“The problem with communications is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” ~George Bernard Shaw
Wellness is one of the biggest buzzwords in corporations these days. Companies recognize that healthy employees have a positive impact on recruitment, retention and productivity. However, more time usually is spent on developing the program compared with communicating the initiative. Often an afterthought, it’s one of the most vital elements of a program’s success. “A flawed plan well communicated is better than a perfect plan poorly communicated.“1
As I discussed on a recent blog post “Essential Tips for Successfully Communicating Change”, clear and transparent ongoing communications are essential to build engagement, pride and trust in the company and its leadership. A one-time communication will not evoke change. You must share information across mediums in a consistent way. If you choose to create a culture of health, you will need to:
- Discover what’s important to your employees,
- Create a program that combines their interests and yours,
- Implement initiatives in a phased approach, and
- Sustain participation and grow according to feedback
A successful wellness communication plan will foster an organizational commitment to employee health and engagement.
In the discovery phase, you need to explore what might incent employees to participate and why the workplace offers a convenient outlet aligned with individual health goals. Then, ask your core planning team a few key questions: What’s our definition of wellness? What needs to change about our current program? Why is this a priority now? Who will benefit and why? What role does wellness play, or would we like it to play, in our culture?
To match your intentions with employees’ interests and goals, “consider holding a half-hour roundtable discussion, or simply exchanging emails, to learn more about what kind of information (and delivery methods) they’d find most useful.”2 In general, using multiple mediums (meetings, postal mail, email, intranet, eBoard, posters and table tents) is important in any communications plan because everyone absorbs information differently.
With the data you’ve collected, you’ll want to develop objectives, strategies and positioning. Brainstorming on the name, logo and tagline for your program could be a team effort or company competition. You’ll also want to develop launch kit components, keeping in mind that one size won’t fit all.
In order to effectively communicate the wellness program, it’s best to start with encouragement from executives and line managers, who support and embrace participation. Then a good next step is to host a kickoff celebration and related events that support the campaign. For ongoing communications, keep the messages direct with actionable items included. “More companies and communities are realizing the antidote is a one-two combination — brevity and clarity.”1
The most common mistake I see companies make is limiting wellness communications to the launch of the program. One way to maintain visibility is to recognize and celebrate success: “Employee success stories should be highlighted and shared to help motivate others to make lifestyle changes.”3 In addition, companies should continue talking to employees about how the program is evolving, creating measurable milestones, and building additional stages of the program that grow along with your culture.
Following these four steps is vital to the success of your wellness program, so feel free to contact me if you’d like help in this area.
2 – https://www.hopehealth.com/starting-an-employee-communication-strategy-where-to-begin/
3 – https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/planning/communications.html