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14 Nov 2023
by Charlotte Dyer

Motivate employees to use health benefits through communication

Knowledge is power or, in this case, health. An effective communication strategy is one of the most powerful tools a business has in motivating its staff to prioritise their own wellbeing

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Healthy employees are happy employees and the cornerstone of a thriving and successful workforce.

Being at peak health means more energy, better focus and higher resilience to stress, all of which directly boosts productivity and performance.

Investing in employee health, and encouraging employees to do the same, can lead to a reduction in healthcare costs, decrease absence or the pressure to work when unwell, and increase employee retention.

One of the most powerful tools a business has in motivating its staff to prioritise their health is the implementation of an effective communication strategy that includes clear and continuous messaging on the healthcare benefits available to them.

However, effectively communicating the healthcare benefits and encouraging employees to prioritise their health can be complex. Here are some important factors to consider when structuring your communications.

Workplace culture plays a vital role

Demonstrating that health, both mental and physical, is prioritised within the workplace creates a culture in which employees feel comfortable seeking the help they need, and is an effective way to remove stigma.

Employees who experience stigma or shame when accessing healthcare benefits supporting preventative care are at a higher risk of missed detection of preventable or treatable illnesses, and late stage diagnosis.

In a recent Health and wellbeing at work survey, the CIPD surveyed 800 HR professionals and found that workplace culture is directly influenced by leadership and its ability to role-model healthy working practices to foster a supportive environment where employees feel safe to speak about health issues and seek help.

Prioritise benefits training

Managers should feel confident discussing benefits so that they can use the entire suite of benefits on offer to support an employee’s needs. That is whether that is time off, wellness or healthcare benefits, or access to a specific employee assistance programme for themselves or a family member.

Human-centric stories and experiences can demonstrate to employees the importance of early intervention in a relatable way. Looking at healthcare as a combination of prevention and intervention, the prevention phase is vitally important for stopping a larger problem developing.

Simplify and diversify

Communication of benefits should always be kept simple so that no employees feel alienated and all benefits are accessible autonomously.

When determining a method of communication that works best for your organisation, keep in mind that emails go unread, internal communication platforms may not be available outside of work and informational sessions during work hours may not feel to employees as the best use of their time.

Working with a provider who understands this is important to empowering employees to make full use of healthcare benefits. A dedicated webpage or booklet that contains easy-to-digest information on the benefits available to employees, their partners and families is an effective way to encourage effective use from those who most need to use the service.

Similarly, ensuring communication is diverse and inclusive and allows black, indigenous, and other people of colour and LGBTQ+ employees to recognise their needs is vital in benefits messaging to ensure adoption within these groups.

According to McKinsey & Company’s 2021 benefits survey, many employees reported being confused when trying to understand which benefits they are eligible for and how to use them.

To ensure all healthcare benefits are explained in clear and inclusive language, employers should partner with their healthcare provider to ensure gender-neutral language is used when describing parental leave or health benefits and offering resources in a wide range of languages.

Take a multi-faceted approach

Much like a clear communication strategy is needed to encourage employees to fully use benefits, employee motivation should also be a continuous process. There is a range of options to continue this education and maintain a high level of motivation.

Educational sessions and workshops on health-related topics gives employees vital knowledge. Encouraging breaks, offering healthy snacks and providing flexible work schedules to support a healthy work-life balance are all easy to implement.

Motivating employees to look after their health through clear and consistent benefit communication is imperative for both the health of the organisation and its employees. By offering focused, personalised and engaging information about health benefits, companies can encourage employees to prioritise their wellbeing.

Healthy and happy employees are more likely to be engaged, productive and grow with the company, which leads to a healthier and more successful organisation overall.

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In partnership with Healix Health

Healix Health provides flexible, bespoke healthcare solutions an alternative to traditional private medical cover.

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