Want to build engagement? Think like a marketer. (Part 4: The “Product”)

We’re half way through this series, but 80% of the way through the most valuable drivers behind building engagement. Now it’s time to explore the activities themselves, otherwise known as the “product.” The individual programs in your overall plan are often driven by necessity (e.g. skyrocketing insurance claims, easy access through your benefits consultant or provider, an issue near and dear to the C-level suite), and the programs may be very valuable in your company’s view, but they don’t necessarily create enough relevance to the broad base of employees. So how can you balance company needs and employee needs?

The answer isn’t profound, but it is too often overlooked: just add a few elements to your program that have broad employee appeal, or at least have appeal to those segments you aren’t already addressing. Consider these elements the worm on the hook that interests the fish. Without the worm, it may be a long day of fishing looking for those fish that love to eat plain ol’ hooks, but with the appealing worm to draw employees in, more of them will get hooked on the more company-critical activity. If you get push back from the CFO or COO, explain that it’s part of getting the employees engaged in all programs, especially those that are crucial to the company. Marketers sometimes call this the “foot in the door” technique. Find something to get the employee to open the door, then you can sell them on the need to eat healthy.

Each company has its own unique needs, which is why you need to understand your employee base as discussed in Part 2 of this series. Here are a few suggestions on how to figure it out:

  1. If you have physical health covered, look into mental health.
  2. If you have special events like step challenges covered, explore an everyday resource that your team can use.
  3. If you have elements that drive people to talk to a professional (doctor, therapist, counselor, nutritionist, coach, etc.), give them a way to get information and help without having to talk to someone. (Caveat: this does not mean you should discourage your employees from seeking professional help, but rather you can also refer them to supplemental resources.)

In all these cases, I recommend you ask your benefits consultant or broker, if you use one, for ideas on what might be missing based on what you know about your employee base.

In the end, if you can find some elements to your portfolio of programs that appeal to a wide variety of needs, both the company’s and your varied employee base, then all the better. However, even if you don’t find something that broad, at least go beyond the current thinking of just physical programs to get more people engaged in your “product”.

More articles in this series

Written by: Doug Berkowitz, SVP of Operations at LifeSpeak