The results from a recent experiment at General Electric Company caught my eye. In it, they found that workers who were paid up to $750 to quit smoking were three times more likely to stay off cigarettes than those who were left to their own devices. GE was so impressed with these results that they plan to expand the incentive program nation-wide next year. They estimate that it will help the company reduce the $50 million spent annually on extra health and other costs for smoking employees.
These results don't surprise me at all. In fact, I have been a proponent of adding lifestyle goals to incentive plans for years. Toward that end, I have included lifestyle goals as one of the measures in my on-line incentive design tool, Incentive Plan Builder.
But helping employees quit smoking is not the only way you can assist them with the achievement of personal goals. There are many other interesting approaches.
The achievement of specific personal goals that the Company wishes to encourage and promote (such as community service, quitting smoking, losing weight, saving for college, getting an MBA ,etc.)
WHEN TO USE THIS MEASURE
More and more these days, businesses are realizing that employees have lives outside of the office and what they do at home influences their work and vice versa. There is considerable talk about work-life balance, healthy lifestyles, stress management and contribution to the community. Many businesses feel uncomfortable crossing the line between an employee's personal and professional lives. But more and more, companies are realizing the importance of blending the two. Lifestyle goals encourage employees to do things for themselves that also benefit the business. The two most obvious examples are quitting smoking and losing weight but others are discussed below.
HOW TO USE THIS MEASURE
Below are several examples of what might fall under the general category of Lifestyle Measures:
- Personal Financial Goals
- Intellectual Achievements
- Professional Development
- Artistic Pursuits
- Health and Fitness Goals
- Work/Life Balance
- Lifestyle Changes
- Spiritual Pursuits
- Personal Travel
WHO IS THIS MEASURE BEST FOR?
Proposing lifestyle goals to an employee can be a delicate matter. It is usually better to discuss them with the employee in advance rather than including them on the incentive plan without the employee's prior knowledge or support. However there are times when an employee needs a little push. Highlighting the issue in the incentive plan and tying some money to it might be just the push they need.