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Step One: Communication Goals

coworkers talking

Determine what you want to achieve with your communications activity.

The work you have done to plan and build your worksite wellness program and, particularly, any assessment activities (e.g., health risk appraisals, medical claims reviews, surveys with employees), will explain the goals and objectives of your promotion activities. Think about what kinds of changes will truly make a difference in the health of your workforce, and what you can achieve with your current resources.

The following major communication goals  may be included:

  • Raising awareness of health issues and risks among your workforce.
  • Informing employees about the resources available to them, such as lunch-time walking clubs, healthy foods in the cafeteria, or wellness classes.
  • Increasing employees knowledge about healthy lifestyle behaviors.

Promoting your wellness program and encouraging those at risk or with health conditions to participate in relevant activities and programs, such as a diabetes management class or a walking program.

What you say to your workforce will depend on both your communication objectives and your audience. Some messages are designed to raise awareness or knowledge, while others encourage people to take action or change their behavior.

Identify the audience for your health communication and learn more about them.

It also is  important to think about your audience as you develop your goals. Research has shown that targeted communication interventions are more effective than those developed for everyone. Specific populations within your workforce may require specific messaging.

Understanding the different groups in your workforce, what matters to them, and how to best reach them with health messages will increase the effectiveness of your promotion. You may have a sense of this from your earlier assessments or your past wellness work, or you may want to find out by surveying your employees. Answers to the following basic questions will help you start identifying priority audiences and developing effective communication objectives strategies for them:

  • Who in your workforce is most at risk for or affected by the health issues you are addressing?
  • What are the priority populations for your company?
  • What are their demographic characteristics?
  • What are their current interests and behaviors related to health and  are they aware they are at risk, do they want to make changes, do they know how to make the changes needed, and have they already tried to adopt healthy behaviors?

By the end of this step, you should have a focus for your communication activities laid out as SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound) objectives. Some examples include the following:

  • By the end of the year, employee’s knowledge of XXX health issue has increased by 10% (based on data collected through pre- and post-knowledge assessments of all employees).
  • By the end of the year, 25 more employees have participated in the workplace walking program at least X times (measured by keeping records of employees in the walking program).
  • By the end of the 6-month promotion, 20 employees with diabetes have completed the wellness program’s diabetes education class (measured by keeping records of employees with diabetes and their participation).

Aids & Tools

Know More

  1. Learn more about developing communications objectives and about identifying the audience for your program in the following:
    Making Health Communication Programs Work [PDF – 4.1 MB], Stage 1: Planning and Strategy Development.

Ask More

  1. How do I write SMART objectives?
    CDC has many examples for several types of programs that can be adapted for your program. 
    Writing SMART Objectives
    A Public Health Action Plan to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke
    Community Tool Box, Section 1. Developing a Plan for Communications

Do More

  1. Identify the major audiences for your next communications activity; determine what you know about them and any gaps in what you know. Learn more about planning and strategy development.
    Resources include:
    Making Health Communications Work
    The Community Guide Toolbox