Finding creative solutions thatare outside the typical plan design can further support employeeengagement and become a catalyst for participation. (Photo:Shutterstock)


Today's employee population is more multi-generational than ever, with35 percent of the workforce now made up of millennials,and aging boomers remaining longer in their careers. Creatingengagement across such a spectrum means wellness programs must allow for morepersonalization with meaningful benefits. There are four key areaswhere new enhancements and innovative thinking can createmeaningful engagement to drive greater participation and yieldresults.

1. Digital tools

When developing a communication plan for a wellness program,it's important to understand the resources available to engageemployees. In addition to email, employers may have an intranetsite, mobile site or even internal social channels available foremployees to access. By capturing the full scope of employeecommunication channels, the program design can utilize multiplechannels across digital platforms to keep employees connected andengaged.


Read more: Digital tools top factor in employeesatisfaction


It's also important to connect with employees through channelsthat are most convenient for them. An external resource website orhelpful links page may be more beneficial for employees to accesswellness information when away from work. While printed materialsand email are still valuable ways of sharing information,millennial employees also expect to communicate through socialnetworking, instant messaging, and other digital channels.

2. Personalized service

Employees want an experience that meets their needs, and onethat can be tailored to meet their goals. Health coaching is anessential element to delivering personalized service to employees,capable of adapting in real time. By combining digital tools andonline wellness platforms with a trained health coach, employeescan fully engage in a focused set of services. For example, anemployee engaging with a health coach for stress management, thecoach may learn that finances are the driving force of the stressand refer the employee to resources (like an EAP) they didn't know, or forgot, wereavailable to them.


And with more millennials entering the workforce, the issue ofloneliness and social connectedness becomes aprominent issue. Recent studies demonstrate the impact socialissues can have on an employee's health. The live, one-on-oneinterpersonal communication can provide emotional support toemployees. Again, these valuable experts can offer guidance andresources to employees' well-being needs across a full spectrum ofbenefits.

3. Meaningful incentives

For program incentives to be beneficial (and drive action) theymust be impactful to the workforce. How incentives are organizedand presented can greatly impact employee decisions and behaviors.By offering employees a variety of options, they can select whatmatters most to them.


Incentives should align with the primary goals and objectives ofthe overall benefits strategy. Employees may perceive behaviors oroutcomes with a higher incentive value as more important and shouldbe taken into consideration when implementing a program. Ifincentives are going to be part of a wellness program, be sure touse them as support for achievements in the program and not simplygiveaway gifts.

4. Workplace culture

Employer support plays a key role in creating awareness anddriving utilization of wellness programs. Plan design, digitaltools, communications and incentives are all important componentsof a wellness program; but without support for employees from thetop-down, and a workplace culture that reinforces participation,the program will largely go unused.


In many cases, wellness programs can be foundational in creatinga workplace culture. Employers may even use key moments tied to thewellness program to hold health-focused lunch-and-learn sessions,or sponsor health-focused events in the local community. Especiallyfor workplaces where all employees work in the same location,participation in health challenges and group wellness activitieshelp to create a more engaged workplace and more employeesatisfaction with their roles.


Finding creative solutions that are outside the typical plandesign can further support employee engagement and become acatalyst for participation. And by understanding a workforce'sunique qualities, providing personalized guidance, and top-downsupport from company leaders to drive engagement, meaningfulwellness programs play an essential role in improving the health ofthe nation's workforce.


Melissa VoigtMelissaVoigt is a strategic account director for StayWell. In herrole, Melissa leads a team of strategic account executives toprovide guidance and consultation to clients. She is anaccomplished health management professional with over 15 years ofexperience in total population health management, accountmanagement, onsite well-being program management and productdevelopment.

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