Many companies are redesigning their wellness initiatives to broaden their appeal. But you can do more than fix a few wrinkles—reveal a new-look program by renewing your commitment to communication.
Early wellness programs were anchored in fitness centers with a couple of exercise bikes that attracted the already healthy, but today’s wellness programs are designed to appeal to everyone, regardless of their health status.
That’s one reason many firms are adding not only services to their wellness programs, but also smarter promotion. There are simple ways to give your wellness program a marketing-like makeover.
Try These 6 Moves and Get Ready for Praise (Don’t Blush!)
#1. Focus on punchy headlines to drive participation. Toss out the corporate-speak and make health promotion fun. Develop a voice that’s conversational: Be a friendly, supportive participant in the healthy-living cause rather than an instructor.
#2. Think “custom is king.” Comprehensive health promotion programs mostly start with health risk assessments that measure cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels. Right away, each participant is beginning from his or her own starting point, yet many wellness programs lack tools to customize plans and goal tracking. Start with goals and track your success.
#3. Understand your main goal and communicate that point most often. Is your main focus to move people in higher-risk health categories into lower-risk ones? Or is it to keep healthy those who are already healthy? Perhaps it’s to focus on disease management for patients with current medical issues? Maybe it’s all of the above.
#4. Seek continual support from upper management. Workplace wellness programs that incorporate goal setting and receive management support are twice as likely to improve employee activity levels as merely providing information to employees on the health benefits of exercise, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Researchers studied employees at Home Depot in an attempt to improve physical activity participation. Goal setting made the difference.
#5. Encourage. Some employers are redesigning their benefit plans to provide more generous coverage for health screenings and preventive services that medical research has found to be beneficial—or even to penalize employees who refuse to shape up. Consider offering creative incentives to participants who embrace the program and develop healthier habits. (Base these incentives on predetermined criteria that can be measured, when possible.)
#6. Get more personal. People like to listen to other people they know, not necessarily their employer. Employees who listen to a colleague talking about how she gained personal growth by participating in a wellness program can be inspired more by that testimonial than even the best-conceived poster, email, or newsletter article. Showcase these success stories on your intranet and in in-house publications.
- Write down your 3 best communication moves concerning your wellness program and analyze ways to build upon that momentum.
- Write down 3 outcomes you hope will occur this year as a result of your wellness program (specific or general) and work backward to plan how to accomplish those goals.
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