Communicating Health Promotion Effectively

By Tonja Dodd
Woman with yoga mat on phone to communicate health promotion effectively - Vitality

While most people start the new year with the best of intentions to eat healthier and move more, by the time March rolls around, many have long abandoned their resolutions. This makes an ideal time for employers to refresh their health promotion messages to encourage employees to continue to make healthy choices or get back on track.

Health messaging is often received differently than the typical company-wide messages about their 401k program or company performance. There are several reasons for this including that one’s health can be very personal, there is a plethora of misleading (and credible) information in the news and social media, and employees are sometimes skeptical to hear from their employer about their health.

Therefore, it’s important when talking to your employees about health to keep it conversational and send the messages from someone who genuinely cares and is respected when it comes to wellness. This can be the president of your company, the plant physician, your wellness partner, the human resources lead, or maybe even your most vocal internal wellness champion. Next, when building your communication, consider these tenets:

  • Create a clear primary message and stick to it. Agree on what the message is and circle back to it throughout the communication, keep it engaging and action-oriented.
  • Base your message in science. Start with credible facts or stats up-front and name your scientific sources to establish credibility from the get-go.
  • Keep it simple. Employees will be most responsive to information provided in a straightforward, active voice.
  • Use urgency in your messaging. We’re all very busy and constantly bombarded with messages. To stand out from the noise, make it time-oriented with a sense of importance so that it won’t be forgotten, and employees will more likely take action.

Engaged employees are critical to an organization’s efforts to build and sustain a healthy, productive and cost-efficient with valuable workforce. When employees are involved in managing their health — productivity and performance improve – impacting healthcare costs and financial success.


Tonja is a Sr. Health Strategy Analyst working for Vitality Group, Inc. translating clinical guidelines into risk appropriate health promotion strategies to ultimately engage members in healthy behaviors. Her background is in Public Health with 25 years of experience designing, developing and delivering health and wellness programs and products. Tonja finds her healthy place is being active outdoors and spending time with family, friends and pets.

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