I’m always wary of something being called a "mega-trend," because most of the time I find that the trend rarely, if ever, lives up to the hyped-up title — and that’s even if it’s truly a trend at all.

So, when I saw this message in my inbox: "7 Emerging Mega-Trends That Will Change Wellness Communication… Forever," I sighed heavily, but clicked through to read it anyway.
 
The mega-trends, compiled by wellness and benefits communication firm Hope Health, aim to clue benefits pros into ways they can effectively shape their company’s wellness strategies. Such strategies, according to a Hope Health survey, are being hindered by:

* Lack of participation.
* Lack of employee engagement, energy and motivation.
* Lack of productivity.
* Rising health care costs.

Nothing new there — surely nothing "mega." But I’ll admit, a couple of the mega-trends the firm notes did seem like game-changers in the way employers generally think of wellness and wellness communication. I’m paraphrasing, but here they are in no particular order:

1. You’ve gotta reach "Jack in Accounting." Employees demand a compelling reason to believe and commit, HH rightly observes, noting that it’s particularly tough to reach the average employee who mostly believes wellness just means not being sick. “What’s really going to make ‘Jack in Accounting’ take the stairs? He won’t start moving until he’s moved — until he’s emotionally invested.”
 
2. Twitter will set you free. Social media will free up hidden assets and enable you to communicate with employees instead of at them, HH concludes. Diverse skills, experiences, and perspectives will become apparent and shared.
 
3. DIY wellness is the new wave. Hope Health believes self-care tools will empower people to be wise consumers of health, and technologies will be adapted to each person’s learning style and needs.
 
4. It takes a village to raise a well employee. The wider community is an “untapped gold mine” in employers’ wellness efforts. To reach ‘Jack in Accounting,’ HH believes, you need to reach Jack’s neighbors and friends as well.

5. Target employees using … Target. Consumer retailers and advertisers will fund workplace wellness programs via sponsorships and incentive offers, according to Hope Health. Advertisers will target wellness participants, and HR departments will partner with them to fund programs and organize events.
 
6. Prepare for an “empowerment explosion.” Demographics, technology, and health care system changes will converge into an “explosion” of consumer empowerment and interest in healthy living, HH concludes. Power lies in patients’ hands — citing personal health records, social media platforms and HSAs as Exhibits A, B and C.
 
7. Snacking well and saving well are connected. Financial literacy and health literacy will join forces, according to Hope Health. Smart wellness programs integrate these two topics.

So, of these seven, I’d say one is mega and another is mega-ish. For one, although I wouldn't use the mega label, the idea of retailers and advertisers commonly sponsoring wellness programs/incentives certainly would break new ground in the workplace wellness space

And I’m definitely intrigued by the thought of employers engaging not just their workplace community, but the community at large around wellness. That, I think, would be “mega.”

What do you think? Are any of these “mega-trends?” Which ones? Leave your thoughts on these, and any mega-trends you've identified your own, in the comments.

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