Whether you offer an onsite clinic, access to a Network of health centers or provide a virtual care option, it’s important to create an employee communications plan and strategy to help improve the health of your team.

At Marathon Health, we’ve identified four areas to help employers increase healthcare engagement for better health outcomes, and of course, more savings.

Step 1: Remember your audience for your employee communications plan

The most important step to building your employee communications plan is to remember your audience – your employees. Ask yourself, “What is important to them? What motivates them? Who do they want to hear from?” If eligible for the healthcare services, you will want to think about your employee’s spouses/domestic partners and dependents and how you will communicate with them.

Next, ask yourself what tools you have available to spread awareness. Which of these communication vehicles are most effective in reaching your employees? In your line of work, if your employees are not primarily on a computer, then email is probably not at the forefront of your strategy.

Utilize your Employee Intranet, Microsoft Teams channels, Slack, email, text, push notifications, digital signage and good old snail mail to ensure your messages are distributed where your employees most obtain their information.

Now you can start building your content and creating a timeline for delivering your messages.

Step 2: Create a pre-launch campaign to build employee excitement around healthcare

The goal of your pre-launch campaign is to help educate your employees about the benefits offered through your employer-sponsored healthcare provider. Your materials should be co-branded to show that you are separate entities, working together.

If your employer healthcare provider creates marketing materials for you, it’s important that you don’t rebrand it with your company’s branding. Instead, use co-branded materials with your company and partner’s logos to reinforce your partnership messaging. This will also help ease employees’ privacy concerns that their health information will not go through their employer.

Before sending out mass communication to your entire employee population, announce your new partnership with your management teams or brand ambassadors. Arm these individuals with FAQs and talking points so they can accurately promote the services available to their staff and co-workers. Presenting this information at a monthly manager’s meeting can help streamline the implementation process and give an opportunity for your management team to ask questions.

After your management team has been notified, your company’s leader should send out an executive announcement to reveal the partnership and build excitement.

Tip: Who doesn’t like saving money? If you’re offering these services at no cost to the employee, say “free” rather than “no cost to you.” This phrasing drives more engagement.

Step 3: Build a launch plan focusing on driving healthcare engagement

Now that your employees are aware of their upcoming healthcare access, it’s time to send communication that initiates action. All communication should have a call-to-action, driving employees to the health portal website to register and start scheduling appointments. Use action words like “Register Today” or “Schedule Appointment” that link to the health portal website whenever possible.

A great way to get people engaged at go-live is to have an onsite registration event. This is an opportunity for employees to meet the clinical team, take a tour of the health center, download the health app and get registered.

If you’re a fully remote company, schedule a virtual town hall that introduces services and the clinical team. For your virtual presentation, add a QR code in your slides that is linked to the healthcare portal website or app. I recommend having an incentive to register. You can raffle off a day of PTO, company apparel, gift cards or a big prize. Everyone who registers will automatically be entered into the drawing.

Other marketing materials can include digital slides on TVs, posters in breakrooms and bathrooms, and postcards mailed to homes (especially important for those with eligible family members).

Step 4: Create an ongoing employee communications plan to increase healthcare engagement

Your employee communications plan doesn’t stop as soon as you celebrate your health center opening. Create an annual health and wellness strategy to keep your employees engaged. Make sure you’re enrolled in your employer health vendor’s ongoing marketing communications, which will save you time, but also help reinforce messaging you’re already sending.

Create a monthly content calendar and get your leadership team and brand ambassadors involved in distributing the messages. Make sure your content focuses on a different topic every month with a call-to-action that gets them to use the health center. Do not send out the same message over and over. Your employees will lose interest quickly and therefore not engage.

Tip: Capitalize on those with FOMO (fear of missing out). Incorporate patient success stories in your content strategy. People are more apt to engage when they know someone who has had a positive experience. Video testimonials are even better.

You should also consider having an “Ask the Doc” booth with the healthcare team at an upcoming company event. The team can answer medical questions and get people signed up for an appointment for follow-up. And don’t forget to incorporate all the information you created into your orientation or onboarding strategy.

Bonus Tip: Share your partnership announcement externally. Posting information on your company social media pages or sending out a press release to local media shows your company’s dedication to your employees’ health and well-being. This can also be a great recruitment tool!

About the Author

  • Kasey Prickel is the Director of Member Marketing at Marathon Health. She has nearly 20 years of experience in healthcare marketing, previously leading the marketing team at a physician-owned orthopedic hospital and practice. Kasey graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s in public relations.

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