With healthcare costs rising again in 2018, businesses are looking for ways to keep employees healthy. Addressing health behaviors upstream–prevention–is far less costly than paying for treatments. But you already know that.
Like most employers, you offer a wellness program. And that’s a good start. A well-designed wellness program can enhance employee health and lower costs – direct costs and indirect costs such as absenteeism and presenteeism – as well as improve retention, morale and productivity .
But here’s the catch. Simply having a wellness initiative isn’t enough, because most fail. To actively engage your employees, your program must be well designed and promoted with the employees’ needs in mind. Low employee engagement is the greatest obstacle to successful wellness initiatives. Employees are often unaware of the programs, and most don’t believe company leadership is truly committed to improving employee health. And if your employees aren’t listening or don’t trust that your focus is on their needs, your program will fail.
This requires more than a “one size fits all” message about workplace wellness. Like all effective communication, internal healthcare marketing efforts must be tailored, targeted, ongoing and multichannel–in other words, they must be hyper-personalized and speak to the specific needs and desires of the different audiences.
Messages delivered to the office staff must differ from those sent to front-line workers, which must be different from those delivered to the C-suite and the maintenance team. And within each group, there may be a wide range of education levels, health status and communication preferences.
The challenge is developing wellness education, resources and programming that resonate with the individuals you are trying to reach. As with any healthcare marketing effort, it requires a clear communication strategy. Do you have one?
Your strategy must also consider what your audience already thinks and knows about health and wellness in general, as well as what they know about your program. Don’t assume anything – gather insights and use them to craft the best strategy.
You’ll also want to meet people where they’re at – communicating in ways and in places that make sense and that will engage them. And do it frequently. About the time you’re tired of hearing about it – that’s when they’re finally paying attention.
Communication strategy isn’t a primary HR function. But if you want to design a holistic communication strategy to increase employee engagement with your wellness initiatives, Borshoff can help. Email us or call 317-631-6400.