You may have created a top notch wellness program for your organization, but if you’ve missed a critical step to launching that program with a strategic communication plan, all of your effort, time and planning may go down the drain.
The February edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) included an article, “Promoting Healthy Workplaces by Building Cultures of Health and Applying Strategic Communications,” which highlighted the importance of strategic communications to wellness programs.
Below are a few ways that AdvantageHealth has found success with creating strategic communications:
- Treat Your Wellness Program as a Brand. Be consistent with overall messaging. Integrate your wellness program’s logo and tagline on all marketing and communication pieces. Employees should be able to recognize within a few seconds that the communications piece they see in front of them is regarding your wellness program. Create brand recognition with every piece you plan and design.
- Focus on Your Audience. Your communications piece should clearly state what’s in it for your target market. To do this, you must understand your audience, including their values and priorities. List the benefits of participating in your program. Keep it simple and clear, tailored and targeted. In other words, using pastel colors and cute images in a communication piece geared towards a male-dominated, blue collar workforce might not be overly effective.
- Develop your marketing mix. How will the message get to your employees? Can you think beyond the traditional avenues of emails, flyers and wellness boards? Some ideas may include:
- Give out talking points to management to discuss upcoming wellness programs with their teams
- Have senior leadership send out a letter and/or voicemail, encouraging all employees to take part in an upcoming wellness
- Use wellness champions to get the message out each month.
- Send direct mail to employee’s homes on a semi-annual or quarterly basis.
- Include personal quotes and testimonies from participants in benefits newsletters.
- Create table tents in the break room (even make a fun display!).
- Use email signatures (encourage your wellness champions to add a blurb about the wellness program to their signatures a few weeks before a big event).
- Display flyers in bathroom stalls.
- Have a kick-off presentation with a speaker before launching a 6 or 8 week program or challenge.
- Deliver a Clear Call-to-Action. Is it clear what next steps you want your audience to take? Have you defined a deadline so people know when they need to act? For example, if you are writing a promotional email for your clean eating challenge, you could state, “The first 100 employees to register for the challenge will receive a free clean eating shopping list! Click the link below to register before June 1st”. Utilize a customized banner image at the top of the email to grab attention.
- Create A Buzz! Designing and delivering strategic communications is both an art and a science. The “art side” of designing communication strategies is that you can have fun with your wellness program. Don’t be afraid to use strong visuals, exciting copy, teasers, bold pictures, and a clear call-to-action with each piece you design.
Kristine Keykal, Co-Founder & CEO of AdvantageHealth, has been helping businesses create custom, award-winning corporate wellness programs for over 20 years.