Reward Type and Performance: An Examination of Organizational Wellness Programs
39 Pages Posted: 5 May 2016 Last revised: 5 Nov 2018
Date Written: November 5, 2018
We examine organizational control in the context of wellness programs—organizational initiatives designed to improve the physical and mental health of employees. In a field study setting, we examine the associations of three different types of incentives (cash, gift cards, and tangible rewards) with wellness program performance. We find that employees who successfully complete program challenges are associated with greater weight loss. We also find participants choosing gift cards are associated with the greatest program success, even though cash rewards are selected more than twice as often as gift cards. Tangible rewards are the least frequently selected reward and are associated with lower performance than gift cards but relatively similar performance to cash. These results support theories of individual choice and motivation, and suggest that employees’ incentive choices are not necessarily aligned with the strongest motivational power.
Keywords: Wellness Programs, Incentives, Gift Cards, Cash Incentives, Tangible Rewards
JEL Classification: M4, M40, M41, M52, J32, J33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation