Why Your Wellness Communications Strategy is Key to Improving Employee Well-Being

By Heather Huhman

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Six out of 10 employees say their job takes a toll on their personal life. The February poll from Officevibe also found that 47 percent consider themselves to be stressed at work.

Approaching employee well-being is a tough endeavor that requires a great deal of planning. Employers who adopt a set-it-and-forget-it strategy never see real results because they’re not looking at employee health from a holistic standpoint.

Employee well-being is complex and involves several moving parts, such as financial and emotional health. When you offer a wellness program that centers on total well-being, you’re moving in the right direction.

However, another obstacle stands in the way -- you need to know about to properly promote your program.

LifeWorks surveyed 500 employees in December 2017 to better understand how they perceive wellness program communications. Based on their findings, they compiled the infographic below to shed light on the three C’s of successful wellness communications.

Here’s what employees look for in your wellness communications:

Words that motivate and appeal to them

Broca’s area, a region in the frontal lobe of the brain, responds to silent reading the same way auditory neurons respond to text spoken aloud. To put it simply, research from a February 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA suggests that words are processed and cataloged by their basic sounds and shapes.

This means the way you present certain text-based promotional materials makes a big difference. Subtle word choices can impact how your employees respond to certain wellness activities.

For example, terms like ‘seminar’ and ‘conference’ are less appealing because they sound too formal. So promoting a ‘’corporate mindfulness seminar’ won’t be as interesting or engaging as a ‘mindfulness workshop.’

Pay attention to how you describe and present employee well-being initiatives. Measure levels of engagement and see how many people participate in each activity.

The right delivery

Displaying posters and handing out wellness program brochures isn’t enough to educate your staff on your program. These are passive methods of communication.

If you can find the right way to deliver promotional content, you will see a spike in wellness program utilization. The most preferred communication methods include email and internal newsletters, according to LifeWorks’ findings.

Look for ways to make text-based communication methods more engaging. For example, including visuals and breaking up text into short paragraphs is a great way to get employees to actually read your wellness program emails and newsletters. In fact, nearly eight out of 10 employees say visuals are important in wellness program promotional materials.

Add some character to your communications. Using colorful pictures and fun gifs, memes, and videos will grab more attention and make it easier for employees to retain information.

Activities aligned to their unique needs

Each employee has their own unique wellness goals in mind. So, if some of your staff is not interested in losing weight or planning for retirement, why promote those activities to them?

Develop a targeted wellness communications strategy. Start by surveying employees to identify their goals, then group them together based on shared interests. This way, you can create a plan that promotes specific activities to each group.

Segments like age and gender play a big role in how you group employees. Keep this in mind as you survey your staff and measure who is interested in what specific initiatives.

A wellness-focused community

Promoting a wellness program to employees who feel like they’re a part of a fractured, negative workplace culture is like putting a round peg in a square hole. It doesn’t work. Get your employees to bond over personal health.

The secret? Generate excitement about wellness. When employers can generate excitement, more employees participate in the program -- and they encourage their colleagues to join them. This is called ‘The Excitement Effect.’

The best way to drive word-of-mouth is appointing a wellness committee and wellness ambassadors. Train them on how to engage others and showcase the benefits of wellness program activities.

Check out the full LifeWorks infographic below to get a better understanding of the three C’s of successful wellness communication strategies:

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