by Beth Shepard   Beth's profile on LinkedIn  

Trevor in Sales is excited about your team walking challenge; it appeals to his competitive nature and sounds like fun. Upstairs, Monica in IT is rallying her coworkers; she hopes the accountability of showing up for her team will keep her on track. And down the hall, José in Payroll is interested, but not thrilled; he feels discouraged by previous attempts at getting fit, but figures it might be worth another try.

We’d like to think people sign up for wellness programs because of something we have control over — like a really cool platform, eye-catching incentives, and irresistible marketing pieces. These extrinsic factors influence participation to an extent, but below the surface it’s the intrinsic, personal factors that inspire involvement and lasting success.

How do you effectively promote your wellness program when so many elements affect a decision to join or not join? Take a closer look; many reasons that seem unrelated share common motivational roots. Identify and tap into these behavior-change catalysts to make your program — and marketing efforts — more attractive to your target audience.

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

New clients always want to know the ideal length of time for a wellness campaign. It depends… on the topic, audience, time of year, frequency, previous experience with campaigns, and the goal (participation, outcomes, goodwill, etc.). Sometimes that response produces a heavy sigh on the other end of the line — they just want it to be easy.

But the dirty little secret in wellness is that changing ingrained health behaviors of individuals and populations is hard. Some wellness managers unknowingly make it even harder on themselves with programming decisions based on ease of implementation. And uninformed (or unscrupulous) vendors can make the problem much worse by offering up the “simple” solution, which really means the answer you want to hear so they get the sale. Whether the campaign has any lasting impact is secondary, if even a serious consideration at all.

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We’re in the middle of vetting financial education providers for our employees; a top criterion is having a certified financial planner (CFP) paid by the hour, not by commission. The reason is simple: We don’t want an incentive to guide employees toward specific investments sold by the CFP.

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We have the good fortune of working with hundreds of wellness professionals from all industries and circumstances each year and have learned which traits seem to always help the most successful stay at the top of the heap.


  • Verbal and written communication skills. Within the first few conversations and written exchanges we can usually tell if we’re working with a high-achieving wellness professional. They have the unique ability to communicate their message at the level their audience understands and responds to, without sounding patronizing. They’re generally jargon-free and direct without sounding abrupt. And they are exceptional listeners.
  • Achievement orientation. They keep score — if not formally, in their head. They want to know why they had 40% signup this time when they had 44% last time. They set goals for themselves and their wellness program and hold themselves accountable for reaching them. If they fall short of their own expectations they look first to their role and actions before outside causes.