Last month I revealed 5 effective ways to increase sign-up’s and participation in your Employee Wellness Program.

This month, you’ll learn how to move beyond the initial sign-up, and ensure that interest and participation in your program only grows stronger with time. After all, it’s much easier to keep the current Wellness Program members you already have than it is to recruit new members.

Offering ‘one and done’ upfront incentives is not enough to retain your membership long-term. Instead, it’s crucial to continually find fresh, relevant incentives to keep participation levels high and engagement consistent over time.

Here are 5 effective ways to turn your new wellness recruits into long-term super fans of your Wellness Program in 2015:

1. Get hyper-specific with your engagement

Last month we identified your target market and discussed ways to engage with them through your program offerings. Now it’s time to dig deeper and capitalize on your employee’s specific interests.

Take Millennials, for example. A recent study conducted by Keas Millennial Workforce revealed that this demographic:

• Is more interested in the quantified self-movement than any other age group (46%)
• Is 54% more likely to buy a body-analyzing device than any other demographic
• Currently uses apps and other devices to maintain health and wellness and to lose weight
• Currently tracks water intake and sleep cycles using technology

Armed with information like this, you’ll be able to create and offer wellness programs that specifically relate to your employee’s interests and needs in a way that moves beyond face value.

Don’t just research employee demographics. Look at behavior and psychology to find and serve specific needs on an ongoing basis.

2. Think like an employee

An employee doesn’t think of themselves as a demographic or a statistic. As your Wellness Program’s chief recruiter, it’s your job to think like an employee and answer the question “What’s in it for me?”

When you think like an individual employee, you can immediately see which aspects of your program are most relevant to that employee.

This step takes you beyond the needs of specific employee groups and allows you to access the needs and wants of individual employees. In thinking of the needs of individuals, are you certain your program offerings are relevant to them? If not, it’s time to take another look at what your employees truly want.

3. Budget for the long haul

Your proposed budget has a direct impact on employee participation. Employees need to know that the company is vested in them, and that the program is sustainable.

An exciting one-time event might be fun, but if your goal is long-term participation. Make a list of line items and resources needed to sustain the program long-term. If your company is willing to invest in its employees, your employees will be willing to invest in the program.

4. Be Demanding

If your employees aren’t required to invest in your program up front, engagement and participation will be adversely affected because the employee is not emotionally invested in the program.

Make sure they have some skin in the game by requiring payment up front. Employees are far more likely to participate if neglecting to do so means wasting money they’ve already spent.

5. Reward consistency

The final key to growing a sustainable wellness program is to promote and reward consistent participation among members.

Do case studies and profile employees who are successfully using the program. Continue to market the program as an effective and fun affirmation of company culture. Reward participation by holding contests and championing those who are consistently involved.

Getting employees to sign up for your wellness program is only half the battle. The key to lasting success is consistency on all fronts: dig deep to find relevant offerings for your employees, continue to engage them after sign-up, require an investment of time and money, and reward participation in fun, creative ways.

Author's Bio: 

Fran Dean Bishop is an award winning business coach and CEO with 20 years in the health management industry. She founded Aerobodies Fitness Company, (now AFC Management Services), in 1994 as a corporate service provider of health promotion, fitness management and behavior change programs for the private sector and federal agencies. Fran also designed and launched two successful health technology innovations, MyEquilibriumCoach and To request Fran for a speaking engagement or workshop, contact her at – 703-402-8477.