Slideshow 4 tips to engage millennials in health and wellness

Published
  • January 12 2015, 10:52am EST
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Millennials may place a lower priority on medical care than other generations, yet they are the most likely to want employers to play an active role in supporting their overall health and well-being.

Thirty-nine percent of millennials believe preventative care is important to staying healthy, compared to 49% of Generation X and 69% of baby boomers, according to a survey of more than 2,700 U.S. employees and their dependents. The survey was conducted by Aon Hewitt, the National Business Group on Health and The Futures Company.

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Millennials are more open to having their direct manager play an active role in encouraging them to get and stay healthy (53%), compared to 47% of Generation X and 41% of baby boomers. Here are four ways employers can effectively reach millennials, according to Aon Hewitt:

1. Understand what motivates.

It is critical for employers to understand what motivates and engages Millennials. More than half of millennials (55%) report their motivation is “to look good,” and not as much to “avoid illness.” Employers should tailor their strategy and communications to show how poor health can impact an individual’s energy and/or appearance.

2. Know how to reach your audience.

Millennials are significantly more likely to prefer mobile apps, text, or popular social channels including Facebook and Twitter (or internal sites like Yammer and Chatter) to access both general and personal health information. Employers should explore social channels like blogs geared to individuals with certain health conditions, location-based tools like Foursquare and media-sharing sites like Pinterest. Short-form video sharing services like Vine may also be effective channels to reach this generation. However, regardless of channel, it’s important to ensure their communication delivers the authenticity and hyper-relevance that millennials have come to expect in exchange for their attention and action.

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3. Make it easy and convenient.

Forty percent of Millennials say they are more likely to participate in health and wellness programs if they are “easy or convenient to do.” Employers should remove barriers to helping this generation create good health choices and habits by focusing on programs that meet their work/life balance. For example, employers should consider implementing walking meetings or group fitness events or offering on-site health and fitness programs like yoga or Zumba.

4. Add an element of competition.

Millennials are the most likely generation to be interested in “friendly competitions.” Employers may want to explore adding game mechanics and player-centric design, as well as competitions to motivate and engage millennials. Company-wide well-being or fitness challenges, or providing access to a social web platform where individuals can buddy up, build teams and initiate their own mini-challenges, may also be effective.