When it comes to workplace wellbeing programs and initiatives, talk is “cheap”… and real… and effective. Many workplace wellbeing programs and initiatives aren’t as healthy as they could be because employees don’t know about or understand the company’s health-promoting efforts; or, if they do, are not super-excited to participate because they may feel it does not apply to them.
Communication needs to drive the strategy in any initiative dedicated to improving employee wellbeing. Communication shouldn’t be an afterthought in your workplace wellbeing efforts. On the contrary, communication should come FIRST.
A COMMUNICATION-FIRST approach to wellbeing programs and initiatives helps to overcome these 4 challenges in promoting health at the workplace
Challenge No. 1 – Budget
Traditional wellbeing programs can be expensive, and the pressure to produce ROI on that expense is intense. The c-suite wants to know that the money invested in costly health-risk appraisals, biometric screenings, and extrinsic incentives is paying off.
Communication – newsletters, brochures, social media, lunch-n-learns, and more – are relatively inexpensive to produce and less intimidating to potential participants than being poked and prodded. And, if done right – using personal, conversational, inspirational, and funny messages – communication can really connect with and motivate employees.
Challenge No. 2 – Time and Resources
The amount of time needed for planning and implementing for traditional wellbeing programs is significant. Often times, the wellbeing program has become an unwelcome distraction for HR and benefit teams.
Using a communication-first strategy, you can and should involve individuals throughout the company. This approach lightens the load for everyone and makes it more fun. Tap employees to share their health-journey stories or expertise in the form of lunchtime talks or video presentations, or articles in emails or newsletters. Also, access available free resources in your community and at the state and national levels (through non-profit, health-promotion organizations/associations and the government).
Challenge No. 3 – Lack of Participation and Engagement
In traditional wellbeing programs, many times usage is low for the generic wellness portal, or very few read the emails about wellness and benefit offerings and changes. People simply tune out the information because they don’t feel it applies, or is personal, to them.
A communication-first approach, using employees to help produce it, described in Challenge No. 2 above, is more likely to get noticed. People pay attention to information and messages that they and their fellow co-workers help to create. They enjoy the communications because it is specifically for them, about them, and by them.
Challenge No. 4 – Under-utilization
Employee benefits are misunderstood, underutilized, and too many times, unappreciated in traditional wellbeing programs because the “story” isn’t being told.
Companies offer programs and benefits but don’t publicize or market them effectively. Using a communication-first approach, you think about how to get the word out about the offerings in the most effective way… or better yet, ways. You think about how you’ll use print and electronic media, easy-to-understand, conversational language, inspirational testimonials, and more to “sell” the idea of taking advantage of and appreciating what you offer – instead of hoping participants will stumble across what you offer on their own.
As you can see, when you put communication first, each of the above obstacles to improving employee wellbeing can be overcome. And they can be overcome in a realistic, inexpensive, and fairly quick process.
Want to learn more about putting COMMUNICATION FIRST in your workplace?
- Check out this free eBook, “How to Put Communication First in Workplace Wellbeing.”
- If you need help with any workplace wellbeing communication efforts, let’s chat. I’m always here for you. You can email me at email@example.com or by calling 800-334-4094.