For every dollar your organization invests in employee wellness, you might get $2, $3, or even more back, thanks to lower healthcare costs, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and several other less quantifiable but equally valuable business benefits.
But there’s a catch: This phenomenal ROI is only possible when your employees are fully aware of and enthusiastically embrace the wellness program. An effective outreach campaign is crucial for boosting utilization and achieving the full potential of your organization’s employee wellness investment.
There are numerous ways to promote your employee wellness program — we list seven below. However, remember that what you say is just as important as how you say it.
Shaming or guilting employees into participating could backfire. Your messaging around employee wellness should focus on the benefits, such as stress relief, motivation, camaraderie, and fun.
It’s also important to keep the conversation going year-round. As with any communication initiative, repetition is key. If your employees only hear about their wellness benefits during open enrollment, they will quickly forget and not think to turn to your wellness offerings when they need them the most.
Finally, don’t forget that different people have different communication preferences. Successfully targeting your entire employee population with its mix of age groups, backgrounds, and habits requires a multichannel outreach effort combining several promotional methods, including the following seven:
1. A Kickoff Event
A big kickoff event can help build excitement for a wellness initiative, especially a participatory program like a group steps challenge. Just be sure to choose a time for the event that won’t interfere with employees’ work (or else it will feel like just another obligation) and focus the event on inspiration and motivation.
Don’t overlook your remote or hybrid employees. You can invite them to attend virtually through video chat. (Looking for some remote-friendly workplace wellness challenges?)
2. Email Announcements and Updates
Just about everyone in the modern workplace feels they get too much email, but a well-timed email message can still rise above the noise.
The key to writing an attention-getting email is brevity. Don’t dump everything about your employee wellness program into a single gargantuan message. Instead, offer brief reminders and updates periodically, tied to whatever employees might be experiencing at that moment.
For example, you can tout your company’s financial wellness benefits in April when everyone’s mind is on taxes.
Use bullet points, numbered lists, and visual elements to help your email stand out and emphasize essential points, and keep in mind: a boring subject line might send your email straight to the trash.
3. Digital Postcards
Digital postcards capture the fun and excitement of your wellness program with attractive visual flair, integrated video, and other compelling elements. Customized colors and logos put the weight of your company’s branding behind your wellness initiative.
Digital postcards are also trackable, providing valuable engagement information you can use to refine your wellness communication strategy and gauge employee interest in program features.
4. Explainer Videos
Videos are among the most powerful engagement tools in your HR communications toolkit. Younger workers, especially, turn to video in their everyday lives to gain new skills, learn about the world, and be entertained — and most say they wish their employer would use video communication more often.
There are countless ways to use video to promote your employee wellness program, from sharing yoga classes to motivational messages from company leadership. You can also use video to explain complex or frequently misunderstood wellness program concepts, such as how to use the EAP or access mental health benefits.
5. Microsites or Portals
A microsite or portal puts everything an employee needs to learn about your wellness program, enroll in challenges, track their progress, sign up for classes, and access digital program features in one place.
Your wellness microsite can also host wellness videos (such as meditation or aerobics classes), easy nutritional recipes, and other wellness resources. And when employees need an extra dose of inspiration, you can post a weekly “get pumped” playlist.
Be sure to design your company’s wellness microsite for mobile access. After all, not many of us take our laptops to the gym.
6. Mass Text Messaging (SMS)
Text messaging may be the one communication method that nearly everyone engages with. Over 90% of people read their text messages within minutes of receiving them, which is why HR teams have embraced SMS to broadcast important notices widely and quickly.
You can use text messaging to remind employees about your wellness program and promote upcoming initiatives. If you have a group challenge in progress, quick messages of encouragement can help employees stay motivated. Text messaging is also excellent for publicly recognizing employees’ wellness accomplishments.
However, be careful not to overuse text messaging. Employees are allowed to unsubscribe from mass text messages, and if you send them too many messages — especially outside of work hours — they may do just that.
7. A Virtual Wellness Fair
Employee wellness fairs are time-honored events where companies introduce wellness program vendors, raise awareness of wellness issues, conduct health screening, and distribute a whole lot of swag. But in this era of remote and flexible work, your next wellness fair might see record low attendance.
Like a virtual benefits fair, a virtual wellness fair takes all the good parts of a wellness fair — the excitement of an event, access to information and vendors — and puts them online where employees can visit at their own convenience, anytime, anywhere. Individual program vendors can each be given an online “booth” to showcase their offerings, and videos, webinars, and live chat can be available for learning about wellness topics.
Of course, you’ll have to find some other way to hand out that coveted swag, but that’s probably a small price to pay for not clogging up precious floor space with a sparsely attended event.
Wellness Program Promotion = Wellness Program Utilization
With stress, burnout, and chronic health conditions at all-time highs, helping employees improve their physical and mental wellbeing is a critical role for modern HR teams. These seven communication strategies will help ensure your employees have the information they need to use your wellness program to the fullest in pursuit of healthier, more balanced lives.