You’ve worked hard to develop a great healthcare program for your employees. So why aren’t you getting results? While most employees have enrolled in basic health insurance, few are using the important perks you’ve provided. Now you’re left trying to figure out why.
- Do your employees not have any health problems? That’s unlikely. According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults have at least one chronic disease, like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease.
- Do your employees not care about their health problems? Again, that’s unlikely. The APA’s Stress in America study found that 46 percent of people report being stressed about their personal health.
- Do they not know how to participate? This seems more likely. Maybe they’re intimidated by the program, or maybe they don’t know enough about it.
Don’t let all the work you put into developing healthcare programs go to waste. Take steps to educate your employees on how to use them effectively.
- Get the word out. Sure, you’ve already sent out a memo about the smoking cessation program, but if you really want people to participate, you need to send out multiple messages in different ways:
- Posters in the bathrooms and breakrooms
- Text messages
- In-person communication
If it seems redundant, consider the mere exposure effect. According to this psychological phenomenon, the more we see something, the most positive we feel toward it. It can explain why songs you hear every day grow on you, and it can make your employees more interested in a program they keep hearing about.
- Provide clear information. Your employees are busy doing the job you pay them to do. They don’t have hours to spend reading long, hard-to-understand documents detailing health programs. Use other formats to breakdown the key points:
- Short videos
- Web tutorials
Once people understand the program, they’re more likely to participate.
- Lay out the rewards. If your company offers an incentive for participation, make that clear. Otherwise, focus on what can be gained from successful completion. What are the average health benefits? What are the average financial savings? Let people know exactly what they stand to gain.
- Get management on board. Let’s say an employee asks a manager about the diabetes prevention program your company offers. The manager says he doesn’t know anything about it. Or maybe, even worse, he says he has some (unfounded) fears about it. If this happens, the employee probably won’t investigate further.
Proactively educate your managers about your healthcare and wellness programs. They should be able to answer basic questions and refer other questions to the right person, and they should do this in a supportive manner. Support is especially important if workers have to take time away from their regular duties to participate.