Using Communication to Engage Employees in Wellness Activities
Communication: The imparting of information or news. A means of connection between people. Activity of conveying meaning. A two way process of reaching mutual understanding.
Communication is vital in relationships, business, society, and nearly every aspect of life. It's no secret that being a good communicator helps you to form healthier relationships on all fronts. I was thrilled to read an article posted just yesterday on the Forbes website about employee engagement. Although the title didn't mention anything about communication the content harped on it. The article was based on using employee benefits to strengthen engagement. It states that organizations that have health care benefits and a wellness program statistically have higher engagement.
So, while we understand the importance of communication we must more importantly understand what to communicate, how to communicate, and who to communicate to. Although it would be nice, it is unlikely that when the CEO communicates an important message the line employees hear it or understand it. It isn't a lack of intelligence, but it might be because the CEO used a media form that isn't conducive to the line employee or the line employee doesn't understand the background of the information and therefore can't piece it together. The key is to have middle men (and women) to help deliver communication in a meaningful way.
When it come to wellness programs and activities, communicating is no less important! You have invested money into a plan that can provide you with a solid ROI. That is, if employees understand it. A one time explanation and some fliers around the office aren't going to get everyone eating healthy and exercising. It's a good start but it is not going to elicit high engagement or long-term engagement. Get your managers and team leads involved. Make sure your managers clearly understand the program and you have buy-in from them. Then determine the best way for the manager to deliver information to their teams. Some companies link manager performance back to wellness participation.
Another important form of communication is through your actions. If you are doing it, your employees are going to believe it is something they should be doing. If your managers are participating in wellness activities, their teams will know they feel strongly about it. Now we are getting somewhere. Now your organization has more than a wellness program. It has employees getting healthy.