Red Sauce

May 23, 2013

Two tales of change + a free download

A carrot and a stick: helping employees build healthier futures

Most people have a general understanding of their financial and physical health. Yet when it comes to changing behavior, awareness and action are two very different things.

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), the nation’s second-largest faith-based health system, learned that its employees needed help. Only 30 percent participated in the Employee Savings Plan. Employees also had higher rates for some chronic diseases and went to the hospital 12 percent more often than the average American. And health care costs were rising too fast for CHI and employees to afford.

While the onus was on employees to take action to improve their physical and financial well-being, CHI wanted to provide the tools needed to plan for their financial futures and live healthier lives.

CHI included JayRay in the employee research and initial conversations about launching the program. The program needed an identity and the right messaging to inspire participation. JayRay began by naming the program—Healthy Spirit—and helped CHI identify new ways to reach employees.

The details of the program: complex. The payoff for employees: excellent. JayRay’s expertise in internal communications and fresh ideas proved the right combination to help employees and their families understand the tangible benefits of participating.

Consistent messages about participation and payoff appeared in print, online videos, email newsletters and direct mail pieces to employees’ homes.

Healthy Spirit program participation continues to grow. In 2012, CHI introduced the My Healthy Spirit employee web portal for employees to access information about pay, benefits, retirement and more. JayRay helped name, design and launch the website and it receives more than 25,000 visits per month.

Today, employees and their families have the tools they need to improve their physical and financial health, while CHI continues to grow the program and save millions of dollars in health care costs.

It’s important work for both JayRay and CHI. Engaging employees to get better results will continue to be important for organizations of all sizes. As Healthy Spirit shows, using new tools and methods can influence behavior change, save money and improve lives. 

Learn more about Healthy Spirit >>

Ushering employees through change
By Diane Schuirman-Hagedorn

"If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking."~ Richard Buckminster Fuller

In all shapes and sizes, organizational change can be frightening, uncomfortable and overwhelming. Our job as communicators is to help bridge the gap between the changes endorsed by management and the natural tension experienced by employees.

Don’t be afraid to be upfront about change. How you present information sets the foundation for how employees will respond. Employees expect to hear news from people they know and trust such as their supervisors. Help your trusted leaders communicate effectively and consistently by providing them simple, easy-to-use tools.

In the absence of information, people become restless. Let employees know what the change means for them and where they can go with questions. We frequently work with clients who are implementing new systems and processes. Sometimes this requires translating technical jargon into a few meaningful statements that employees can understand and believe. Other times, it’s helpful to build awareness through a series of short, snappy videos.

Always connect the change with your organization’s brand, mission and core values. These things unite your organization during challenging times and help motivate employees to ride the waves that come with transition.

Diane is a change facilitator. Her experience showing horses taught her the importance of preparation, perseverance, flexibility and composure. When Diane isn’t changing the world for her clients, she can be found with her nose in a good mystery novel and cuddling with her dog Melody—yes, on the couch.

A case study in how marketing communications can influence change and save millions of dollars

King County was facing hard times. Health care costs driven by lifestyle-related disease were on the rise. Layoffs and program cuts were inevitable if something didn’t change. But how do you develop marketing communications strategies that inspire people to adopt meaningful lifestyle changes? 

Learn how King County leveraged data to determine drivers of health care costs and developed a program with results. And saved $46 million. Download the presentation >>