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Communicating a Well-being Campaign (and doing it well!)

Posted by Spitfire Communications on Mar 21, 2018 9:47:05 AM
Communicating a Well-being Campaign (and doing it well!)

There’s no better time to launch a well-being campaign than after annual enrollment to reinforce many of the health and financial wellness messages introduced during enrollment.

Corporate well-being programs offer many benefits to employers and employees through increased employee engagement and productivity, fewer absences and savings on health care costs. Did you know that for every dollar spent on a corporate well-being program, employers save an average of $3.27 on health care costs? (Source: Health Affairs)

At Spitfire, we believe that every corporate change initiative is only as good as its communication. Empowering your employees to listen and change their behaviors starts with a carefully planned and executed communication strategy.

We recently had the opportunity to work with a manufacturing company based in Massachusetts to expand the communication of their well-being program. The program originally launched in 2016 and the communications focused on building awareness by encouraging employees to complete biometric screenings and a health assessment. In the second year of the program (2017), the Company wanted to help employees find ways to adapt, change or improve a lifestyle habit. Thus, they were moving beyond building their employees' awareness of their health to taking action to improve their health. This was done through participation in well-being challenges and educational programs.

We’re proud to say that the Company experienced great success with the program – through higher than expected participation and engagement as well as a lot of positive feedback. And, drumroll please…the program was given a prestigious award for its success! 

Aside from just being a really fun project, what made this program such a success? See the brief case study below for some highlights:

Communicating the Program



Launch a successful well-being program while facing significant cultural challenges, such as:

  • Sites: Headquartered in Massachusetts with manufacturing sites in several states across the country.
  • Demographics: Skews largely male (average age 46).
  • Employee Population: Includes office staff and shift workers with short break times and rural sites – some of which are black carbon (a fine black powder or dust-like material) sites.
  • Long-Ingrained Risk Conditions: Obesity, low activity, poor sleep and the use of chewing tobacco.
  • Engagement: Before the rollout of the program, many would have described the population as resistant to change and suggest that the chances for engagement in changing health habits were particularly low.


Year 1 Rollout – 2016:

Grow an employees' awareness of their own health status through completing biometric screenings and a health assessment.

Financial incentive, aggressive multi-media communications campaign and flexible accommodations for workers to leave the plant floor, cleanup and get their screenings.

60% of employees and 40% of spouses participated – participation was open to all employees and their spouses.


Year 2  – 2017:

Move program beyond awareness to take action – getting employees to participate in improving their health.

Developed educational programs such as Tobacco Cessation, Heart Health, Joint Health and Financial Fitness – offering tools, webinars and onsite events. The Mindful Me Challenge and Great National Park Adventure were developed as challenge-based programs, the first of which included strategies to form habits to become more mindful. The second program encouraged employees and families to get outside and be active. They incentivized employees and spouses with individual rewards and winning sites received team awards.

Broadened the engagement and communications over a 6-month period:

  • Created a brand for the program, giving it a look and feel that tied to both the benefits communications and Company branding; but was recognizable as a distinct program.

  • Developed a communication strategy specific to the Company’s needs by identifying:
    • Generational preferences of communication channels (analyzing those available per site and through vendors),
    • Measurable opportunities/capabilities,
    • Key messages by humanizing the message/incentives (the “what’s in it for me” factor),
    • Targeted well-being champions/peer-to-peer channels, and
    • Relevant and relatable visual communications to engage the employee demographics.

  • As a result of our strategic planning, we created a detailed communication map that identified all of the communication touch points and their reach, timing, measurables and messaging (call-to-action/purpose).

  • Launched a campaign using a multi-faceted communication approach that leveraged vendor resources and included:
    • Home mailings to communicate with spouses,
    • Text messages to target the younger demographic,
    • Posters, monthly newsletters, marquee messages and site monitor announcements to build awareness and encourage enrollment/participation,
    • Break room placemats with educational-based interchangeable inserts, and
    • Program email blasts to encourage registration/participation, calling attention to mailers and other ways employees could access/learn about program details.

  • The Company incorporated gamification into the different challenges that they offered. The well-being portal’s dashboard allowed employees to feel as if they were participating in a game, bringing the challenges to life. Participants earned points by logging completed activities for both their Mindful Me Challenge (participation in activities designed to create mindful habits and reduce stress) and Great National Park Adventure (a way to “virtually” visit national parks by logging fitness miles).

  • The Company also sparked competition to garner participation in the programs. By pitting site against site and providing weekly leaderboard updates, good-natured peer pressure helped bring employees into the activity.

  • The Company used corporate giving as part of the challenges, allowing the winning site to donate $5,000 from the Company’s Foundation to their chosen charity. Employees spoke to this incentive being one of the main reasons that motivated them to participate.

  • Individual incentives, including t-shirts and Fitbits, were also incorporated as additional motivation to participate. The team recognized that family members can influence healthy behavior and that spouses had an impact on claims experience, so individual incentives were also provided to spouses.

Since this was the first year expanding the program, conservative targets were set as the focus was also on gathering baseline data and establishing a sustainable program for future years. The Company was very pleased with the results:

  • Registration in the Mindful Me Challenge was 2.5% more than their target – 1,856 activities were logged over the 4-week challenge.
  • In the Great National Park Adventure, registration was 3% more than expected – 73,934 miles were logged during the 6-week challenge.

Additional positive results included:

  • Cultural shift – departments cross-promoted activities, seeing the value in helping employees reduce stress.
  • Enthusiasm from employees – demonstrated by unsolicited emails and texts sharing their positive feedback.
  • Benchmarking – allowing for goal-setting and improvements to develop the 2018 program and set measurables for its success.

Looking Ahead

We look forward to expanding on this already successful communication campaign and to seeing our client reap the rewards of its 2018 program.

“Our well-being program is successful because of the engagement of our employees, the Company’s commitment to the program and our great partners, like Spitfire,” said Benefits Manager, Lisa B.

She went on to say, “When it comes right down to it, a budget of $150,000 to $200,000 can support this type of program and the communications needed to make it a success. And, knowing the program results in a more engaged and healthier workforce – and could mean one less high-cost claim, which equates to breaking even on that investment…it just makes sense.”


What are you doing to create a culture of well-being at your organization? We’d love to help you meet your well-being goals for 2018!

Tags: internal communications, measurement, effectiveness, Wellness Campaign

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