Improving Employee Wellness and Engagement with Social Media

Michelle    June 3, 2015

Organization name: Saint–Gobain North America

Industry: Construction

Web references:

Many employers turned to workplace wellness programs as a way to enhance retention of employees, reduce employee at the absenteeism, into employee relations and morale, and reduce the cost of benefits programs[1]. According to Benefits Canada, “a growing number of employers are using blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, online message boards and podcasts to communicate about their health and wellness programs, encourage more employees to enroll, and improve the engagement level of participants”[2].

One such organization is Saint-Gobain, a manufacturer of glass and construction materials. While many other companies pay monthly or yearly subscription fees to outside vendors for social wellness programs[3], Saint-Gobain, using the brand artifact “LiveWell Saint-Gobain”, relies primarily on a Twitter feed, blog, Facebook, and podcasts to communicate with employees about their health and wellness programs. Links to their twitter, Facebook, and blog, are available above.

Livewell, Saint-Gobain's employee wellness brand

More recent posts feature information about company fitness challenges, a ‘healthy family photo’ challenge, health benefits enrollment, and flu shot information.

Vince Blando, wellness coordinator for Saint-Gobain, had this to say in an interview from 2010:

It [our strategy] really helps us drive participation. For us, the social media thing is great because it costs almost nothing, and you get a lot of information and to a lot of people. The initial feedback has been really positive. [Our employees] see usefulness to it. This lets them digest what we’re sending out more at their own pace. We definitely see the value. It can be such a huge payoff for such a minimal investment and risk. [4]

Unfortunately, Blando does not expand on what value Saint-Gobain has measured as a result of their social media wellness program, and activity on the LiveWell social media sites has declined since 2013, although they still have some presence.

However, the experience of other companies using online fitness challenges and social media indicate huge potential value in engaging employees in wellness programs using social media. For example, Sprint Nextel Corp. has estimated it saves approximately $1.1 million through companywide fitness challenge launched in 2011, as employees’ healthier lifestyles led to fewer medical claims[5].

Lessons:  Social media tools promote interactive engagement with the company’s wellness program, and with other employees. Although it takes time and sustained effort to foster an environment for social wellness programs to thrive, the benefits to employers and to their employees can be significant.

Submitted by: Michelle Maw

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[1] Wellness Proposals

[2]Benefits Canada.

[3] Workforce

[4] Benefits Canada(as above)

[5] Workforce (as above)