June 10, 2014

Want Your Employee Wellness Program to Work? Get Social!

It’s the 21st century and nearly every form of communication is done online, including most social interactions. The use of social media continues to grow dramatically, as seen in a new infographic from Leverage New Age Media highlighting usage of the top six social media sites as of April 25, 2014:

  • There are now over 1 billion active Facebook users, meaning 1/7 of the world’s population uses Facebook.
  • LinkedIn powers 50 percent of the world’s hires and has a growing user base of 300 million.
  • Twitter has the largest penetration in the U.S. with nearly 5,700 tweets posted every second and 241 million active users.

The question you may be asking yourself is, how does this relate to the success of an employee wellness program? Here’s how: social media enables you to actively engage your employees where they spend a lot of their time. This means that workplace social media can be a valuable asset. According to a recent blog on Trackvia on engaging employees through social media, “Employees who participate with other peers within and outside your organization will strengthen your company culture by connecting employees with similar interests so they can build stronger work relationships.” By integrating social media with your workplace wellness program, you are giving employees the opportunity to form new relationships, interactions and connections, such as finding other runners, swimmers, walkers, bikers, tennis players or golfers, for example.

Employee engagement and employee wellness go hand-in-hand. An article from TLNT points out that healthier employees are more engaged employees. “An engaged workforce begets a well workforce and vice versa.” The more opportunities you create for engagement within your organization, the greater the success of your wellness program.

Your challenge, then, is how to use social media for your workplace wellness program. Though much of your approach will come from analyzing current levels of employee engagement and interests, here are four recommendations we suggest to support workplace wellness program success:

1) If you haven’t implemented an employee social media policy, be sure to do that first.

2) Provide employees a format for sharing their wellness stories and successes. This can be in addition to an internal portal, blog or forum.

  • Offer incentives and highlight stories on the company’s social channels where appropriate.
  • Encourage staff to share on their personal social channels.
  • Be sure to have a privacy policy that covers user-generated content as part of the portal, blog or forum so employees know the rules.

3) Use one of the many APIs available through the various social channels to integrate employee stories, pins, Instagrams, Facebook stories, tweets and more within the company’s internal portal or Intranet. Be sure to explain what can be shared to support your wellness program’s mission.

4) Create online opportunities for employees with similar interests to find each other and interact.

  • Create online groups or hangouts for specific interests.
  • Schedule running, walking, and biking events.
  • Host online chats with wellness experts or target certain interests, such as yoga, running, eating right or other activities.
  • Promote overall wellness with online campaigns that generate badges and other forms of online recognition for your team.

Integrating social media into your employee wellness program does not have to be complicated but it does have to be planned out, communicated and well executed. The important thing to remember is that participating in social media for any employee engagement program is purely voluntary. It is just another outlet to connect and engage your workforce, but it can be a powerful one.

Learn more today by contacting Marketing Innovators.

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