Client Success Story

City of San Antonio


The Impact of Removing Wellbeing Program Incentives During COVID-19

The City of San Antonio (COSA) spends about $900,000 in annual incentives for their wellness program and achieves engagement levels that surpass peer benchmarks. Senior leadership and the wellness team suspected that incentives propelled employee behavior towards predictive health activities like the annual HRA and biometrics tracking. However, they didn’t have data to support or reject this hypothesis until the era of COVID-19.

With COVID-19, the City of San Antonio changed how they worked almost overnight, including sending many employees to work from home. From a health and wellness point of view, employee behavior also changed overnight. Healthy habits, including nutrition and physical activity, were deprioritized, in-person wellness activities and promotions were no longer available and working from home reduced meaningful social interaction between colleagues. Increasingly, employees skipped routine trips to the doctor or hospital because “that’s where the sick people are.” These changes affected employee physical and mental health right away and throughout the pandemic.

From an organizational perspective, COVID-19 put budgetary pressure on the City of San Antonio, and they made cuts, including removing the monetary incentives from the health and wellness program, which equaled up to $500 per eligible employee per year. The wellness team hoped that incentives would come back—and they did, 12 months later—but at the time, they didn’t know if that was possible.

In the meantime, they asked themselves, “Would the data support our hypothesis that incentives positively influence employee behavior?”

Read the case study to learn:

  • The impact COSA saw on removing incentives from their wellbeing program 
  • The key areas they focused on to address their unique challenges
  • Sustaining a culture of health and wellbeing during critical times

See their results