Loss of money seems to be a better way to motivate employees for doing physical exercises daily than awarding them with money, according to a new study.
The study published in the Journal Annals of Internal Medicine
analyzed the financial incentive designs among employees that could help encourage them to participate actively in an exercise regime. The study was conducted by the senior author Dr. Kevin Volpp along with his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania.
‘Loss of already paid incentives seems to be a better motivator factor for engaging employees in wellness programs than awarding them with incentives later.’
Researchers examined 281 employees based on the target of reaching 7,000 steps a day. Smartphones were used to track their steps daily. Participants were divided into three groups, where one group was promised an incentive of $1.40 daily if they reached the target while the second group was already given the amount of incentive for a month and the third one did not receive any incentives.
The participants were followed for a period of 13 weeks. They found that participants who were promised to get an incentive after reaching the target, achieved the daily goal approximately 30 to 35 percent of the time. While those who were already given incentives, achieved the goal 45 percent of the time, amounting to an almost 50 percent increase over the control group.
The thought of losing the money has triggered the participants to complete the target with much more passion than getting a reward after completion. Also, these participants followed the exercise regimen for three months after the study period. The reason was smartphones that helped them to track their daily steps.
"Most workplace wellness programs typically offer the reward after the goal is achieved. Our findings demonstrate that the potential of losing a reward is a more powerful motivator and adds important knowledge to our understanding of how to use financial incentives to encourage employee participation in wellness programs," said senior author Kevin G. Volpp.
Reference: Kevin G. Volpp, Mitesh S. Patel et al. Framing Financial Incentives to Increase Physical Activity Among Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med