Companies and organizations come to Hope Health to help them develop a communication plan that provides a strategic and central basis for engaging employees and their families.

We are known for providing fun, enlightening, and easy-to-read content that employees enjoy & respond to. If you’re experiencing any of the following problems, then contact us today!

Employees don’t understand their group health insurance benefits.

If employees don’t understand benefits, you likely have a communication issue. You need to look at how and where you’re explaining the benefits.

  • Use an easy-to-understand, conversational language and define any insurance terminology.
  • Provide examples to help people comprehend complex concepts better.
  • Think about using infographics. Sometimes, “seeing” a concept is easier than reading several sentences on it.
  • Distribute information in various formats – newsletters, blogs, posters, maybe in an explanation video – so you’re covered no matter the employee’s preferred way of receiving information.
  • Consider multi-column comparison charts that give employees an at-a-glance comparison of their various options or status.

My management team doesn’t understand the value of communications. How can I convince them we need this?

Frame your discussion with these two key questions in mind, “How will communications improve the workplace culture?” and “How will communications lead to increased productivity?”

The answers: Regular, positive communication with employees sends the message that you value them as whole people. When people feel like they are noticed, respected, and appreciated, their overall health and attitude tend to be positive. They bring this energy to work, and it shows. Consistent, meaningful communications with employees can strengthen the employee-employer relationship. When the relationship is strong, everyone wins – the employees, the employer, and the customers, clients, or patients (depending on your organization).

How can I convince my team to think about communications first, if at all?

Show them how communications can solve many challenges that companies face with employee wellbeing and a thriving workplace culture.

A communications-first approach:

  • Isn’t expensive (less pressure to produce an ROI figure),
  • Can be fun and doesn’t have to feel like an unwelcomed distraction/drain on time and resources,
  • May encourage employee participation and engagement, and
  • Can boost utilization and appreciation of employee benefits.

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I don’t know how to get started with an employee communication plan.

The foundation of an effective communication plan lies in understanding your corporate culture and considering your employees’ needs. Don’t assume you know what employees want – ask them.

The next step is to figure out how much you can and should devote to employee communications, including production costs, time needed to create and distribute content, and employee commitment to help develop it.

Once you’ve considered these issues, you can create a communications plan and develop content. When it comes to content creation, think seasons of the year and seasons of life, consider company events and important deadlines, and plan for the unforeseen.

Use this handy Annual Planning Guide as a template to get you started.

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My wellness program is struggling. How can I increase awareness and participation?

Take a look at your wellness program offerings – are they more primary prevention or secondary prevention? If they fall more in the secondary prevention area, you may want to consider focusing more on primary prevention in a more personal way. Share your story of what wellness means to you. Find employee volunteers who will share their stories. Stories are a powerful way to reach prospects, and show them what your program is all about.

Secondly, take a tip from the marketing world and advertise your “brand.” Help your employees easily recognize your wellness program by branding your efforts. By formalizing your wellness program this way, you may increase awareness and participation. According to the American Marketing Association, a brand can include “a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”

When you create a workplace wellness program brand, think about your organization’s:

  • Culture
  • Colors
  • Key words

We are doing an in-house newsletter, but it’s not being read like we hoped.

If readership isn’t where you want or need it to be, take a look at what type of articles you’re including, how they are written, and how the newsletter is designed. Effective newsletters have: 

  • Short articles rather than long ones
  • One focus or message per article
  • A variety of story formats – questions and answers, lists, testimonials, etc.
  • Short sentences written in plain language that anyone can understand
  • A positive and inspirational tone
  • Bulleted lists
  • Examples to illustrate points or concepts
  • Action steps to take or where to go for more information
  • A medical review
  • Information about wellness events
  • Personal, inspirational stories from employees
  • A variety of content so there is something for everyone
  • A header that identifies your company and/or wellness program
  • Sections organized by topics
  • Plenty of white space
  • Consistent fonts
  • Pulled quotes
  • One or two strong images per page
  • Text wrapping
  • Spot color

I don’t know the first thing about producing communications that my employees will read. Where do I start?

Start by asking employees what they want and need. You can find out by holding focus groups or asking for employee input through a survey (either paper or electronic). Then, involve employees in the communication creation process. People support what they help create, so getting employees at all levels involved may increase employee engagement with your communications and the company. Feature employee success stories. Use employees as topic experts if they have outside interests that they’d like to share information on, such as gardening, cooking, walking, running, yoga, meditation, family time, personal time, creative interests and so on.

How can, and do I need to, prove ROI on communications?

In the corporate world, ROI is routinely used to gauge the success of any initiative. The problem is this number is often manipulated to serve whoever is providing it. And really, because communications can be inexpensive, if done right, you don’t need to prove an ROI. 

Instead of ROI, consider an alternative: Value of Investment (VOI). Whereas ROI looks at dollars saved or earned from some activity, VOI is interested in intangibles such as how people feel and how those feelings affects employees’ attitudes toward work and life. These intangibles can contribute greatly to the health of an organization.

I’m using a free newsletter from my insurance company, but I’m wondering if it’s really effective.

Each organization has its own identity, its own personality, with its own wants and needs. A free newsletter is typically a generic newsletter, not specific to your organization and your employees. Free, generic content usually is not effective in engaging employees for several reasons:

  • Employees are not part of creating the communication, which means they are less likely to support it;
  • It lacks your company’s brand, which means it won’t be easily recognizable;
  • The content and images are generic and don’t address your particular workplace culture or allow you to send specific reminders to your employees;
  • It may not be accurate.

We want to do multi-media communication to reach all of our employees, but we’re having trouble setting it up and producing enough content.

Multi-media is definitely smart. Don’t be intimidated about the set-up process. You can either research how to best approach it on your own or hire an experienced custom publishing company to do it for you.

Producing enough content shouldn’t be a problem, either. That’s because you shouldn’t try to create original content from scratch for each media platform. Instead, think repurpose, which supports a key truth of communications: Individuals retain information in different ways. To better guarantee that your content is most effective, put it out there again and again – using different media.

Let’s use a 200-word article on any given topic, as an example. Here’s how you can use the content in six ways.

  1. Publish the entire article in a newsletter.
  2. Create a poster, flyer, or table tent using a portion of the content.
  3. Use a snippet (such as one tip) in an eMail and link to more information about the topic online.
  4. Post a piece of advice from the article or a topic-related question (to spur discussion) on your social media sites.
  5. Find a topic-related testimonial from a wellness participant and weave in facts from the original article for a short video.
  6. Pull a section from the article to promote an upcoming, related event.

We don’t have any real budget, but we need help getting employees energized and interested in their health and wellness.

You don’t need a big budget to have an outstanding wellness program! Here are some tips that are free or very low-cost:

  • Try an eMail campaign or flyers with tips that you make inhouse.
  • Create a walking trail around your workplace.
  • Promote free community events that employees can attend with their families.
  • Invite in local speakers.
  • Ask employees with interests in specific topics, such as gardening, to do lunch-n-learns.
  • Visit state and national websites for free videos, apps, and more you can use in your wellness program.

How do I know if we should insource or outsource our communications?

Whether you should use internal staff or look to an outside vendor depends on your own company expertise and time. Here are some guidelines to help you decide:

You may be able to go the internal route if you have:

  • An internal design and communications team that can assist with your communications.
  • Writing and editing experience, and feel comfortable handling these tasks.
  • Access to a review team (including a medical advisory board if you include health and wellness information).
  • A dedicated project manager or team to handle the daily duties and distributing content.
  • A generous budget for producing communications.
  • A seamless system for distributing communications.

You may want to work with an outside vendor if you:

  • Have limited staff time available for communications.
  • Need ready-to-use content vetted, written for a consumer audience, and medically reviewed.
  • Want communications done by an organization that specializes in employee issues and concerns.
  • Want a professional team of writers and editor to conduct interviews, use credible research sources, write, and edit your content.
  • Want a multi-media approach (newsletters, posters, brochures, calendars, blogs, videos, and/or social media, etc.), but lack the skills and time to produce it.
  • Seek the confidence of having seasoned professionals handle all details for you.

How do I set a budget for communications?

When setting a budget, factor in the cost of:

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Designing
  • Implementing – whether you are using print or digital communications. With printing, you have the cost of actually printing the materials and possibly mailing them. As for digital communications, consider the costs associated with software, web-hosting fees, and any subscriptions to cloud-based services.

How do I get buy-in from the C-suite?

Sell the benefits of employee communications and how they can improve organizational success.

  • Find respected research (books, journal articles, case studies, etc.) and successful organizations that value and support employee communications. Present the C-suite with examples from related or competing companies. Sometimes, just knowing a related business is doing communications a certain way can be persuasive.
  • Get support from colleagues. Before presenting ideas to the higher-ups, talk through ideas with coworkers to find out what additional information they would suggest sharing to make your case more convincing.
  • Know who has the power. Figure out whose stamp of approval you’ll need. Start with your immediate manager and go from there. Eventually, you may need to get in front of a vice president or even the head of the company, but if you go up the chain of command, you won’t offend anyone who may think you went above him or her, and you can get buy-in along the way.
  • Consider the decision maker’s perspective. Everyone wants to know the benefits of anything from his or her perspective. Frame your employee communications pitch in a way that solves problems for the people in charge. When requesting approvals, be sure you answer the question, “What’s in it for the company?” Specifically, “How will communications improve the culture at the workplace?” and “How will communications lead to increased productivity?”
  • Make it brief, but be ready to back it up. Craft a 10-second “elevator speech” on the merits of your communication strategy, but also prepare one-minute and five-minute versions with more details. This approach applies to making pitches in person and to creating a written proposal.
  • Invite them to be a part of the wellness program. Remember, though, that company executives already have a lot of responsibilities and are crunched for time. You may be wise to approach the C-suite as a team and suggest that members take turns being the “face of leadership” when it comes to your wellness efforts.

If you’re looking for assistance in answering these questions, and want to work with a company that understands how to build powerful employee communications that will engage and excite your audience, don’t hesitate to contact us today — use this form to connect with us!

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