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don’t ignore the business message in your wellness communications

January 3, 2011

in health communication

the prevailing wisdom on how to communicate about a company’s interest in wellness is to emphasize individual benefits (WIIFM) and to steer clear of how it benefits the company.

i cry foul.

if hordes of employees came into work overweight, diabetic and deeply depressed but were still productive and not sending the health care budget into cardiac arrest, few companies would be talking about well-being. employees aren’t dummies. it’s insulting to gloss over a chief reason companies are interested in their health. it fuels distrust, especially where a trust deficit already exists.

rather than make every health communication look and sound like a tampon ad (except for these, god love ’em), companies need to spell out the business reality. they must show the direct line between the benefits budget and a company’s profitability just as they do in business education on customer retention. if employees don’t readily see how their customer interactions affect the business, how can they be expected to see the connection to their unhealthy behaviors and uninformed health consumer decisions?

skip prevailing wisdom and address the emotional side and the rational side. the elephant and the rider. treat wellness like the business issue that it is.


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Cliff N. January 3, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Agreed–transparency between employer and employee will create a sense of ownership and dialogue around the program.


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