New Incentive Based Fitness Study very telling about People and their Money

Many businesses around the world use incentive programs to increase productivity in the workplace. Employees might receive a monthly bonus or a gift card to a popular dining establishment for exceeding demand. A simple picture depicting the ‘employee of the month’ is extremely popular. But the results of a new fitness study shows that employers could be going about their incentives the wrong way.

The study was conducted by a group of academic researchers, including lead author Dr. Mitesh S. Patel, an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. The goal was to find out whether the use of incentives in fitness would prove successful, and if so, which incentives would incite the most physical activity from the subjects.

The motivational fitness challenge included a group of 281 adult-aged employees who were either overweight or obese. Each member of the study group reported their weight and height, utilizing a step-counting app on their smartphone for a period of 13 weeks.

Fitness StudyResearchers had already deciphered that the average employee takes 5,000 steps per day. They asked the subjects to increase their daily physical activity to 7,000+ steps. Finally, the participants were randomly divided into four groups.

The first group was offered no incentive to complete the task.

The second group was offered a reward of $1.40 for each day that they accomplished the goal, equaling a monthly incentive of $42 for achieving their 7,000+ steps goal.

The third group was offered a similar incentive, but used a bit of reverse psychology. Instead of awarding a monetary prize at the end of the fitness study, they were each given a loss-incentive. Participants received a $42/month bank prior to the start of the challenge. For each day they failed to meet their goal, $1.40 would be lost.

The fourth group was entered into a daily lottery worth $50. Each day that a participant achieved their goal, they would participate in the next day’s drawing. But if they failed to meet their goal, they could not collect any winnings from the next lottery.

Result: People Don’t Like Losing Money

The results of the study revealed that the third group – given all of the money before hand and subject to losing $1.40 a day for failure to complete the goal – had the most success. On average, they completed their task 45% of the time.

The lottery group resulted in 36% success, with the second group, who only received money for days the goal was accomplished, achieving 35% success. Not surprisingly, the first group who received no incentive at all came in last with just 30%.

As a follow-up, all groups reported physically activity in the ensuing weeks, but without any incentives offered. All four groups showed a decline in activity.

Revise Employee Incentive Strategies

For all you employers out there that want to boost productivity, this fitness study offers a great lesson. Instead of giving workers something to strive for, you should be automatically giving incentives to each and every employee. Only those who don’t meet the goals should be stripped of the rewards.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress and WordPress Themes, thanks to Live Jasmin