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Using Social Media to Promote Employee Wellness

Posted May 28 2010 12:00am
When we launch a new employee wellness program for a client, the first order of business (and probably the second and third!) is communication. Employees are likely to have a range of questions -- How do I sign up? What are my options? Will my health information remain private? -- and we have to be ready with answers.

As employees delve deeper into the program, the need for quality communication only increases. Finding methods of communication that resonate with employees is a main driver of participation.

Fran Melmed at her free-range communication blog has written a wonderful post on the role of social media in employee wellness. She encourages companies to embrace the power of social media networks in order to bring wellness to their employees. I couldn't agree more.

Although I encourage you to read Fran's full blog post , I do want to highlight something that really spoke to me. She argues that online conversations provide a window into what your participants really think. When your employees connect via Twitter, a company blog, or some other online forum, it allows you to "eavesdrop" on what they're saying about the program. That's a wonderful point; candid feedback is invaluable.

It's unfortunate that so many companies see social media as something to be blocked and banned at every turn. Whether we like it or not, their ability to reach people is tremendous -- and that means they can be powerful wellness tools. Used properly, I think they have the potential to jump-start participation and engagement.

So what do you think? Is HR too quick to restrict access to social media, or am I being naive?
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