Why You Need A Wellness Communication Plan
Oftentimes, employers feel like they can’t contribute to their employee’s well-being, due to lack of resources to finance or administer these programs. While limited resources are a valid reason for not being able to build a comprehensive program, it does not mean that employers can’t help their employees improve their overall health and well-being. Most times, simply educating employees on their available resources has a valuable impact.
Most employees are looking for help losing weight, eating healthier, or exercising more. The common underlying issue(s) keeping individuals from these healthy habits seem to be stress, anxiety or financial concerns. Understanding these factors is critical for employers as they look for opportunities to improve their employees’ health. It is equally as important to think outside the box and beyond our idea of what wellness programs have traditionally been in the past.
Many programs that employers already offer can be vital in the path to improving well-being for employees in a meaningful way. Addressing and assisting employees with how to best use their health care plan, providing transparency tools and education around how to use a health savings account or flexible spending account, can allow employees to save money for kids’ education, new home, retirement account or an emergency fund. Not addressing stress and/or financial concerns as a primary cause to poor health can be very detrimental to your organization.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) provide counseling and assistance for mental health concerns, and help employees navigate simple legal matters that may prevent healthy lifestyle changes. These programs can also aid with childcare or eldercare issues, and provide financial wellness education. Oftentimes employees do not understand these programs and the benefits they can have in many areas of their lives. Eliminating the stigma that has been associated with EAP programs is critical to increasing understanding and engagement. This starts with helping leadership, management and supervisors understand the benefits these programs can provide.
Health plans and the programming they offer are also an underutilized tool in the employee well-being toolbox. While health insurance isn’t always easy to navigate, there are programs embedded into every plan to help employees find their way around the system and improve their health. Discounts to fitness facilities, wellness coaching, disease management programs, transparency tools, and online behavior change challenges are available through carriers, yet underutilized by employees. Educating employees about why they should participle in these programs and how to enroll is simple. Ask your carrier partners to help you create opportunities for education sessions where employees can ask questions and learn how to best utilize the programming based on their individual situation.
There is no magic potion to improving employees’ health and well-being. It requires a commitment to deliberate and sustain active communication. A strategic communication plan can pay great dividends, and with the right partners, it does not have to be an overwhelming task. Northwestern Benefit would love to partner with your organization to create a comprehensive communication plan that will educate employees on available programs, and how they can take advantage of these programs to improve their well-being.
Contact our Wellness Consulting Manager, Mary Pozatek, to develop a plan best suited for your organization’s needs.