So, you’ve stratified your employee population to hone in on the folks who need it the most. You’ve identified a condition management program that puts personalization at the center and drives employees to better health based on their actual needs and intrinsic motivations. You’ve ticked the boxes on the key ingredients for a successful wellness initiative. That’s everything, right? Well, you’re not quite done yet.
Despite how strong and effective a wellness program’s components may be, its success can only be achieved if and when it’s adopted by eligible employees. Essentially, a company must ensure it effectively markets the wellness program to the right employees.
For example, it is not enough to simply outline a wellness program in the benefits package. Employees don’t always pay attention to their benefits – or even know where to find information on their benefits.
This is not about awareness. There must be a proactive marketing effort to drive engagement and organizations must take the steps to ensure employees understand the connection between their needs and the program’s value proposition.
There are a few different ways to go about this, the culmination of which can go a long way in helping to drive uptake among your target employee population.
- Secure buy-in from senior leadership. The most successful programs are endorsed from the top-down, starting with the CEO. The message that “We’re behind this” needs to be disseminated loud and clear, and not just because it saves the organization on healthcare costs. Lead with the idea that leadership is investing in their most valued assets – their employees – by finding ways to keep them healthy and happy through robust health and wellness benefits. When leadership is also using the program themselves, it can further fuel enrollment because employees will see that it is a personal message – leadership is invested, so they can be too.
- Elevate internal champions. Build an advocacy program using your very own employees. After all, there’s nothing more credible than validation from an individual’s very own peers. If you have the opportunity to trial your wellness program among a selection of employees within the company, give them a platform to help share their experience with others – whether that’s interviewing them for your monthly company newsletter, or giving them the spotlight to share their experience at your next all-hands. In an ideal scenario, merit of the program itself spreads on its own through word of mouth.
- Lean on your wellness program vendor. This third party can serve as a powerful marketing partner, especially if they can provide you with the exact assets you need to market the solution effectively. At Zillion, we work with our customers to provide strategic marketing input as part of our Restore program delivery. By offering posters, digital displays, email templates, on-site signage, custom enrollment websites, and onsite presence at health fairs – either with the Restore branding, co-branding, or fully white-labeled by the business – we make it easy for employers to raise awareness around the program’s availability and how eligible employees can get involved.
- Communicate clearly. Companies must be clear to be effective. Failure to do so could lead to employees viewing new wellbeing initiatives as “just another benefit.” When employees truly understand how the program will be personalized exactly to their needs and circumstance, they’ll be more likely to take action through participation.
- Utilize a multi-channel marketing approach. Rather than simply putting a flyer on the wall or blasting out a company-wide email, there must be a truly integrated, multi-channel approach to internal marketing. Employees need to receive information repeatedly, through a variety of channels, before they truly absorb the idea that new personalized options exist. This means that HR and the marketing/communications departments must work together. HR might know how to push internal comms through an intranet site but involving the marketing department will ensure that the process is viewed as a true marketing activity. This way, organizations can deliver a robust marketing program internally, build awareness for the program, and help to drive enrollment.
While the majority of employers emphasize a focus on improving employee health and overall wellness, studies continue to show a disconnect with employees. One of the top reasons for why employees don’t use corporate wellness programs is simply because they aren’t aware of them.
Your wellness program of choice may have what it takes to drive positive health outcomes, but unless you market it effectively, that opportunity is lost. In our next post, we’ll discuss how this all comes together.