Employee engagement is the goal of just about every wellness and health management program. You need to engage employees to be more active, eat better, get more sleep. … You get the idea.
So why is engaging employees so hard? Maybe it’s because we haven’t really thought about it from the perspective of the employee – the end-user of the wellness initiative. According to research from a partnership of Aon Hewitt and The Futures Company, most people fall into discrete attitudinal segments that influence how they think and feel about wellness.
The folks in the C-Suite and most in leadership fall into a category that embraces a sense of control and responsibility when it comes to their health. And, they see wellness as part of the solution to important business problems: lowering costs and increasing productivity.
The average worker, on the other hand, has a completely different mindset. Here are a few of the attitudes that define nearly half of the U.S. population:
Likes high-tech media and social networking
Interested in group activities and competition
Wants to look and feel good
Wants recognition for their accomplishments
Trusts friends and family as information sources
In addition, while you might appreciate a lot of detail, the people you need to engage are not information-junkies. Try this approach with your clients and see if it doesn’t engage more of their workforce:
Make it entertaining and create some buzz: To get employees’ attention, it needs to be fun, hip, humorous, and exciting.
Appeal to what’s important to me:Tell employees how it will help them look good, feel good, and be more confident.
Make it easy: Today’s workers are stressed and starved for time, so it needs to be simple and uncomplicated.
Make me feel part of a community: Family and friends are important, and people like to feel connected to others.
Whether you are advising a client about products and services that will help them engage employees in wellness behaviors or you’re a benefits executive needing to achieve business objectives through improved health, wellness, and benefits consumerism, being successful might mean stepping outside of your own attitudes. Instead of approaching wellness as a way to solve the company’s issues – sell it to employees as a way to solve their issues. In other words, if you make it about them, you might just get what you need.
Box-Farnen is a communications consultant in Aon Hewitt’s Baltimore office. She can be reached at email@example.com.