Health Dialog Connections

Marketing Your Health and Wellness Programs to Employees

Lifting weights can help patients improve their health and wellness

As the cost of healthcare continues to rise, employers and their health plan partners are searching for ways to reduce overall spending while providing high-quality care. Today, many are taking proactive measures and implementing corporate health and wellness programs to encourage employee fitness levels, boost workplace morale and control healthcare costs.

Throughout my 20 years in the healthcare industry, I’ve seen firsthand how invaluable health and wellness programs can be to employee health and to the success of major corporations. Organizations that provide engaging wellness-related activities, educational resources, or nutritious snacks not only promote a healthy lifestyle, but are also more likely to retain and recruit top talent.

A recent report from Humana and the Economist Intelligence Unit found that employees who participate in wellness programs report a positive impact to their happiness or well-being and reduced levels of stress. While some corporations are investing millions in elaborate program offerings (such as, biometric testing, health risk assessments, weight management, smoking cessation, and other preventative and early-stage healthcare management), focusing on targeted initiatives can make a measureable difference. Regardless of the complexity, all programs are strategically designed to directly enhance employee health, happiness, and productivity, and in turn, reduce stress, absenteeism, turnover, and total healthcare expenditures.

A recent study by RAND Corporation found that disease management programs generate an average of $136 in savings per member per month, and lead to a 30 percent reduction in hospital admissions – equivalent to an ROI of $3.80 for every dollar initially invested. Given that productivity losses linked to absenteeism costs U.S. employers $225.8 billion each year, and obesity can cause healthcare costs to rise an additional $6,087 per male employee per year, it’s evident that health and wellness programs are essential to keep expenses low and improve employee health.  

So, how can employers move their workforce into active participants in their health and wellness programs? Below are some best practices I’ve gathered throughout my career to market offerings and boost engagement:

  • Friendly competitions. Keep it fun. Create contests between colleagues designed to enhance physical activity or encourage a healthy diet. Host a Fitbit competition, a weight loss contest, or a checklist challenge full of healthy habits. Offer incentives for the winner, further encouraging participation.
  • Targeted reminders. Send personalized emails or phone calls reminding employees to sign up for contests, partake in physical activity, or schedule their annual physicals.  
  • Educational resources. Distribute newsletters, hang up posters in the office and mail educational packages to employees. The resources should explain the program or specific offering and highlight the value of a healthy lifestyle. Include general information, such as how to get involved or more specific details on relevant use cases or statistics.
  • Wellness committee. Designate a group of employees to spearhead and promote health and wellness activities to its co-workers through word-of-mouth.
  • Senior-level endorsement. Ask the CEO, president, or a highly respected executive to actively participate in the program and work with the wellness committee to boost engagement. For example, he or she could write a letter to employees outlining the value of the program and reasons to get involved, and share event pictures and competition updates via email.
  • Incentives. Offer incentives –such as, a gift card or compensation time – for completing different milestones such as taking a self-risk assessment, signing up for a gym membership or going to an annual physical.
  • Personal success stories. Ask employees to share their personal health and wellness journeys to highlight their success and inspire others to participate. Feature them regularly through an email campaign, at staff meetings, or on social media if permitted.

While the benefits of cooperate health and wellness programs are undeniable, they can be difficult to customize and market to employees. If you’re looking to take your organization to the next level, Health Dialog has suite of solutions designed to help.

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