Choose One Currency, One Interface, and Power Your CHIP to Success

You work hard at your job. And like everyone else, you look forward to that wonderful recurring day when you are rewarded for your hard work: payday. Whether you receive your pay via direct deposit or an old-fashioned printed paycheck, it’s always a great feeling to stash that cash in your account.

But imagine if payday were a little bit different. Instead of a nice stash of cash, imagine that your hard-earned pay came in the form of a collection of:

  • some movie passes to a local theatre
  • some ‘fun bucks’ that could only be used at an amusement park in a neighboring city
  • an assortment of coupons to several local stores (not including, of course, the store where you regularly shop)
  • a collection of gift cards to some obscure retailers (that you are unlikely to ever visit)

In this imaginary scenario, you wouldn’t look forward to payday quite as much as you do now, would you? In fact, payday would be somewhat of a pain in the …, well, it would be a pain. And you wouldn’t be particularly incentivized to put in all the effort required to earn that payday.


A Common Scenario in CHIPs Programs

The imaginary scenario described above is anything but imaginary in many consumer health incentive programs. It’s quite common for employees to be “rewarded” with a confusing and less-than-alluring assortment of reward currencies.

The purpose of health incentive programs, of course, is to encourage employees, through the offering of rewards, to invest time and effort in achieving goals that promote health. But when those rewards are not attractive, the program simply doesn’t work.

A few years ago, Voluntary Benefits Magazine reported that “…there are many programs that on the surface seem successful, but in actuality are wasting money due to an incentive delivery system based on a fragmented combination of cash, gift cards, and prepaid cards. These currency vehicles often fail to engage employees long-term, are difficult if not impossible to track, and cannot be tied back to behavioral analytics.”

Consumer health incentive programs must change to offer rewards that can encourage behavioral change. In 2012, the former Chief Technology Officer of HHS, Todd Park, even noted that “The two biggest health trends will be data liberation and incentive reform.”


The Powerful Benefits of a Single Currency

Incentive programs that provide rewards in the form of a single currency are far more likely to motivate the behavioral changes that employers seek. CHIPs that reward participants with just one desirable currency offer many benefits to employees and employers, including:

  • An enhanced perception of the overall earning potential available to participants
  • An increased likelihood of overall member engagement
  • An improvement in the perception of the value of participating in designated activities/behaviors


Single Currency + Single Interface = Program Perfection

Many consumer health incentive programs struggle with the limitations imposed by offering multiple rewards, as described above. Similarly, many programs are also cobbled together from a mishmash of different interfaces. And that can also restrict a program’s potential for success.

Incentive programs often evolve into multiple interface programs as new components are added over time. Often, different vendors are used for adding these new components. But both users and administrators of a program are likely to become confused and frustrated by the multi-interface programs that result. These programs discourage participation, and encourage failure.

Converting these multi-interface programs into single-interface programs can be key to unlocking a program’s potential for success.

One ChipRewards client, for example, recently combined Fitbit data tracking, tobacco cessation, diabetes management, wellness programs, financial programs, and stress programs under one platform offering a single currency. Participation has soared.

And the benefits of single-platform management can be extended beyond just health-based incentive programs. Another ChipRewards client recently combined incentives to encourage health and wellness behaviors, customer service improvements, better employee attendance, and improved safety records — all under one platform, offering a single-currency reward.

Participants in these programs are now able to choose what they want to earn, and are more incentivized to participate in a broad range of behavior-enhancing programs. And isn’t that the goal of every incentive program?