Do You Recognize Your Employees’ Progress?

The book 1501 Ways to Reward Employees (Bob Nelson, Ph.D.) was a spur-of-the-moment rental for me from my local library. After sinking just over an hour into it, and reading sixty pages or so, it hit me.

Just as employees should be recognized for their meaningful contributions at work, employees should be recognized for their meaningful progress within a workplace wellness program.

I’m not talking about a pat on the back or a “hey, have you lost weight?” every few weeks, though such comments do have a pretty nice effect on a person’s ego. Your wellness program needs recognition built into it. Meaningful recognition.

Perhaps the winner of the quarterly fat loss challenge should earn a prize. (Determine prizes based on what the employees want, not something formulaic.) Maybe you decide to christen an award for the best bodily transformation. How about the best habit transformation? Did someone quit smoking cold-turkey, completely stop eating fast food, or chronicle fitness progress every day for the past 90 days?

People like to be recognized for their hard work. It’s not all about being recognized monetarily, either. You can offer a $500 reward for anyone who meets Criteria X of your Corporate Wellness Programâ„¢, but the personal touch is completely left out. And that personal touch is what really gets people going, as Bob Nelson describes in his book.

He also includes ideas revolving around experiential rewards. Throw in some cooking classes as a prize. Throw in tickets to a sporting event – and don’t do nosebleed seats. Pay for gym memberships for a year, or a few sessions with a personal trainer.

Encourage an atmosphere of recognition for what good changes people make as part of a wellness program. Let employees vote on subjective awards or even name the awards. Make it interactive, positive, and all-inclusive.

Be open to making changes to the formula, and learn to gauge the enthusiasm of the programs. Even filet mignon gets boring if you have it every day for months, regardless of how you dress it up. Be creative. Include employees in the creation and implementation of new programs or challenges. Let them decide how best to recognize those who perform well.

What does your company do differently to recognize the increased health of your workforce?

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