m a k e   ' e m   s m i l e   : )
Monday 6.18.2012

Living Healthy: Extrinsic Motivation through Reward Cards

I watch a television program and I see someone in great physical shape with “guns” and a “six pack”.  I know I want to look like that.  I see my dad struggle to recover from 2 knee surgeries and can barely walk.  I know I don’t want to experience that.  And I know the answer is simple:  to get what I want and what I don’t want, all I need to do is to exercise and eat healthy.  The intrinsic reward of looking and feeling good should be all I need to live a healthy life.  Yet, I don’t.  Why?

Somehow the inherent or intrinsic value is not worth the investment on my part.  I take solace in the fact that I am not alone.  People all over this country pay money to hire a physical trainer that reminds them, forces them, schedules them to exercise and live healthy.  Why would we pay money to have someone tell us to do what we already know we should do?  Because the intrinsic value is outweighed by the behavior changes we must make.

Businesses in America are seeing the same thing.  They are providing extrinsic motivation to live a healthier lifestyle.  Hundreds if not thousands of businesses are now engaged in Health and Wellness programs that incent their employees with Reward Cards or Gift Cards.  Employees are incented to take tests such as Body Mass Index, Cholesterol and Hypertension.  And…they are further incented to PASS the tests.  This is a smart move for businesses.  Making an investment in employees with Reward Cards results in lower health care costs for the business.  So…everyone wins:  Business and Employee.

We know that Reward Cards can be used to incent customers to make purchasing decisions.  We know that Reward Cards can be used to incent sales people to sell more products.  We know that Reward Cards can be used to thank people for volunteering their time in an organization.  But…now we know that Reward Cards can also convince us to do what we should already do:  Live Healthy.    And that is a reward in itself!!!

~~ Steve Dimmitt, former CRO for GiftCards.com

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