When employees feel their employer cares about theirwell-being, they are 38 percent more engaged and 18 percent morelikely to go the extra mile, according to a 2015 survey.

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At Montana University System (MUS), we take this to heart. Our8,000 employees are passionate about providing a high qualityeducation — but this can also lead to stress, long work hours andlimited time for self-care.

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We developed a fun, simple and relevant well-being program — MUSWellness — that inspires our employees to become champions of theirpersonal well-being.

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Since launching the program with a well-known vendor'stechnology four years ago, high-risk MUS employees have reportedimprovement in sleep by 17 percent, energy levels by 14 percent andthere’s been a 20 percent improvement in self-care scores.

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But we faced a big challenge: We do not have a centralized emailsystem across our 14 campuses. How would we drive awareness for employees spread across thestate?

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Here’s a look at how we reached our people — and made ourprogram a success.

1. We set goals.

Leaders at MUS want to create a positive well-being programthat’s easy to use, no matter what unique goals our employees wantto achieve. Our goal is for MUS Wellness to feel simple, accessibleand fun.

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And it’s important that the program invests in the whole person,with activities to improve well-being inside and outside ofwork.

2. We positioned our program managers as well-beingcelebrities.

We are fortunate to have a licensed nutritionist and a certifiedfitness instructor running our program. Neal and Cristin not onlywork hard — but are charismatic, informed and care deeply about ouremployees.

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We positioned them as the face of MUS Wellness through a fun andinformative blog, on-site visits, how-to videos and personalrelationships with program users.

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When employees see them on campus, they know a new programchallenge is brewing.

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It's possible to drive awareness of wellness without emailing your employees -- here's how. (Photo: AP)

3. We used other forms of communication.

When MUS Wellness launched, Neal and Cristin visited eachlocation to introduce the program and help employees register.

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We launched a “Race to the Finish” challenge to encourageword-of-mouth, awarding points to employees who got theircolleagues in the door. As a result of the challenge, 13 of 14campuses reached the registration goal of 60 percentparticipation.

4. We connected to state pride.

MUS employees love their state. So we launched a “406”(Montana’s area code) challenge series.

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For example, the “Trek the 406” step challenge rewards employeesfor walking the equivalent length of well-known historical routes,such as the Beartooth Highway or the Lewis and Clark Trail.

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These popular challenges tap into employees’ personal passionsand reward them for soaking up their surroundings.

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Using a blog, making wellness advocates 'celebrities' and other tips. (Photo: Getty)

5. We leveraged our blog.

Our blog, Montana Moves & Montana Meals is a popularemployee resource with content on exercise, nutrition, eventannouncements and employee well-being improvement stories.

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Blog posts get readers excited about well-being and direct themto MUS Wellness where they earn points for their healthybehavior.

6. We harnessed the power of video.

Using video, we can bring Neal and Cristin’s energy to eachemployee’s desk. They create simple but engaging cookingdemos, exercise “how-to’s” and blooper videos to keep the programlight and fun.

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The videos are promoted on MUS social media channels likeTwitter and Facebook — and always drive employees back to MUSWellness.

7. We incorporated interactive video.

Neal and Cristin’s videos were such a hit, that we launched avendor's video and quiz tool that turns bite-size videos andpresentations into targeted well-being challenges. With thistechnology, we can easily share videos and then test users’comprehension with quizzes, while rewarding employees forwatching.

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The product also offers analytics so program managers can seewhat videos are being watched and what people are retaining.

Getting creative

MUS wants its employees to be happy, healthy and engaged.Although we’ve faced barriers along the way, the MUS Wellnessprogram consistently brings new-found motivation to our employeesacross the state.

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By getting creative with different strategies and forms ofcommunication, we’ve been able to successfully drive a powerful andimpactful well-being program.

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