A systematic review of organizational workplace wellness programs and their financial and nonfinancial incentives

Reena P Patel, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Workplace wellness programs have revealed immense beneficial results for both the employer and employee. Examples of results include decrease in absenteeism, turnover rate, medical claims and increases in employee satisfaction, productivity, and return on investment. However, the approach taken when implementing requires greater attention since such programs and the financial and/or non-financial incentives chosen have shown to significantly impact employee participation thus the amount of savings the organization experiences. A systematic review was conducted to evaluate the overall effectiveness of workplace wellness programs on employee health status and lifestyle change, recognize the majority types of returns observed by such programs, and identify whether financial or non-financial incentives created a greater effect on the employee. Overall employee health status improvement occurred when participating in wellness programs. The dominant indirect benefit for the organization was employee weight loss leading to a decrease in absenteeism and direct benefits included decreases in medical claims and increases in return on investment. In general, factors such as rate of participation and health status changes were most influenced when a financial incentives was provided in the wellness program. The basis of providing a program with effective incentives resides from efforts made by the employer and their efforts to play a role on every level of the organization regarding planning, implementing, and strategizing the most optimal approach for creating changes for the employees' wellbeing and productivity, thus the organizations overall returns.

Subject Area

Occupational health|Public health|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Patel, Reena P, "A systematic review of organizational workplace wellness programs and their financial and nonfinancial incentives" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1507224.