A group called Healthiest Employers has regularly named the University of Michigan as one of the healthiest workplaces in America. The University has also been recognized as one of the state’s top “healthy” employers. What does it take to earn these kinds of honors? A comprehensive wellness program that inspires employees to participate, and which has won first place in the “Wellness Program” category of Ragan’s 2017 Internal Communication Awards.
The U-M program, which focuses on physical, mental and emotional health, includes elements like exercise and relaxation classes, an annual physical activity challenge, stress management workshops, chef demonstrations, weight loss programs and more. The program also pays employees $100 for participating in qualifying activities, which in the past have included the completion of a health questionnaire.
However, in 2017 a change in the program meant the questionnaire would no longer be considered an eligible activity for the cash award. The communications team swung into action to communicate the change, including the fact that it would require participation in only two activities for staff members to earn the $100, using a set of communication themes to drive the awareness effort.
The slogan, “Choose your way to well-being,” was selected, and six staff members and one group were chosen to represent different U-M levels and geographies and help communicate the message through Q&A interviews conveyed in videos and articles, posters, emails and ads. The campaign also featured a strong social media component.
By mid-August, 10,576 staff members had completed one qualifying activity and 5,116 had completed both required to earn the award. Out of a population of some 47,000 employees, well over a third have at least started the program, an enviable percentage for any wellness program.
Congratulations to the team of Juanita Day, Matt Snyder, Michelle Braun, Nikki Weil and Nick Kaleba.