An Expert’s Tips for Improving Wellness Communication at Work

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© Andres Rodriguez |

When not at work, Dan is training for a triathlon. Health fanatic? Not at all.

“I just enjoy exercise and love physical competition,” he says.

But Andrea’s time away is family time. She’s often in the car driving her kids to games or lessons.

“I know what I need to be healthy, but I just have a hard time making it happen,” she explains.

Colleagues, but opposites. Clearly, a one-size-fits-all wellness communication approach at work would fizzle. 

Research your way to success
The key to wellness communication success lies in research says Anita Doncaster, who shared best practices for this post. She is the sales and strategy leader of Aon Hewitt’s communication practice.

Working with a consumer research group, her firm has helped dozens of organizations move the needle on employee wellness.

“Our partner, The Futures Company, has built a database with insights into the attitudes of 230 million consumers,” Doncaster notes.

With the employee’s okay, Aon Hewitt matches a name and address against the database. Then, the team’s researchers can predict into which one of six attitudinal segments an employee fits.

“It really lets us figure what is most likely to motivate employees,” says Doncaster. “It tells us how each decides and how each prefers to receive communication — whether it’s print, electronic, face-to-face or social media.”

Her firm also works closely with the client to home in on the right media. “We target, target, target because it drives understanding and behavior,” says Doncaster.

Depending on a company’s culture, she adds, there’s even a role for leaders and managers as advocates and potential wellness champions.

Her counsel for communicating wellness? Plan well. Grab attention. Move to action.

Check the benefits
In addition to making wellness communication more relevant, Doncaster notes that attitudinal segmentation offers other important benefits. It:

  • Motivates employees to make healthier lifestyle choices. This lowers employer costs—and, as importantly, their own.
  • Increases employee participation in wellness programs.
  • Encourages employees to elect the right health care plan for their needs.
  • Inspires employees to plan and save more for their retirement.
  • Promotes workplace benefits so more employees value them.

On trend
Many businesses are moving to a “defined contribution” or consumer-focused way of providing health care.

Employees need to engage much more than in the past,” says Doncaster. “Using attitudinal segmentation gives us a sure way to make an impact and reach them.”

If you’d like more information about best practices for communicating wellness in the workplace, you can reach Anita Doncaster at

Now it’s your turn.
Do you pay attention to wellness communications? What ideas do you have to make them more relevant?

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About creativeconsiderations

Christine Sullivan is a communications strategist with expertise in communications planning, writing and content development, and executive communications. She can be reached at
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