Naples, FL (PRWEB) May 24, 2012
According to Healthcentric Partners, Inc., the current “Engagement Gap” for employee health and well-being improvement programs can best be bridged with three strategic imperatives that employers can implement with the help of their vendor and health plan partners.
Frank Hone, Managing Director at Healthcentric Partners, cites the following areas as essential for achieving sustainable engagement and meaningful health behavior change:
1) Apply greater business discipline to all health behavior change and well-being initiatives
2) Inject more consumer marketing principles in employee messaging and outreach efforts
3) Provide deeper health and well-being context for individuals so they better understand the rationale of health improvement program offerings
Hone notes, “Right now, a tremendous amount of investment is being funneled toward programs and incentives aimed to creating a healthier workforce, but a lot of this effort is going to waste because there isn’t enough emphasis on engagement strategy.”
The overall healthcare market in the United States is, in fact, a very big business – it represents $2.6 trillion or 17.9% of the nation’s GDP. Many sectors of the market, such as hospital systems, health insurance plans, pharmaceutical companies, and pharmacy chains already have a fairly high level of business sophistication in running their operations.
Employers however, who are taking on an ever greater role in the health of their workforce, haven’t traditionally managed their health and well-being improvement programs with a business mindset. Doing so can improve program impact and efficiency. With clear strategic goals, dedicated resources, and measurable outcomes matched with active leadership endorsement and a supportive environment, there would be a greater ability to drive measurable ROI and ensure strategic sustainability.
By considering employee health and well-being as a line of business with investments and returns and by applying relevant resources, greater efficiencies and better results can be achieved.
Consumer marketing has historically been absent from many programs but now, as the market has evolved from an era of managing high risk employees to the current model of total population health and well-being improvement, the entire workforce is being addressed with messaging and promotion.
The consumer advertising experience has many good and relevant elements to adopt. And, as employers have begun to “sell” well-being initiatives under their health improvement brand, they can also build a more robust plan and incorporate the fundamental principle of “AIDA” to create Awareness, generate Interest, build Desire, and drive Action.
With a balanced mix of advertising approaches (e.g. strategically designed communications campaigns) and promotional techniques (e.g. the smart use of incentives), they can modulate each to find the right balance of story flow and motivation to forge deeper connections with good creativity and smart content.
Health and Well-Being Context
Having deeper context to the overall story is essential. Many employers do not sufficiently share their rationale for providing the programs they offer. By being more transparent about the need for health improvement, the cost implications and the benefits of a healthy work environment, there can be greater acceptance by employees to the programs being offered. And with the current trend focusing more on well-being, greater context there is needed, as well.
Employees need to understand that well-being is more than just keeping healthy and taking appropriate preventative measures. It involves balancing all aspects of physical, social and emotional well-being, along with financial and career components.
For years, the industry focused almost exclusively on the physical aspects and now, with the evolution to this broader scope, it is necessary to more fully and completely “define” well-being so that it can be better understood and appreciated. It must be served up as a “future state” that is truly desirable.
Frank Hone explains, “We believe that as organizations adapt and move along the health and well-being improvement spectrum, those innovative companies that will have come to understand well-being, will put forth extreme effort in making their workplaces fully suited to delivering on the promise of a “Culture of Well-Being.” This is destined to be a market differentiator and productivity enhancer. But to be effective, business discipline and consumer marketing need to be incorporated as well.”
Implementing and integrating each of these three strategies will take time, resources and commitment. The long term payoff will be evident to those that can see the upside and understand the business benefits of healthier workforce and workplace.
About Healthcentric Partners
Healthcentric Partners delivers consumer engagement strategy consulting and marketing solutions for health and well-being improvement service providers, health plans and employers. Their primary focus is on program assessments, effective branding, communications planning, consumer insights and strategic process. See more information at http://www.healthcentricpartners.com, and at The Well-Being Strategy Blog at http://www.well-beingstrategy.com.