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Health and wellbeing the new golf course effect?

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

Employee Health and wellbeing programmes – on “COURSE” to take over “GOLF”!

We all know that one sport became synonymous with business networking, deals and bringing Organisations together: Golf. It also conjured images up of being a more upper class sport, expensive equipment, driving the golf buggy – work colleagues in tow and staying over at some amazing locations. The sport of Directors and CEO’s. Of course that’s not totally true, but that’s the interpretation.

The principle of activities outside work creating synergy across business departments and indeed opening up new contacts across sectors hasn’t changed. Golf indeed gave that time between shots to talk business, a rather easier concept than talking during a 10k run with your heart bouncing around 75% of its maximum capacity!

But what has changed is the digital environment we now operate within and that has made walking, outdoor pursuits, running and various physical challenges a part of business and very visible to other Companies and potential customers. A more accessible out of work activity than golf. Whether in a B2C or B2B environment that outside branding is vital to business. Ask brand experts or your marketing Guru’s.

I wanted to carry a different perspective to the usual angle of H&W business cases in this article ; employee absences, risk reduction of type 2 diabetes, reduced MSK, improved mental health etc etc. If you don’t know about how to tackle these risk factors you should. Look around my blog for articles on the ROI, business case and long term projections of running a H&W programme.

This article looks at the power of customer reach through H&W programmes. I have decided to look at how H&W acts as a mechanism for marketing, principally social media. Social media needs fuel, and that fuel is new, fun and engaging content. Health and wellbeing is that fuel. Especially useful for business that operates in a ‘less cool’ sector, or without the brand funkiness of say A Nike or desirable brand WITH MASS APPEAL.

H&W evens out the field. For example B.Braun Medical Ltd I work with on a freelance basis provide medical equipment and products to the NHS and are innovators in their field with a reputation founded on ‘sharing expertise’. Operating in a predominately B2B environment gives little exposure of the brand to the more general population.

However the employee H&W programme provides that lever. Employees have been filmed by Sheffield’s ‘OUTDOOR CITY’  running the Cities run routes as part of a promotion and came runners up as the most active workplace in Sheffield at an awards ceremony held at Westfield health for Move More. Just two examples of many this year.

Move More is the Cities ambition and strategy to become the most active City in the UK by 2020 and is run through the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine. B.Braun Medical have worked with Move More and thus made links right across the public, private and VCS Sectors – beyond their traditional markets.

Active employees quite happily carry the business brand around localities during fundraising challenges, triathlons, marathons – you name it. This means health and wellbeing has become a marketing machine in its own right. B.Braun even have their own in house brand for the programme.

Considering the average Facebook user has 338 friends (Source: Brandwatch) and videos have the highest engagement rates those post selfie videos and photos by 20/30 people could potentially be reaching 9000 people. Free!

And with employee health and wellbeing being predicted by Marketing week to be one of the trends of 2018, if you haven’t took note then maybe 2018 is the year you do. Not only is it a proactive approach to protecting your workforces health (principally my priority), contributing to the bottom line, it is also a highly visible company benefit that’s an excellent driver in any social media or marketing strategy. H&W trend 2018

The Financial times wrote an article on health and wellbeing being the ‘cool’ company benefit.  The likes of Vitality are rewarding healthy behaviours with some innovative technologies. Westfield Health are centred around ‘choose smarter’, live better – supporting health and wellbeing. Nuffield Health also provide a full health and wellbeing service partnering with the Vitality platform.

Brand exposure is about timing as much as it is targeting. Trends are one way to do this but often disappear as quick as they come. Therefore preparing a solid health and wellbeing plan now will have much wider benefits than just the health of your staff. It’s a business driver and therefore another reason its importance should rise on the boardroom agenda.

It is also a trend that unlike most is probably here to stay. H&W contributes to HR engagement strategies, Health and Safety agendas and more and more the pay and benefits arena. For example the British Safety Council are particular active on Wellbeing as a driver of Health and Safety compliance and good practice. Culture change is the objective.

But now hopefully this article has made you aware of another indirect benefit of employee H&W programmes. A benefit that has appeared quietly on the back of social media but offers an opportunity to reach audiences untapped.

In the World of talent recruitment and attracting the best people to spearhead your business check these survey results out.

Capita Employee Benefits Insight Report arevealed that 44.8 percent of respondents would judge an employer based on the quality of the health and wellbeing packages they offer.

This is particularly valued by higher earners where nearly half (48.8) percent of employees earning over £45,000 a year said they would evaluate their employer or potential employer on the strength of their commitment to employee wellbeing. This suggests it’s NOT just the pull of the salary figure and company car.

And last but not least the cost of such initiatives? Well, apart from benefits such as cycle to work schemes, health insurance, saving plans and access to virtual GP’s etc with a bit of time and planning additional benefits can be built up through an in-house H&W programme / calendar.

Check out one of the companies I work with and who I have referenced in this article: B. Braun Medical Ltd. This 2018 H&W programme (not including my time) is roughly done for around £5000 per 6 months. See what is delivered for that amount of investment B.Braun H&W 2018 Summary

In marketing terms alone (forgetting long term cost savings in terms of staff ill health) consider this. The average price for a full page local paper advert is £3,000 and for a National paper £27,000. The social media reach of a H&W programme massively outperforms these media offerings.

And H&W provides a revolving carousel of content and positive marketing stories. A printed story is set in stone once it is published. Your next story costs the same. But in the social media world a clever article or story with a Press Release will get picked up by media anyway to add value to their publication. Best bit: FREE!

We also know quirky marketing works well and in the PR world is the bread and butter of media reach. Such examples are the tug of war we ran with England’s strongest man in business that really did ‘PULL’ in some social media reach.

So maybe now is the time to give some serious thought to how you can embed a health and wellbeing programme across your staff. And if you are struggling there are free resources you can get involved in.

June 2018 sees the annual SHEFFIELD move more workplace challenge take place which provides a website that logs steps and active minutes over the course of a month to see who can be the most active. The publicity is huge and the competitiveness drives the fun of being involved. Best of all its free to Sheffield business.

If you are reading this and would like your own in house activity challenge across your business we can provide a bespoke website platform and run it for you. With advice on how to promote your initiative to outside audiences. It is also a great way to get people moving – especially important for desk based workforces.

Examples of some of B.Braun Medical Ltd’s media coverage and Move More collaboration.

Andrew Picken

Health and Wellbeing Consultant

National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (Sheffield)





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