FitPros' guide to internally promoting wellness programs
Updated: Jan 10, 2020
A simple New Year’s resolution offers no guarantee of improving our wellbeing. It requires nurturing, attention, and commitment. We write it down, gather the resources needed, welcome encouragement, and repeat it to ourselves.
Corporate wellness programs are no different in that in order to flourish they require work, support, and proper resources. To reap the benefits of a robust wellness program – from decreasing absences to increasing productivity and overall improving health and the company’s bottom line – it’s critical to keep employees actively involved.
A Gallup research study found that only 60% of employees are aware of a wellness program and only 40% of those who are aware actually participate. The reality is that companies that offer wellness programs, only have 24% of their employees participating. This percentage can be increased with a more sustainable internal communication strategy.
1. Create a community within the Company Calendar
Like any other appointment or meeting that is found on employees’ calendars, wellness events should be scheduled with alerts. Once you know the day and time, start to build momentum by adding it to “Company XZY Wellbeing Calendar.” As employees are planning their upcoming work weeks, they may be more intentional about blocking off that time for a Fitness Class or Health Talk.
2. Disseminate marketing materials to promote upcoming events
FitPros always creates flyers for our clients to quickly and seamlessly distribute around the office. Flyers should encompass all information including the date, time, location, event description, and facilitator. Most marketing experts recommend seven different touchpoints to truly get a message across. Distribution of materials via: email, print, and instant message can easily knock out three of those touchpoints.
Email communication can be an effective mode of communication when it is a complementary tool and not the entire strategy. Things may get lost or filtered but when people get notified about an upcoming wellness program, they most likely will check their email for additional details.
Hang Flyers around key parts of the office (i.e. Kitchen, bathrooms, elevators, etc.) for increased exposure. FitPros flyers are 11x17 and should be printed in color for extra pop! Posting flyers around the office will not only make your wellness programs visible, they will serve as a conversation starter amongst your employees. Word of mouth is powerful – once one person commits to attending, they will bring their team!
Lastly, keep that word of mouth going! Have your department leaders post the PDF flyer on the team instant messaging platforms. Whether you use Slack, Skype, Jabber, or Zoom – you can upload information right into the message board, hit enter, and BOOM it’s instantly shared with the whole company, teams, and individuals. These messages should go out when the event is scheduled and follow a specific cadence, to keep the programs at the forefront of people’s minds. If it’s a weekly Fitness Class – send day of reminders, through the company-wide message board; but if it’s your quarterly Health Talk or annual Wellness Fair, build the momentum and excitement inviting teams to participate. Find the right method and strategy for you and then stick to it!
3. Highlight Wellness Programs at Team Meetings
Your team meetings are designated time used to problem solve, discuss the next steps and assign tasks. Wellness Program conversations have value and can keep your team engaged. Managers and Team Leads should add upcoming wellness events to their meeting agendas. This will not only inform employees of company events but illustrate the value of them and prove leadership’s encouragement. A common grievance we hear from employees is that they “don’t have time,” “couldn’t leave their desk,” or “had a meeting” so therefore they could not attend a wellness event. When managers openly discuss health and wellness, support the company’s programs, and participate themselves, a culture shift that accepts and embraces wellness is made possible.
4. Employee Newsletter or Dashboard Note
Internal newsletters are important tools for keeping teams informed company-wide. These are usually assembled by the Public Relations or Human Resources Department, but almost always there is also a note from the CEO. Health and wellness have to start at the top and trickle down, for your company to truly reap the benefits. If it’s important enough that employees should be participating, then it is important enough to come from the CEO. In a note or a quick video, your CEO should share why they value corporate wellness, what heath steps they are taking personally, and why it is important that everyone participates. This video could even be shared on your internal homepage or social media if your workplace’s policy allows.
Additionally, newsletters are a great opportunity to highlight previous events and wellness leaders. You could have a Wellness Warrior Spotlight that features your most engaged employees or recognizes a whole team who is actively engaging in your Wellness Program and holding each other accountable. The Employee Newsletter is another place to promote days, times, benefits, wellness resources/blogs, etc. and if you need extra content always feel free to check out FitPros’ blog that is always sharing new unbiased Wellness Content.
5. Be Consistent and Encourage Wellness Program Diversity
When Employees know Wellness Wednesday happens every week or the company’s internal promotion is clear and efficient, they are more likely to remember and attend. Planning consistent wellness programs can change employee behavior, reduce health care cost and improve employee recruitment and retention. Another key to participation is having well-rounded, holistic programs for your employees to participate in. Employers who define wellness as strictly physical health – and then only create physical challenges for their employees – miss out on valuable opportunities to impact the health and engagement levels of their employees. Consider other roadblocks to wellness like burnout, due to financial stress, and address those issues in employee communications and challenges.
6. Utilize your colleagues as resources
FitPros always encourages companies to bring activities that employees need and want to participate in. Offering a variety of programs that holistically meet a range of needs and that include the ideas of employees such as your marketing team, design team and/or events team, will only increase the likelihood of employee ‘buy in.’ How? Internal teams have a strong pulse on the company mission (specifically the marketing team as they often have to convince the masses of the value of your company's product or service). Having your Design and Marketing team create a Wellness Campaign and/or promotional materials will ensure your Wellness Program is consistent with your company's mission, which will increase the likelihood that an employee’s connection to the program. For example, Blue Shield came up with the Wellvolution for their employees. This Wellness initiative is entirely branded and marketed to be consistent with Blue Shield’s company mission.
Additionally, don’t forget you have Wellness Enthusiasts who are already part of your company, utilize them! Create a wellness channel on your instant message platform where wellness advocates can make recommendations, based on what works for them, or where they can share their personal Wellness Successes!
Lastly, you have a people operations team, use their knowledge of your culture to help you create a program and/or have them analyze the survey results you collect after every Wellness activity, to determine the effectiveness of each initiative. FitPros’ team always wants what is best for your employees. It is our mission to make health and wellness accessible to all. FitPros is happy to organize, implement and manage all the logistics of your wellness programs, but we need you to endorse and market it. With an efficient communication strategy, you are more likely to generate buzz, and keep employees interested in all things wellness!
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