If your organization’s wellness program launched to unengaged employees, did it really launch at all? Similar to the old philosophical adage of the tree falling with no one around to hear it, if your wellness program’s communications don’t reach the employee population, it’s as if they were never sent at all.
Using multiple avenues to engage all generations, occupations and levels of ability within your organization is imperative to creating true “well-aware-ness.” Whether you have an employee demographic mainly within one generation, or spread across a few as is the case for more and more organizations, providing multiple access points to your wellness program is the key to having maximum impact on employees.
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There will always be one senior employee of the baby boomer generation who has taken to technology with natural ease just as certainly as the one Gen Y employee who refuses to give up paper copies. The goal is to provide such a variety of access points into the wellness program that no matter how employees choose to receive their information on a given day, it will be available and compatible. The fast-paced world we live in now dictates that if something is difficult to access most people won’t try more than once, and will rarely reconsider if prompted.
People respond to brands and images they recognize. Sometimes they may not even realize they’ve retained that brand awareness until it affects a decision they’re about to make. A popular app was created that leads gamers through a series of partially completed brand logos; the more brands correctly identified, the more credits the gamer receives to play and then proceed to higher levels of difficulty.
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This is supporting evidence to create a brand for your wellness program for employees to recognize and respond to. A name and logo that can be featured on all communications can drastically increase employee awareness of the program and lead to greater participation.
Engage employees from the start of the process by surveying employees for a program name and/or image with an incentive to submit an entry. Often times the recognition associated with “winning” an employee challenge is motivation enough, but tangible incentives will never hurt participation.
When deciding on your wellness program platform, consider the following factors:
- Communicating with employees: If the majority of the organization’s well-read communications to employees regarding group benefits, operations, payroll, etc. are sent via hard copy, for example, that should certainly be a means to communicate the wellness program. If an intranet is currently used to host important internal information and is available to employees outside of office hours, it would make an excellent home for the wellness program dashboard, featuring all components of the program in one accessible location.
- Access to technology: If most employees are either in an office environment or have mobile or web access consistently throughout the average day, a website, portal or mobile app would be an effective tool for the wellness program. For employee groups that do not access computers or the web on a daily basis, hard copy material and live information sessions would be most beneficial.
- Organizational culture: A culture conducive to group activities, committee projects, and/or work sharing would likely respond to live educational sessions, group challenges for healthy eating and fitness, and an internal wellness committee to champion the program. A culture with more of a siloed operational approach, however, would likely be mo re successful with a web-based wellness program that features individual coaching.
Create a wellness brand, communicate it within every level of the organization via every available conduit, and engage employees in the process. These steps will certainly help your wellness program launch make a sound.
Karley Middleton is a wellness consultant at HUB International STRATA Benefits Consulting in Winnipeg. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Benefits Canada. This article originally appeared at Benefits Canada.
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How you ensure your employees are taking advantage of your health and wellness initiatives? Share your experiences using the comments section below.