New Employer Guide from StayWell Offers Insight into the Changing World of Incentives

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StayWell experience indicates that a strong culture is better than financial rewards in achieving long-term behavior change from well-being programs

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StayWell Incentives Guide

Our new incentive guide offers insights on best practices for implementing an incentive strategy that fits with organizational culture, health goals, and employee values, while also aligning with current health reform regulations.

If you’re trying to inspire meaningful, lasting behavior change in your organization, cash rewards might not be the solution, according to a new Incentives Guide from The StayWell Company.

The new report from the leading health solutions company examines national trends and pulls from StayWell’s expertise in the research, design, and implementation of behavior change programs to explore both how employers are currently using incentives and how they could use them more effectively.

According to the guide, “The Changing Tide of Health Care & Wellness Incentives,” while offering financial rewards can drive participation in transactional activities like completing a health assessment, lasting behavior change is far more likely to occur in a workplace culture that aspires to make healthy choices the norm. StayWell experts illustrate in the guide that if employees change behavior only to get a reward, they are very likely to revert to their old ways once the reward is removed.

“Incentives play a helpful role in a comprehensive workplace well-being program, but we’ve learned a lot over the years about using incentives more judiciously to benefit both participants and employers,” said StayWell co-founder and adviser David Anderson, Ph.D. “Our new incentive guide offers insights on best practices for implementing an incentive strategy that fits with organizational culture, health goals, and employee values, while also aligning with current health reform regulations.”

The report offers pros and cons of common incentive approaches and easy action steps employers can take to effectively integrate incentives into well-being programs. Highlights include:

  • Creating a workplace culture that supports well-being and healthy choices,
  • Changing the conversation with employees to focus on lasting behavior change,
  • Understanding what motivates employees to guide the design of incentives,
  • Why progress-based incentives may be a better choice than outcomes-based incentives, and
  • The importance of aligning an incentive strategy with an organization’s employee health goals.

The full report is available free for download here.

To learn more about StayWell’s research and expertise in incentive design for well-being programs or to receive the incentive webinar recording and incentive guide, email us at engage(at)

About StayWell

StayWell is a health solutions company that uses the science of behavior change to help people live happier, healthier lives. StayWell brings decades of experience working across the health care industry to design solutions for improving individual and organizational health outcomes, managing the health of targeted populations, and creating brand engagement for employers and health care organizations. StayWell programs have received numerous top industry honors, including the C. Everett Koop National Health Award and the Web Health Award for health engagement programs. StayWell also has received URAC and NCQA accreditation for several of its programs. StayWell is majority-owned by Healthcare Services & Solutions, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA (“Merck”). The company is headquartered in Yardley, PA, and also has a major location in St. Paul, MN. To learn more, visit or connect with on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

About Merck

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer's disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Media contact for StayWell:
Barbara Tabor, APR / 651-230-9192 / barbara(at)

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