You put a lot of time and energy into selecting the benefits you offer your employees. And, if you’re like 59% of employers, you’re including some type of wellness program in your offering. In theory, it should be easy. Who doesn’t want to improve some aspect of their wellbeing? The numbers confirm this: 87% of employees are open to employer-sponsored wellness programs.
But at the same time, according to research by Willis Towers Watson, only 33% of employees agree that the initiatives offered by their employer have encouraged them to live a healthier lifestyle.
You want your employees to be healthy. They want to be healthy (and don’t mind you offering assistance in this area of their lives). You offer programs to help them be healthier. And somehow all these points aren’t connecting.
So what gives?
It might all come down to this: communication. How well are you marketing your existing programs to employees? If they don’t know the full extent of the programs you’re offering, it’s going to be hard for them to take full advantage of them, so it’s only natural that they won’t find them effective.
Keep in mind that employees get inundated with information every day, and not everyone likes to receive news in the same format. So it’s essential to come up with a comprehensive plan to market your program to employees.
Here are ten ideas to help you start marketing your wellness program to your employees.
1. Host a live onsite sign-up event
Hosting a live event gives employees a chance to have all their questions answered on the spot. You can invite a wellness team member to spend some time in a lounge or common area to discuss the new offering with employees and sign them up right then and there. If you’re working with outside vendors, you could also invite a brand representative from your wellness partner, or even an actor who dresses up in a themed costume and piques employees’ interest and engages them in conversation. Few things can drive program enthusiasm and sign-ups like a good, old-fashioned event.
2. Set up an onsite sign-up kiosk
Another option is to set up a laptop or iPad that allows people to sign up as they walk by, right when they learn about the offering. This allows employees to engage with the program in a more private manner. (For LifeDojo partners, we offer to assist with setting up a metal, lockable stand/case for an iPad to prevent damage or theft.)
3. Post it on the wall
Place a big graphic poster or sign in the right context and it’s sure to be noticed. Try the kitchen, lunchroom, or break room and use the content to start conversations about healthy choices where most socializing takes place. For example, a poster about healthy eating in the lunchroom or a poster about stress reduction and relaxation tips in the employee lounge can have a great impact.
4. Organize a themed scavenger hunt
An office scavenger hunt with a wellness-related prize, branded with the challenge, nutrition program, or other offering can be a fun way to create office buzz—not to mention inject some excitement into the week. This could take the form of physical items to collect or questions to answer, with the answers being wellness-related, or photos to snap around the office on smartphones to encourage people to get moving. The prize could even be something wellness related like gym membership, sessions with a personal trainer, or CSA delivery. Get as creative as you’d like with this one!
5. Give away free samples
Everyone loves freebies! Partner with a healthy brand or popular local store or restaurant to give away some samples or snacks at a special sign-up event in the lounge or break room, or in the office towards the end of the workday. At LifeDojo, we’re happy to work with clients to facilitate or advise on these types of partnerships.
6. Run a desk or workspace decorating contest
Allow and encourage employees to decorate their desks or a common area around a wellness theme. Suggest employees form teams if they’re interested and let everyone vote on the best decorated desk or team area. Voting and the announcement of the winners can take place at a wellness-themed lunch event where you also provide information about sign-ups and encourage people to enroll.
7. Launch a caption contest
Post some funny health and wellness-related cartoons or images and let employees enter their captions. Employees can vote on their favorites or the wellness team can choose the winners. These can generate some off-color entries (so be careful with how they are presented), but also some good laughs and office fun.
8. Build excitement with a countdown installation
Create a countdown calendar or clock that changes daily: “X days until launch!” and indicates how to sign up. This can be combined with a larger art installation so it’s really interesting to look at. Are there artists in the office? Maybe one of them would like to help out with this project!
9. Offer voluntary health screenings
The key here, of course, is keeping this voluntary! Don’t pressure employees into participating, but let them know the service is available. Bring a health practitioner to offer screenings for body fat, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol etc. A member of the wellness team can simultaneously discuss and promote current and upcoming wellness initiatives.
10. Start a Slack channel!
If your company already uses Slack for internal communication, it’s simple to set up a new channel. You can share healthy snack ideas and recipes (some people may even want to post photos of their homemade meals), invite people to go on walks or do a quick yoga/stretching break, or answer any questions they have about your wellness offerings.
Now you’ve got a few ideas to get started, but we’d also love to hear from you. Have you had any success with building buzz around a wellness launch at your company? Leave us a note in the comments to let us know what you did and why you think it worked!
Editor’s note: This is an update of a post that was previously published on this blog. We’ve added some additional stats and info to keep it fresh.