Health risk communication in a business climate is not limited to hazardous, occupational, or public health emergencies. Communicating to the workforce about non-communicable disease (NCD) risk is critical for enabling health, safety and productivity. Awareness of the risk factors and conditions that lead to the development of NCDs is the first step to preventing onset. Taking action to mitigate modifiable lifestyle risk factors – smoking, high blood pressure, physical inactivity and overweight or obesity is the second. Workplaces have the opportunity to communicate about health risks and elicit action from the workforce. Communications aimed at closing the knowledge gap around personalized and specific health risks and that facilitate positive changes in and management of health risks contributing to NCD development, are an effective way of enhancing occupational health, safety and productivity.
Messages are received by our workforces through various mediums, from countless sources, everywhere they turn. It is critical then that those responsible for disseminating health related messages to a workforce do so in a rigorous, evidence-based manner keeping information relevant to the population they seek to engage. Using data, theory and evidence based practice to develop a risk based communication strategy can enhance success of wellness programming. Additionally, using data to inform messages, target specific audience segments and develop follow-up intervention messages can have a positive impact on cohort behaviors.
Employee health risk profile data, health claims data, generalizable health statistics and company culture were examined to develop an annual communication strategy to address identified health risks and communication tactics for the US workforce in 2014 and 2015.
In order to increase the number of employees who know their modifiable NCD risk factors and subsequently address health behaviors, the company undertook a broad scale awareness campaign addressing the lifestyle risk factors present in the employee population. Evidence-based health communication models and risk communication principles were used in combination with company data to produce and execute a data-informed health risk communication strategy in a global population. We demonstrate the positive impact of the communication approach in increasing awareness of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, wellness program participation and engagement. Data gained from program participation provided an opportunity to determine 1) the health behaviors and trends of a specific cohort of employees; 2) areas of opportunity for future program and communication interventions to address the specific risk factors of the population.
Attendees will receive actionable methodologies that they can apply to their own unique populations to drive more effective communication. The authors of this paper have over 50 years combined experience in employee health communication and wellness programming. The award-winning programs described has been recognized by industry associations.