How you can use marketing partnerships to underwrite the cost of employee wellness programs and provide unique health-oriented employee benefits that support your total rewards strategy.
Spring has sprung in New York. It means people get outside more and the inevitable cleaning begins. For some this doesn’t mean getting rid of dusty goods that you suddenly realize you don’t use. It means spring cleaning your health. Research shows that warmer weather and higher body temperatures improves overall alertness and mental performance.
Wellness is a Billion Dollar Plus Industry
In recent years, it’s also become prevalent at the corporate level where businesses have been seeking to offset their growing healthcare costs by offering their employees health-oriented incentives such as weight loss or fitness enticements.
But as it turns out, the wellness incentives and activities actually do not reduce costs for most companies. Premiums and overall corporate healthcare costs don’t go down. And health stats don’t move (blood pressure, sugar levels, etc.).
In 2018, 82% of companies with 200+ employees offered some type of wellness program as part of their total rewards strategy. The majority of these firms offered programs to help workers identify health risks and unhealthy behaviors such as smoking cessation, weight management, and behavioral or lifestyle coaching. Some even provide financial incentives up to $2,000. However, a recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association showed no differences in clinical measures of health to justify spending and outcomes.
Yet Employees DO Have a High Level of Engagement in These Programs
So, what should a business do? It puts many in a strange predicament. Do we invest in programs that are beneficial to staff and have some potential benefits, but that don’t have a cost benefit? Most companies are looking at some type of measurable ROI instead of an intrinsic indicator like employee happiness and long-term retention.
At Regatta, we’re big fans of strategic partnerships as a way to improve ROI. With that in mind, here are three suggestions for partnership programs that might take the edge off the investment, yet still offer morale and retention value to your employees:
1. Barter With Wellness Companies
Find partners that offer a wellness-related service to your employees and find a way to barter with them. This could include exposure on your website, profiles in a company newsletter, co-branded social content, anything that will give a partner some added exposure. If you approach a brand with a subscription service, think about offering a short-term free trial to your employees in exchange for free branding or advertising in your office or on your social media accounts. After a period of time, the partner could aim to convert your employee audience into longer term customers too, something that would benefit all parties.
2. Leverage the Power of Sampling as Gifts
A lot of products in the wellness category have sample sizes and your business might be the perfect, controlled environment for sample distribution. In exchange you can agree to let a brand talk to your employees about their brand proposition, offer additional discounts, etc. Sometimes small companies will come into businesses for a health fair in which they offer samples plus the opportunity to educate employees about their programs.
3. Offer Value Through Affiliate Marketing
Consider promotional platforms that could actually make you money. If the company doesn’t want to give anything way, they could consider offering a discount to a service and for employees that sign up. You could even structure the deal so you get a piece of the pie. It’s exposure for your brand and an opportunity for theirs and could end up making you money in the end. That’s good synergy and another way to improve your marketing ROI!
Overall, Be Creative
You don’t have to lay out funds to offer your employees a way to take back their health. Instead find good partners and negotiate the right deals to make you smarter and more effective. You certainly don’t have to lose money in the process. Which is always a good thing.
Regatta has developed numerous health and wellness-oriented loyalty programs and offers for brands including New York & Co, United Healthcare, Abbott Nutrition and AdvantageCare Physicians. Feel free to reach out if any of this strikes a chord and you’d like to explore potential opportunities for your brand too.
Regatta is The Original BrandAgent, singularly focused on Partnership Marketing. Sam Kaufman is the founder and Chief BrandAgent.