How to Get Employees to Actually Use Your Wellness Program

By Eric Mann | May 9, 2016 | Rally Health

Best practices

When it comes to your employees’ health, one crucial challenge is getting them to care about improving it. Studies suggest that a healthier workforce may lead to lower costs, better patient outcomes, and improved morale. It’s also a great way to boost benefit satisfaction.

But how do you get there? The trick is to engage your team in improving their own health, while offering effective support along the way.

Engaging employees isn’t as difficult as you might think. Rally®works with thousands of employers, including 35% of the Fortune 500. Our customers represent tens of millions of eligible members, and our platform has helped benefit leaders engage employees, both intrinsically and with hundreds of millions of incentives.

Want to know what drives all this engagement?

Part of it is really beautiful design. Rally Health® made its mark as a leader in designing products and communications that actually engage people. So the lesson here is to invest in how your product and your communications look as well as how they operate. Is it visually appealing? Is it easy to open, easy to understand, easy to click through all the way? And most important, is it enticing? Even lemons are better in lemonade form.

But great design is not enough. Employees won’t use a platform if they don’t know it’s there or what it’s for. Here are some best practices for engaging employees based on Rally’s experience.

Rally’s Best Practices

Provide executive support. Engagement starts with you. Rally’s most engaged populations are with employers whose executives provide consistent support, communication, and promotion. Does your CEO like to jog? Then include an image in your communications. Better yet, have your wellness program emails come from him or her periodically.

Offer Incentives. At Rally, we’ve found that employees who are incented to use the platform are far more likely to do so. We strongly recommend you consider offering this perk! Studies show that the investment you make in rewards can pay off with lower health care costs. Incentives are especially helpful when first launching a wellness program, or to reach those who may have fallen off the bandwagon.

Communicate by email. Communication is more effective if it’s focused — specific enough that employees feel you’re speaking to them personally. For example, an article on the Zika virus might be more interesting to people living in mosquito-prone areas. And communicate frequently; it works. Employees need reminders, insights, and tips on how to improve their health and take advantage of the offerings you’ve put in place to help them. Don’t be shy. You’ve invested heavily in building programs for your team — make sure they get the word so all those programs get used.

Use multichannel campaigns. In their personal lives, your employees are exposed to content on mobile phones, computers, and tablets, via email, through social media, and elsewhere. Mix up your communications to catch your employees where they are. At Rally we communicate across different channels, leveraging social media and more to engage our members.

Test and measure. You can’t fix it if you don’t know what’s broken. The Rally platform lets you collect a lot of insightful data about your population, but data is only useful if you know how to read it. Make sure to measure everything you do to understand what motivates and inspires different segments of your population. The result will be unified wellness communications that are useful, intuitive, and keep people coming back.

Hold memorable events. When’s the last time you came home after a work event and said, “What an amazing day”? It’s probably been a while, because many events tend to follow a template, which can get stale. When doing Health Fairs or other benefit-oriented events, give them some spark to deliver real value. If you want your message to stick, your employees need an emotional boost as well as an educational one.

Here are a couple of fun examples we’ve used successfully:

  • To encourage movement, Rally has a Mission called “Dance Anytime.” To bring it to life, we set up a “silent disco,” in which we handed out bluetooth headphones and had a DJ who had different playlist options. Team members could dance together, while listening to their preferred style of music.
  • To help people learn the benefit of regular stretching, we set up a giant onsite Twister board that employees could twist on together.

The result? Lots of laughs and some great pictures that had an emotional impact while demonstrating how easy it is to take basic steps toward better health.

Eric Mann heads up marketing efforts for our key partners. He has more than 20 years of technology and health care marketing experience, leading browser marketing for Netscape and product marketing for Oracle Health Science.


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Articles on Rally Health’s website are provided for informational purposes only, as a free resource for the public. They are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Rally Health does not accept solicitations or compensation from any parties mentioned in the articles, and the articles are not an endorsement of any providers, experts, websites, tools, or financial consultants, services, and organizations.