Health promoters traditionally spend a lot of time and resources trying to attract attention to programs and services. The idea is the more you’re “out there” the greater the chance to engage employees. And while we’re big proponents of intense, multichannel promotions, we also know that to achieve a high participation level over the long haul, managers need to work toward irresistibility — the state where the wellness program draws people in without having to shout at them. Some keys:
Personality. If there is ever a department within an organization that deserves personality, it’s your wellness program — because although what you’re encouraging people to do is good for them, it’s not easy. Changing behaviors ingrained over decades is one of the most difficult things many folks will ever do. A wellness program with a little flare, that defies convention and brings a little levity to the challenges of improving health habits, can endear you to the population.
Personalization. The larger the organization, the harder the challenge of making your service feel personalized. In some instances you may have to make a trade-off, working with fewer targeted participants in order to have greater impact. That doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to the entire population with online tools, but for those who can benefit the most, there’s no substitute for face-to-face wellness program delivery that’s grounded as much in the relationship as it is the health science.
Consistent high quality. Think about your favorite coffee shop, online store, or restaurant. No doubt several things keep pulling you back, but a common element is consistency — you can depend on them to deliver each and every time. For wellness managers, that means making sure everything you do meets a standard you’re proud of and can reach with each service. That may mean you do a little less, but every offering is top shelf.
Surprise. The element of surprise adds spice to relationships as well as wellness programs — think of it as the unexpected flowers delivered for no particular reason. Look to delight participants in unanticipated, unconventional ways with things that don’t have to cost much, if anything — a note of congratulations, a mention on your wellness blog, a basket of fresh fruit for a job well done.
Patience. People are ready to commit to relationships at different times and varying pace. Don’t be in a hurry to gain commitment from those who aren’t yet ready to take that first or next step. Let them know you’re there when the time is right and you’ll attract a lot more than if they feel they’re being pursued.