If you’re like most organizations, you may struggle to find ways to attract, engage and retain your employees. The challenges of the pandemic and new changes in how we work have made this task even harder. While there’s no silver bullet, we believe a good well-being program can improve employee engagement, and increase employees’ productivity and performance. Here are our best practice ideas for creating engagement in your well-being program.
I’ll start by saying that simply having a well-being program is a driver of employee engagement in and of itself! It shows employees you value them as human beings, not just workers, and you’re willing to invest in areas that can improve their health and well-being across their whole life. That alone can lead to increased engagement and productivity.
But what are the specific areas to focus on that lead to greater engagement with a well-being program – and sustain it over the long haul?
Ensure good and frequent communication.
Communication is a major component of a successful well-being program. After all, people can’t participate in a program if they don’t know about it! Here are some tips:
- Use a variety of media. Flyers, posters in the office, home mailers, e-newsletters, and emails can help spread the word. Keep in mind that remote employees won’t see any posters or monitors displayed in an office. And warehouse workers or retail employees may not have access to email communications as easily as office workers. So be creative with workplace social media and videos that people can view on their phones, or consider a texting campaign.
- Communicate early and often. The new year is a great time to kick off your communication campaign as people refocus on health after a busy holiday season. Make sure to plan out a years’ worth of communication outreach to keep the well-being program top-of-mind.
- Adjust based on current events and employee needs. Keep your ear to the ground to learn about what’s important to employees. For example, if your benefits team notices an uptick in questions about mental health resources, send out reminders about solutions and support you offer.
- Be sure to brand. Like any good marketing campaign, a well-being program needs a readily-identifiable brand to differentiate it from other programs and benefits the company offers.
Assign a dedicated wellness coordinator to oversee the program.
Having an employee who exclusively manages the well-being program—rather than adding it to a staffer’s already long list of responsibilities—can help engagement. Like the well-being program itself, dedicating a resource shows that the organization truly cares about and is committed to well-being. It also adds a human element to the program – someone who can talk with employees during the day about well-being, answer questions, host events, and point employees to specific well-being resources.
We recommend starting with at least one resource to help plan and manage the program. From there, consider adding other roles—like health coaches, program coordinators, and site-specific program managers—to help boost engagement and results across the organization.
Create and utilize a wellness champion network.
A wellness champion network is an incredible tool for building excitement and awareness about your program—and getting people to take that first step toward participation. Chances are there are already employees in the organization who are passionate about well-being. They make great boots-on-the-ground cheerleaders who can educate, motivate, and keep coworkers excited. They typically partner with the wellness coordinator or the WebMD Health Services Dedicated Well-Being Services team to:
- Promote employee well-being at a local level;
- Distribute communications to participants at their specific location;
- Participate in onsite events; and
- Inspire others to continue engaging in the program.
Offer a range of programs to meet employees wherever they are.
Every individual in your organization is at a different stop in their well-being journey. Some may be just starting out, trying to increase physical activity and eat better. Others are managing a chronic condition and need help sticking to a health protocol. And there are some who are already committed to their well-being and need encouragement to keep going. Offering a range of programs, tools, and software that employees can choose based on their specific needs is key. For example, WebMD Health Coaches are trained and certified in specific fields to support each individual’s coaching needs, like Lifestyle, Condition Management, Positively Me®, Quit (tobacco), Group Coaching by WebMD, Daily Habits, and more. Employees can choose one or multiple programs based on their health goals.
Provide different modes of engagement.
Not every employee is ready to make massive changes to their health, nor is everyone eager to start in-person coaching sessions right off the bat. That’s why it’s important to offer a variety of ways to engage in the well-being program, like:
- Coaching – both one-on-one and group coaching with different ways to engage: in-person, by video, or by phone.
- Promotional events, wellness challenges, and contests – both virtual and in-person.
- Educational content that people can access on their own time – like apps, on-demand webinars, or podcasts.
- Company-sponsored well-being activities during the work day.
- Open office hours where people can meet the wellness manager or Dedicated Well-Being Services team in a private, 1:1 setting.
Focus on social connections.
Intentionally fostering social connections at work through a well-being program can help improve morale, collaboration, and productivity. And it’s especially important now with so many remote workers and different work schedules. You can plan in-person events for the whole company, single departments, or even local meet-ups for employees from the same region.
The WebMD Health Services platform features a program called Community, which is an internal-facing social media element that helps employees connect with others in their organization who are interested in the same dimensions of well-being. They can join groups, post questions, share their stories, and encourage others to keep working on their well-being. Many clients also link their Employee Resource Groups to well-being, offering points for attending various events that connect employees with one another.
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We hope it’s been helpful to learn about the employee engagement strategies you can use to bolster engagement in your organization through your well-being program. Stay tuned for next week’s blog where we discuss why it’s important to measure employee engagement with your well-being program and how to do it. In the meantime, if you’d like help with types of strategies you can use to build your employee engagement framework, visit our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.