With employer healthcare costs on the rise, workplace wellness has become the hot topic among HR professionals and employers. But what starts with excitement and enthusiasm is often met with frustration as employees under utilize these programs or do not use them at all.
Enter social media. The low cost solution that can, with a little time and effort, help businesses achieve their wellness goals. According to a survey published in The Wall Street Journal, worker’s health is a top priority for employers in 2013. In that same survey, a whopping 48% said they plan to implement or utilize workplace wellness programs as the main method of tackling the issue. So how can social media be used to get and keep more employees engaged with these programs? By making it sexy of course! In other words make it interesting, fun, exciting - something people want to get involved with. Here are several ways you can use social media to bolster you corporate wellness strategies:
- Gamification- Social gaming is a 7 billion industry. Combining corporate wellness and social gaming utilizes the online experience many employees already engage in outside of work, and draws on that age-old love of playing games. It can be as simple as starting a Biggest Loser competition in your office and posting the leaders progress weekly on Facebook. By utilizing a third party app like SonicBoom, it can be a more sophisticated, multi-game platform.
- Turn social profiles into a wellness hub- Simply sending a company-wide email with your company’s wellness plan is not enough. Use your social media profiles to drive home the message by turning them into a wellness hub, full of reminders, tips, advice and words of encouragement. Doing so reinforces the importance of your wellness program in the minds of employees, as well as gives them easy access to the tools and information they need to succeed.
- Build the buzz- Use social media profiles to make your wellness program something employees want to be a part of. Post pictures of employees participating in a local 5k, start a Facebook contest between employees around a health goal or highlight individual employees succeeding with the program. Visibility often increases accountability on the part of the employee, and other employees who see their colleagues participating in these programs will be encouraged to join in as well. As an example, here at Benefitfocus we offer a free boot camp to employees. One of our associates posted a picture from the class on our Facebook page - not only did it boost interest in the class, it also increased the number of employees participating.
With a little time investment, social networks can be excellent tools to boost employee participation and engagement in your corporate wellness strategies.