6 ways to effectively educate employees on your health benefits

You have health benefits and wellness programs for your employees, now what?

According to Roger Sahoury, D.C., author of Gladiator’s Guide to Corporate Health & Wealth: “When a team understands how much a company cares about each individual, people will work harder, be more dedicated and can more easily operate as one unit.”

The key word, however, is “understands.” Even if your employee health programs are thoughtfully designed and include useful features and benefits, if they’re not well communicated to employees in a way that excites and engages them, they will likely fall flat.

Here are 6 key ways to successfully communicate your organization’s health and wellness programs – and get buy-in from your employees:

1. Know your audience

As with all communications, understanding who you’re talking to and what motivates them are vitally important. After all, your employees may all work for your organization, but they’re not all the same. Make sure you uncover what individual members of your team are passionate about and frame your message accordingly. For instance, communicating the benefits of weight training or spin classes may be fine for some. But if that’s all you’re doing, you’ll be leaving out and alienating others who might be open to your program but need something else to motivate them.

2. Keep it short

Your employees are extremely busy and they’re likely stressed by their day-to-day work. They don’t have time to read a lot of “fluff” in their inbox, they have deadlines to meet. Ironically, a health program is exactly what they need but if they’re not paying attention, they’ll never find out. So, keep your communications to them clear, short and sweet – something scannable, like a 75-word nugget of knowledge or a one-minute video.

3. Make it achievable

Communicating your programs in one fell swoop is another sure way to fail your objectives and your employees. It’s the same reason many won’t set foot in a gym – achieving that level of fitness seems too impossible so why even attempt it? Instead, communicate small, realistic and achievable steps that your employees can build on. For instance, an email on healthy eating titled “The guide to healthy eating” may sound like unachievable mountain climbing to many but “3 foods that will boost your energy” is something that people can incorporate into their daily lives right away.

4. Make it personal

Infographics can be an effective way to get someone’s attention but be careful how you use them and whether they’re the right way to communicate to your employees. A dramatic statistic may seem impressive but it may also sound complicated and intimidating – an emotion that’s not conducive to engaging team members to join your program. When you use numbers, consider ones that link emotionally to positive personal change, fulfilment and hope.

5. Make it visible

Emails are an efficient and inexpensive way to communicate your wellness program in the workplace but they run the risk of being forgotten soon after they’re deployed. Out of sight, out of mind. Printed materials may seem wasteful – so be careful not to overuse them – but a postcard or magnet or small pamphlet that employees can attach to their note book, desk or cubicle wall can act as an effective long-term reminder. Frequent webinars and in-person sessions can also be effective tactics to educate employees on important elements of your programs as well as benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

6. Lead by example

Employees look to management for guidance on job performance and ways to advance their career but it shouldn’t stop there. Managers ought to also lead and motivate by example when it comes to health and wellness. For instance, let them know taking a break to go to the gym or for a walk isn’t just okay, it’s encouraged. Better yet, get your leadership to communicate directly to the team with inspiration and ideas, that work for them.

The bottom line? Health benefits and wellness programs work wonders – when they’re developed, implemented and communicated thoughtfully and successfully. It isn’t about forcing everyone to become fitness fanatics but about boosting energy, living with purpose, becoming more productive at work and achieving goals. Keep that in mind as you develop your communications.

To learn how Medcan can support healthy lifestyle in your employees, book a consultation with a corporate solutions advisor today.

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