more productive, with significant cost benefits from reduced levels of absenteeism and presenteeism (Carrington & McIntosh 2013). It is undeniable that if employees are a company’s best asset then caring for them should be a priority (Gallup 2014). However what behaviour are you encouraging when you are handing out incentives asks Kerri Spooner from the Sydney University of Technology; finding in her research that money and gifts will not buy commitment and will not make people work harder either, but rather it was self-esteem and commitment to values that motivated people (cited in Gardiner, Kwek & Wood 2011).
Behaviour changes require an understanding of yourself, what you are prepared and not prepared to undertake a thoughtful consideration of where you are and where you would like to be. When you choose a better lifestyle habit, you need to see it is working for you this makes you feel confident that the changes you are putting into place are worthwhile keeping you motivated. Dick Smith Australian entrepreneur comments on how important self-esteem is, having the belief that what you are doing is worthwhile. Believing financial and other incentives counterproductive to performance, especially if they were not equitable (cited in Gardiner, Kwek & Wood 2011).
The foundation for change needs to be solid, and to make it last there needs to be an understanding and then a commitment to what is best for your wellbeing, physically, mentally and emotionally. When you choose a better lifestyle habit, you need to see it is working for you this makes you feel confident that the changes you are putting into place are worth it and keeps you motivated. Your new behavioural habit should allow you to use new skills or even utilise ones you have forgotten about. Developing new habits and behaviours will allow you to replace the old ones. Without all the elements of sustainable change, you would bypass the opportunity to build psychological resources that enables the change to be lasting; allowing insight and an ability to build strategies for maintenance, should be incentive enough.