With health costs on the rise and employers trying to keep their workforces productive and healthy, it's no surprise that companies all over the country are looking to cut spending and increase wellness. According to the 2011/2012 Staying@Work survey, the number of businesses implementing innovative employee solutions such as financial incentives for health management program participation is on the rise.

The study found companies that used monetary rewards for wellness goals rose by 50 percent from 2009 to 2011. In addition, 80 percent of companies surveyed plan to offer financial rewards to employees who participate in their health management programs. More employers are also turning to penalties for workers who don't comply with health standards. In 2009, 8 percent of companies used penalties, but in 2011, that figure rose to 19 percent and is expected to double by 2012.

HR services professionals have found that investing in health programs and financial rewards for employees has helped increase productivity while lowering healthcare costs and time away from work.

On top of the employee benefits administration aspect of wellness programs, these systems can also create worker involvement and pride, according to Jaan Sidorov of the Health Affairs Blog. Usually, employees welcome the financial rewards but also the chance to help design the health initiatives. 

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