Clearly, employees love Twitter and Facebook — stats from both social media sites show the number of registered users is growing by the thousands every month. And, employees say they want more benefits communication. So, you’d think they’d appreciate benefits communication via Twitter and Facebook, right? Wrong, according to a new survey from the National Business Group on Health.

Although nearly half of the 1,500 respondents (47%) say they use Facebook either daily or weekly for personal reasons (probably on company time, no less) and 45% say the same about text messaging, 8 in 10 say they’re not interested in receiving information about their employer-provided health benefits, or tips on how to exercise, eat healthy or save money on health care via Twitter or text messaging. In addition, three in four said they had no interest in getting this information via Facebook.

“While all the rage outside of the workplace is on social media, most employees aren’t ready to mesh that part of their routine into the workplace, at least when it comes to their health benefits,” says Helen Darling, NBGH president.  “In fact, a vast majority of workers would prefer their employers stick to tried and true communication methods — mailings to home and e-mail.”

I don’t get this. If employees say they’re texting or on Facebook every day, wouldn’t they appreciate the convenience and immediacy of receiving a quick note from their employer or health plan informing/reminding them of their benefit offerings?

Perhaps employees don’t really care about wellness. Employees whose tweets and Facebook status updates include going to burger joint for a deluxe supersized with extra fries don’t really want reminders to exercise mixed in. I suppose it’s easier to avoid thinking about your cholesterol levels when you’re not reminded of it in your Twitter stream.

And maybe employees are skittish about privacy. I know I don’t want my company or health plan execs following me on Twitter or friending me on Facebook, no matter what valuable health info they have to impart. Maybe employees’ reluctance to receive health benefits info through these sites is their way of maintaining a clear line between their personal and professional lives.

Either way, I don’t believe for a second that employees prefer to receive health benefits information mailed to them at home. Or, that they read it even when they do. We know that most 401(k) statements get tossed out before they get read; I’m pretty sure your wellness fliers receive the same treatment, sorry to say.

So, what to do? Nix social media campaigns related to health and wellness information? Send the information using social media anyway, and hope employees change their attitudes? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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