3 tips to promote your wellness program

Here’s how to boost buy-in and spread the good word about well-being inside (and outside) the organization.

3 workplace wellness promo tips

More than 80% of large companies offer wellness programs, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation’s survey—and more companies are broadening their wellness offerings every day.

That doesn’t mean today’s remote employees are fully aware of the benefits available to them.

Here are three ways bridge the gap to increase awareness and engagement in your program:

1. Create an internal marketing plan.

Approach your internal audience like you would an external one—using the same marketing tactics to pinpoint pain points you can resolve.

That doesn’t mean you have to create “user journeys” or “buyer personas,” but you should at least strive to understand the health challenges facing employees, said Jeff Gwynn, director of employee engagement at WorldVentures Holdings, during a recent Ragan workshop about workplace wellness.

He also recommended building in a productive feedback loop and embracing a data-driven approach to tracking what’s working. At minimum, start measuring employee well-being engagement via a couple of pulse survey questions to highlight areas of concern.

Here are his seven steps to building a strong internal marketing plan for your wellness program:

[Get access to more content like this at Ragan Training’s Workplace Wellness video library.]

2. Focus on messaging—and behavior.

“Wellness emails, pages and other messaging channels need their own visual identifiers—including names, logos and templates,” said Gwynn. “Anything less suggests it’s not a priority and runs the risk of getting lost in the mix.”

He also suggested posting photos of wellness events, awards and recognition on your intranet, mobile app, Glassdoor and LinkedIn. “Whatever you do,” he said, “be consistent in messaging frequency, and try include an executive presence if you can.”

Yet messaging alone isn’t enough, according to Gwynn. “If you want to reach employees on a deeper level, you have to apply behavior change principles,” he said.

These include everything from rewarding to modeling behaviors. “For example, build a supporting environment, share testimonials, and include family and friends in well-being experiences whenever possible,” he said.

3. Pitch the press (carefully).

Nothing drives awareness like media buzz. It can also boost buy-in and lend credibility to your wellness program.

“Thrive Global has a good reputation on the beat,” illustrates Lauren Young, a workplace expert and special projects editor at Reuters. “Companies that work with them have implemented best-in-class programs, and I’m impressed with their holistic approach to combating burnout.”

However, many in the press remain dubious about the “well-being” surge.

“I’m not alone in that I’m skeptical that well-being programs are moving the needle,” Young says. “So avoid sloganeering. You don’t want to be seen as spin by reporters.”

Her advice is to embed well-being into your organizational DNA to show you “walk the walk.”

“Find and pitch real-life examples of how your program has helped,” she says. “Is it the mom working at home with two toddlers? Is it a millennial caregiving a parent with long-haul Covid?”

So who do you pitch if you have a good story to share?

“The Atlantic does some great coverage,” Young says. “Ditto for Quartz. Data also helps tremendously. Whatever it is, be honest about what is and isn’t working. Don’t be afraid to show your warts. We can all learn from each other’s mistakes.”

Brian Pittman is the Dean of Ragan Training and a Ragan Communications event producer. For more information about Ragan Training, contact brianp@ragan.com.

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