Editor's Notebook: Creative Motivation...Linking Fitness and Productivity

Editor’s Notebook: Creative Motivation…Linking Fitness and Productivity

I recently read an article in my local newspaper about an area bank that was taking major steps to provide huge incentives to its employees for getting on the fitness bandwagon and/or quitting smoking. And, it’s to the tune of cold, hard cash. While numerous companies nationwide emphasize good health, it’s uncommon that they dangle cash. So, while this deal seems too good to be true, it isn’t.

The cash incentives are based on a long-term commitment to quit smoking or keep fit. Employees who stay smoke-free for 90 days get $100. After 90 additional days, they get $200 more. After 90 more days, they get another $300. At the end of the year, they get another $400, for a total of $1,000 for the year (the rewards are net after taxes).

The fitness rewards program, on the other hand, is based initially on points, which can be converted to cash. It works like this: employees can earn points for a variety of healthy choices, including exercising at least 90 minutes a week, getting an on-site health screening, receiving a flu shot, participating in team sports and donating blood. Employees in the program are paid for hitting incremental point levels and can get up to $1,000 over the course of a year.

Beyond offering highly motivating incentives to employees, these programs also provide the employer with lots of benefits. It helps keep health insurance premiums in check, healthy individuals tend to feel good about themselves and are more likely to be productive, committed employees, and everyone gains from increased morale and a team effort to help those in the program succeed. While this type of business model is very different than yours, the underlying thread here is about valuing your employees and their contribution to your business, and implementing creative ways to boost their health and efficiency.

What type of incentives do you offer your technicians? Have you thought about the link between healthy, happy employees and job satisfaction and productivity? Consider how many more cars you could get through your bays, if your employees are fit and working at peak efficiency. Taking steps sooner than later can yield big dividends for both you and them.

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