One of the most underestimated components of any corporate wellness strategy is employee engagement. The vitality and functionality of a corporate wellness program can simply be measured by the number of participants, and hence, should be an essential gauge of success.
So what are the key elements required to ensure maximum participation in your wellness initiative? How do you ensure you engage as many employees as possible? Here are some essential elements to consider.
Senior management endorsement can go a long way. A visible commitment from the CEO, for example, can set the scene for the entire program by highlighting the company’s support.
Engaging employees in the design and decision-making process can generate an element of buy in. Wellness Champions and Wellness Committees are a great way to enlist support and create advocates on the ground. Co-creation can ensure you are capturing your team’s needs and wants, paving the way for greater relevance at the program’s blueprint phase.
Removing barriers to participation can assist in making it easier to take part in the program. Simple strategies can include:
Running the program’s activities in convenient locations on site
Online solutions accessed from home
Catering for shift workers
Allowing employees to access the program during work time
It is important that the program comes across with no hidden agenda. Outlining the objective(s) upfront and ensuring privacy and confidentiality will assist in establishing participant confidence.
Incentives are a great way to stimulate participation without being the sole reason for participation. Creating a bias towards program users can assist in driving new participants whilst acting as a retention tool for current users.
The program needs to be relevant to the employee population in its content and format. The ‘what’s in it for me’ question should be answered. Areas for consideration include employee:
Health risk profile
Education and literacy levels
Health areas of interest
The program needs to be broad in scope and design, and attract the masses. Interesting topics, novel approaches and interactive components and can all assist in engaging large numbers of employees.
Crucial to any wellness initiative is effective marketing and communications. Strategies to achieve this can include:
Creating a wellness brand
Use of innovative communication mediums – eg. smartphone apps
Selecting a key messenger – for example, bringing in a celebrity or credentialled health expert.
Word of mouth endorsement and quality programming can feed the participation cycle in a positive and engaged manner. It can also stimulate new users as well as create program loyalty and advocacy.
About the author:
Chris Rabba is General Manager of Peak Health Management, part of Bupa.