EXCLUSIVE: Wellbeing strategies need effective communication to engage


Employee Benefits Connect 2019: Employers need to invest more into effective communication and engagement strategies when it comes to health and wellbeing initiatives, according to Mark Witte (pictured), head of health and risk consulting at Aon, and Sarah Robson, senior communications consultant at Aon.

Addressing delegates as part of the health and wellbeing stream at Employee Benefits Connect 2019 on Wednesday 27 February, Witte and Robson explained that participation in wellbeing initiatives is often too low, and that employers need to invest more time and money into their communication strategies.

One of the key benefits of doing this, they reported, is the increased likelihood of reaching employees at the prevention stage, rather than providing them only with reactive treatment.

Witte stated that it is important for employers to re-evaluate where they spend their benefits budget, in order to maximise the value of their investment. This will better improve employees’ health overall, and save money by, for example, reducing sickness absence.

Employers should create an engagement strategy, Robson told delegates: “We believe this is really important to understand what you are trying to do, what behaviours you are trying to change, and to ensure that everyone is aware of what you’re doing and understand your wellbeing initiatives.”

The pair also reported that employers would do well to ensure they are communicating benefits in the most effective ways possible. For example, HR leaders might consider using videos and mobile apps to spread messages. Alternatively, they could create a wellbeing brand by grouping relevant benefits together and promoting them as a package.

Without solid communication and engagement strategies, the money invested in buying and providing benefits is potentially wasted, so employers should consider these seemingly more peripheral elements as a core part of any health and wellbeing strategy.

Robson said: “It’s all about awareness: you’re putting these things in place, are you really telling your employees about them, are you engaging them?”