When a company desires to encourage wellness in its employees, it can be difficult to know exactly how to get involvement. Too many wellness programs fail because they are not properly marketed. Employees don’t see the value of the program or how he or she might benefit from it. They might not even know about it. In order to have a successful wellness program that not only benefits employees but also the employer, it is best to use marketing tools that are sure to get workers engaged.
How should a company market a wellness program? There is no one single, best way to market a wellness program. Understanding the nuances of the company and its employees is imperative to getting involvement. However, some of the best tools for marketing include the 7 Ps: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning, and people.
By applying the 7 Ps formula to the wellness program marketing strategy, companies have a better chance of achieving the level of engagement that they want. Taking it back to basics can be a crucial aspect of having a successful and utilized wellness program.
Application of Marketing Principles to Wellness Program
Any college marketing student can recite the 7 Ps – it is a basic formula that all marketing majors, minors, or class-takers are expected to know. It is an incredibly helpful concept that allows students (and marketers!) to get a grasp on how to best market a product. How can this be applied when the product is not a physical item, but something like a wellness program? Not to worry – the 7 Ps can be adapted!
A complete evaluation of the product is necessary to have a successful marketing campaign. In this case, look into what has been done in the past and failed. Was it the product (or program) that was a failure or was it something else? Understanding the program is crucial to being able to market it.
Consider the employees that will be putting the wellness program to work. Is the product something that fits these individuals? What needs to be changed. Knowing your workforce is the only way to offer a wellness program that is not only needed but wanted.
An honest assessment is the only way that a company can be sure that they are providing a product that the employees will want to use. While it is possible to market an item to people that do not need it, a service or wellness program is very different. The workers that want a wellness program that fits their needs are those that will likely be interested in the marketing campaign.
It is also a good idea to consider the wellness programs of competitors. Will employees leave the company to go work for a competitor that is willing to develop a product more capable of serving them? Don’t take that risk. Instead, learn about each competitor’s offerings and see how your own can be improved.
The price might seem irrelevant to many wellness programs, but in truth, not all companies offer free wellness programs. While some aspects of a wellness program might be free, other parts are discounted. For example, the local gym encourages employees to get a membership with the company’s wellness program. However, it is not free – it’s 25% off. While this is a good deal for most people, not all workers are interested in paying for a gym membership. (Check out this article we did on 30 Corporate Wellness Providers)
Another example is the discount offered for a weight loss program. Employees have the ability to get a 50% discount on Weight Watchers! This is a steal! Although this is true, it also means that employees have to pay out of pocket for half of the membership fee.
Employers might not be able to afford the bill for all employees to get a gym membership or join Weight Watchers. It would likely be a big cost. Taking price into consideration is imperative for marketing purposes, however. Talk to employees about their financial lives. Do they have the money left over after bills and groceries to put toward a gym membership?
Although discussing finances seems uncomfortable or rude, it is a great way to get a better understanding of what employees would be willing to pay for certain aspects of the wellness program. If a face to face chat about finances is not ideal, a survey can offer up information that can go a long way.
Perhaps the most popular of marketing aspects is promotion! This includes how you get the word out about the wellness program. Which methods and ways of sharing information are most effective when it comes to this kind of product? In truth, this is something that can be dependent on the kind of company that is in question.
Some companies will say that an email is a great tool for communicating information. Others, however, might believe that many emails get lost in the massive flow of emails that employees get on a daily basis. How do companies ensure that employees are educated on the wellness program available to them? (Check out this interview we did with Chris Wallace, Co-Founder, and President of InnerView Group. Chris discusses the best strategies to communicate with employees).
Aside from email, there are creative ways to promote a company’s wellness program. Flyers or posters that are placed in locations that employees have time to read something – like on the bathroom mirror, in the elevator, or on the break room tables. Creating and throwing a sign-up party is a great way to get a lot of involvement (not many workers would deny free food!).
By making a game of your promotion, there is a greater chance that people will see it and get involved with it. With flyers, parties, podcasts, free items, and other promotional tricks, getting the word out can be fun and simple. Use your imagination and come up with something great!
Where will the components of the company’s wellness program take place? If there is a gym membership offered, is it too far from the office? If the meetings for Weight Watchers is included, is it impossible to get to in rush hour traffic after standard work hours? Considering these parts of marketing a wellness program is imperative to getting involvement.
It is also important that you understand where you’re selling this program. Is this only something that comes up when a new employee is brought to the HR office? If so, consider offering new components (and existing ones) to employees in their own offices throughout the year. Pass out updated information regarding the program at the monthly company potluck or encourage involvement in the annual fun run while in a meeting.
For many employers, they feel as though employees should only be offered wellness programs at specified times and places. While that might seem like the standard, it does not have to be so. By breaking out of the norm and making wellness programs a priority amongst employees, the company has a better chance of getting the action they desire from workers.
The place in the case of wellness programs might not seem all too important, and while there certainly are more important aspects, it is a good idea to spread marketing aspects to many locations. If the HR office is the only place that informs employees of the program, the marketing is lacking.
How do you package a wellness program? In this case, the packaging is the source of all the information and details. Where promotional flyers are a great way to share small details and get employees interested, it lacks the knowledge provided by the packet of information most companies hand out. The problem with most wellness program informational packets is that they are often packaged with every other piece of information given to new employees.
Do employees really go through every document handed to them during an onboarding or orientation session? This often includes the employee handbook, tax information, a tree of the higher up employees, health plans and benefits, and the wellness program details. With everything provided to employees at once, it is likely that employees don’t even read the packet. If they do, it is often to scan it and see if there is anything important to know.
When packaging wellness program information, employers should be certain that it is readable, scannable, and attention-grabbing. Graphs, images, and easy to read data is a great way to help employees realize the importance of knowing the information inside.
Packaging in marketing also means the people providing the information. Imagine a chain-smoking, overweight, sunlight-avoiding individual giving employees information on a wellness program. The image doesn’t make sense. The person encouraging involvement in the wellness program must be someone that believes in the wellness program themselves.
Positioning in marketing refers to how a product or brand is thought of. This often means luxury or affordable, customer-oriented or company-centric, or something similar. How does the public view the company and its products? Knowing how to position a wellness program is part of marketing it.
This is another of those times in which a company must know its employees in order for the program to work. If a program is positioned as luxurious – high-end gyms, discounts on pricey smoothie mixes, or expensive gifts in return for participating – and employees are not the luxurious type, the positioning can fail the entire program.
Presenting a wellness program to employees that fit the overall company culture and personality types is crucial to getting the involvement desired. Learn about workers and you will discover a position that will attract most of them. If you develop a position that reaches the expectations of all employees, you’ve likely created a highly successful program.
Understand how the current or past wellness programs were perceived and you can discover ways to change it. Doing so will create a position that reaches employees and their families in a way that an improperly positioned program will not. Know your audience. The people are important.
People are typically a component of each of the marketing Ps, but it is one of its own because of the importance. Without people, there is no product. In this case, without people, there is no wellness program. This means the people behind the scenes that develop the program and those that participate in it. Both are required!
The right person must be selected in completing each portion of development in a wellness program and the right person (or people) must market it. It is vital that the creators get others to believe in the program so that those people and recruit others to believe in it too.
You might call these people a committee or a board. Those on the committee can discuss and determine the best ways to go about achieving the perfect marketing plan via the 7 Ps. They can ensure there is nothing that will get in the way of achieving success. Doing these things is great – but it means nothing if they do not believe that the program will make an impact on the lives of the employees they are marketing it to.
People are the main component of any wellness program because it is the people that have to make the changes to be well. By providing employees the means to do so, companies are treating their workers like people. This is perhaps the most important lesson in marketing a wellness program that can be learned.
The Benefits of a Successful Employee Wellness Program
It can be expensive to provide employees with an effective and useful wellness program. Sources say that employers can pay anywhere from $36 to $90 per employee per year for a good wellness program. That is $63 on average per employee each year. For a company with 5000 employees worldwide, that cost is $315,000 annually. Why spend so much on employee wellness programs?
The most obvious benefit of successful employee wellness programs is the improved health of workers. A great program will effectively decrease obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other physical diseases. It will also make great improvements in employee mental health and financial health. Lower stress levels in employees are wonderful for the overall health of the workers, but also make positive improvements in productivity.
Healthy employees are more likely to work longer. For a company, this means less time and money spent searching for new employees, decreased training costs to hire replacements, and no loss of productivity in the process. It also means that while working, employees are much more likely to get things done more efficiently. Rather than spending an hour of each workday staring blankly at their computer screen, healthy employees can get tasks accomplished in a timely manner.
A company that spends money on its employees’ health is one that shows those employees that they care. Employees are not simply numbers, but they are seen as valuable members of the team. This serves to keep employees for a long time, rather than losing them to the competitor.
Providing a great wellness program for employees is simply a good thing to do. While there are benefits for both the employees and the employer, it is a sign of respect and care that every company should offer. Employees spend a good chunk of their lives working for the needs of the company – a company that gives something in return is a good one to work for.
What are some parts of an effective wellness program that companies should include? Great ideas for wellness programs include quarterly competitions, charity walks, and healthy cooking classes. Access to exercise equipment, pools, and sports is another good component of a wellness program.
Does a wellness program have to be for physical health? No – wellness is a term that includes all aspects of being well. From physical and mental health to financial and family health – wellness programs should touch on all parts.