When it comes to capturing the attention of your employees, we are not just competing against other work-related communications. We are up against social media, text messages, television — media that spend billions of dollars to capture people’s attention. 

Our goal as health and wellness professionals is to not only inform our employees about our wellness program benefits, but also compel them to engage by delivering the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. In short, whoever wins the personalization game, wins.

Aetna’s recent Health Ambitions study states that, if given an extra hour in the day, 60 percent of people would spend it on mental and physical well-being activities. A recent Forbes article posits the future of wellness will be grounded in holistic, convenient, transparent and personalized services. 

So how can we capture this motivated and active audience through the programs we provide? Here are three strategies to help you create more personalized programs:

1. Take the right perspective 

Wellness is highly personal. Beyond providing wellness programs that employees find truly meaningful, we have to be able to demonstrate that rather than setting standards and health goals that we ask all employees to adhere to, we are collaborating with employees to help them reach goals that are actually important to them. Mastering personalization starts with operating under the core belief that all employees want to be well and have wellness aspirations, and our programs should provide resources that remove barriers inhibiting their success.

2. Understand your employees' needs and values 

Start by discovering the type of data to collect to understand what your employees need to be successful and foster a work culture that supports your goals. You can ask employees via survey, focus group or other methods about what specific benefits or resources they are interested in. Ask about their core values and motivators, and even about specific lifestyle goals they have set and whether they have been successful. 

Most importantly — close the loop. Once you identify trends in your employees' interests and needs, roll out resources and programmatic approaches that will meet those needs and don't forget to communicate back to your employees what you've learned.

3. Tell stories 

Delivering a program that feels personalized is about helping employees see how resources and programs will meet their biggest needs. 

“Think about how you can provide programs that are going to be inherently interesting to the diverse population,” says Brett Powell, Vice President at the American Institute for Preventive Medicine. “There are many forms of diversity in the workplace that can impact employee health and well-being.” 

Communicating a story that reaches many generations and nationalities will help you create a supportive culture for wellness at all levels.