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Step Four: Implementation & Timing

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Put into action your communication activities.

You are now ready to put your program into action. Before you start, you may want to develop an implementation plan with a list of activities, a timeline, resources, and person in charge. You will want to communicate with employees before the program begins to make them aware about the program and encourage them to participate. After the program, evaluate the results and between program activities maintain employee interest and remind them of the resources your program offers. It might be helpful to use Single Overriding Health Communication Objective [DOC – 87 KB] worksheet. This document will help you, your staff, and partners deliver clear and consistent messages about your health communication activities to people within and outside your organization.

Raise employees’ awareness of your wellness program or a new activity.

If you have a new or improved wellness program or offering, you will want your employees to know about it and be motivated to learn more. The following are some ways you can do this:

  • Build advance interest with teasers about new programs or have a contest to develop a brand or a name for a program.
  • Hold an activity launch party.
  • Advertise the program in internal publications, such as the employee newsletter, e-mails to all employees, or internal social media (if your company has them).
  • Send out targeted mailings to alert people about the program specifically for them. Work with your vendor (health plan, pharmacy benefits manager, or disease management company) to send out friendly, low-key mailings informing prospective participants about the program.
  • Remember to use consistent messages across multiple channels.

Develop and maintain employee interest and motivation in your program offerings.

Once you have kicked off your activity, it is important to continue communicating with employees to keep them interested and motivated to participate in your activities.

  • Develop a calendar or timeline of ongoing communication activities.
  • Monitor your activities; let employees know of successes or make revisions if necessary.
  • Ask program participants to talk to their colleagues—word of mouth can be powerful.
  • Consider including a regular column in the employee newsletter about the program as a reminder about it and to keep employees informed of any modifications to the program.
  • Consider offering participation incentives. Some companies cover testing supplies and equipment as an incentive for enrolling in a diabetes management program. Others offer a dollar amount that covers supplies and educational materials.
  • Cover different topics in theme weeks or months linked to national observances, such as National Diabetes Month in November or American Heart Month in February.
  • Encourage group activity and support. For many employees, feeling as though they are members of a group from which they can get support can make a major difference in their feelings about both the program and their participation.

Develop a timeline or calendar for ongoing communications.

Timing is important. Too many simultaneous messages are confusing, and too little advance notice will result in a lack of event participation. Develop a year-round plan for health promotion and communication for maximum effect and efficiency.

Make a list of health communications and events that you will be offering, record their dates on a calendar, and develop promotions for them. Also, consider national observances related to different health topics. For example, National Diabetes Month occurs in November and the American Diabetes Alert occurs the fourth Tuesday in March each year. You may also choose to record the open enrollment period for health benefits and any health fairs or other health information events that will be offered at your company.

People at risk for diabetes and those with diabetes will benefit from a health communication calendar that includes the following topics:

  • Diabetes Risk Factors
  • Diabetes Prevention
  • Diabetes Management
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Eye Disease
  • Diabetes and Pregnancy
  • Peripheral Artery Disease
  • Healthy Eating
  • Active Living
  • Chronic Disease and Emergency Preparedness
  • Chronic Disease and Emotional Well-being

Make sure you regularly provide new and engaging content, such as news and personal stories about the wellness program, new tips on healthy lifestyle behaviors, and pictures from events.

Aids & Tools

Know More

  1. Learn more about national health observances from the WELCOA, the National Diabetes Education Program, or HealthFinder.gov, which has toolkits and promotion ideas for major health observances and a list of more than 200 health observances.

Ask More

  1. Where can I find out what other comapnies are doing in health communication?
    Answer:
    Check out the Spotlight on Success Stories section of this website to learn more about what other companies are doing.
  2. What should I consider in deciding whether to give employees incentives to participate in our wellness activities?
    Answer:
    Read about what you should know about incentives in an expert interview with David Anderson, PhD, of StayWell Health Management and about how to use incentives.

Do More

  1. Plan a focus on diabetes during National Diabetes Month and American Diabetes Alert awareness day. Resources can be found at National Diabetes Education Program.

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