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The Engagement Struggle – From Interactions to Engagement

This past week I teamed up with our client, American Airlines, to discuss engagement. During our presentation, we talked about the challenges of driving engagement—including the stark fact that only 33 percent of U.S. employees are actually engaged at work, according to the 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace study.

We also illuminated a path forward. I made it clear that in order to make a difference in an individual’s well-being and have a successful well-being program, you need to rethink your approach to engagement. You need to empower people with personalized options, provide a simple and streamlined experience and ultimately, create more meaningful interactions.

A different approach to engagement.

Engagement in well-being programs is often thought of in terms of rewards-driven actions. But, this one-and-done approach doesn’t provide a meaningful experience or lead to lasting change.

To achieve true engagement, it’s most important that you create a more meaningful experience. Instead of focusing on tasks, focus on interactions that promote activities with purpose and a holistic, future-focus. These meaningful interactions will create value; value equals engagement.

It’s time to be honest about the uphill battle that comes with improving engagement. Providing individuals with a more meaningful reason to interact with your well-being program won’t be easy. It’ll take time and commitment and won’t be achieved in a few quick steps or in a certain amount of time. But it is possible—and incredibly powerful.

Driving engagement for American Airlines.

American Airlines understands this challenge and has been committed to making the changes necessary to deliver a well-being program that their employees will value. For over three years, we’ve worked closely with them to improve the health of thousands of their employees, all across the country. But in that time, we faced all the usual engagement obstacles.

Many of their employees weren’t checking their work emails and were constantly inundated with communications, making it difficult to reach them. We also experienced a drop in health assessment completions over the years, which may have been due to program fatigue. But, we were able to overcome those challenges by focusing on three areas:

  • Awareness – We found alternate ways to reach employees. We hung posters in the lunch room, held safety fairs and various trainings for specific job roles, had road shows, sent home mailers and displayed monitor ads.
  • Interest –Pilots, flight attendants and in-flight crew do not have the same opportunities for healthy cooking and going to the gym. So, we offered a broad program that can be customized based on the user’s needs and interests.
  • Commitment – We showed our dedication to improving engagement by providing an ongoing strategic communications advice, holding focus groups, conducting surveys and offering additional wellness challenges.

While American Airlines found success focusing on these three areas, we know that your well-being program is unique. Our educational e-book, The Re-Engineering of Well-Being Programs, outlines additional tips from generating engagement that matters.

A person-first future.

At WebMD, we’ve learned that the future of engagement is about creating meaningful interactions. We’ve truly taken this to heart and recently developed WebMD ONE—a person-first well-being experience that empowers every user to choose what’s important and engage in ways that are most meaningful to them—at work, home and everywhere in between.

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