How to Promote Virtual Wellness Programs With Non-Desk Workers

On-site employees can benefit from digital wellness offerings just as much as remote employees.

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Engage your non-remote staff and support their health with virtual care and the right communication strategy

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, 71% of employers have increased their digital wellness and virtual care offerings, with a focus on now-remote workforces.

But what about the 26% of the workforce in roles that don’t translate into remote work, like those in retail, healthcare, and manufacturing? Non-desk workers can also benefit from virtual wellness programs — getting them started just requires a different approach.

Virtual wellness programs are a convenient way to promote general health, and address chronic diseases like diabetes, depression, and musculoskeletal pain. During the pandemic, 65% of patients in a survey said they plan to avoid non-emergency care because of coronavirus concerns. Virtual wellness programs give employees access to the care they need from home.

For companies with employees at their computer during the day, promoting a digital program can be as simple as sending a link over email. Communicating benefits to non-desk workers can be more complex, but it’s worth the effort to help your teams access the latest and greatest in virtual care. Follow the below tactics and messaging tips to build a benefits communication strategy that engages your employees and gets them feeling better, too.

Messaging tips that boost engagement

Simplify the steps in your materials

Psychologists have found that people can only hold 5 to 9 chunks of information in their mind at any given time. Employee benefit programs can be complex, so it’s easy to accidentally overcomplicate your materials and provide too much information. To help, make sure your employee communications have one clear call to action, whether it’s how to sign up for the service or where to go to learn more.

Consider simplicity in the layout and design of your materials, too. If you include a QR code, also share instructions on how to use it. When adding URLs to print materials, make them as simple as possible, and use real words rather than numbers when you can.

Make sure your employee communications have one clear call to action, whether it’s how to sign up for the service or where to go to learn more.

Get specific about how your wellness program helps employees

From hyper-targeted Facebook ads to email newsletters that feel like they were written with you specifically in mind, we’re more accustomed than ever to personalized outreach. HR managers know employees best. Keep your employees’ preferences and demographics in mind when creating your wellness program materials. For example, if your workforce skews older, outreach materials showing only young people might not resonate. Choose imagery that reflects your industry and workforce. Consider using branded colors to catch their attention, too.

Then, think about the benefits of taking part in your wellness program, rather than the program’s features. For a musculoskeletal employer program, for example, explain that the program “reduces pain” rather than just focusing on features like how long it takes to complete.

Create a sense of urgency

When possible, your wellness program outreach materials should include an answer to the question, “Why now?” If employees can only sign up for your program during open enrollment, you have a built-in deadline to include in your materials.

But many digital wellness programs are available outside of open enrollment. Words like “now” and “today” can help create a sense of urgency even in the absence of a deadline. For example, messaging for a behavioral health program could say, “Video chat with your new therapist today.” While the program’s availability doesn’t expire at a particular date, the message helps communicate that employees can start addressing their mental health concerns as soon as today.

Emphasize privacy

In your outreach materials, emphasize privacy protections that are in place for those who sign up for your program.

When it comes to healthcare-related programs, privacy is critical. People with physical jobs may be especially concerned about their manager finding out about health issues they’re experiencing. In your outreach materials, emphasize privacy protections that are in place for those who sign up for your program.

Communication tactics for non-desk employees

Give employees something to take home

Workers who are on their feet or on the road all day may not have time to read about employee benefits during the workday. Give employees an engaging handout with clear instructions to follow once they get home. You can also consider mailing postcards to employees’ homes.

Don’t rely too much on email

Up to 83% of deskless workers don’t have a corporate email address.
Up to 83% of deskless workers don’t have a corporate email address. And for many workers who aren’t at a computer all day, such as manufacturers or truck drivers, checking email on-the-go can be flat-out dangerous. If you’re sending emails about employee benefits, consider scheduling them for the evening when employees are home. Otherwise, you risk getting your message buried in other promotions from throughout the day — or not reaching many employees at all.

Use both physical posters and digital signage

Research shows that people need to see an advertisement 7 times before it sticks for good. Place posters in highly-trafficked areas, like hallways, at your time clock, or in the breakroom. If you have them, make use of digital boards and internal apps, as well. The more locations you can place your message, the better.

Empower team leads and managers

Weekly team meetings and check-ins can be a helpful opportunity to share information about your new wellness program. If your wellness program is available through an app or on a laptop, team leads can also demonstrate how to sign up in person, and answer any questions that come up. Conduct separate trainings with your team leads to ensure they’re experts in your wellness program before they share it with their teams.

Whichever communications tactics you choose, always keep the specific preferences and needs of your employees in mind. HR leaders know their people best, and with the right strategy, can reach employees wherever they are.

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