You’ve chosen a corporate musculoskeletal program, and you’re ready to tackle the top source of healthcare spending in the U.S. But to get the improvements in employee health and cost savings you’re looking for, HR leaders have to ensure that employees, to put it simply, use the program.

HR leaders know that the first few weeks – or even days – after a wellness program launch are critical. Make the most of your program launch with a plan that includes attention-grabbing details, answers to frequently-asked questions, and a vision for how employees will learn about your program beyond launch.

Below, we’ve outlined the specific steps your team should plan for when getting started with a digital musculoskeletal pain program.

1. Define who qualifies for the program

Before launching your MSK program, familiarize yourself with the program’s specific qualifications:

  • What kind of pain does your program address (chronic, acute, etc.)?
  • What pain areas does your program address?
  • Are employees with co-morbidities eligible to participate?

Next, consider your company’s own restrictions. Will spouses be able to enroll in the program? How about adult dependents on their parents’ plan? If you have any questions about the details of your program, check with your vendor. You can also ask them to provide a list of frequently asked questions you can use as reference throughout your program.

2. Develop outreach materials that reflect your employee’s preferences

Every workplace is different. Some employees may be active in an employee benefits channel on Slack, while others may learn about wellness programs through posters in the break room. Many may not think about benefits much outside of open enrollment or when they have a healthcare need to address.

HR teams know your employees and their preferences best, though it’s always also worth testing out fresh approaches, too. For example, virtual fairs promoting remote work wellness may replace in-person ones during COVID-19. Benefits elections are also increasingly made on mobile devices. Take communication preferences into account when developing a suite of materials to promote your new MSK pain program.

At Fern Health, we work closely with our clients to develop personalized outreach materials that reflect their specific workplace setting and communication preferences. For example, some of our clients have employees working remotely from around the country. A digital program is the best fit for a remote workforce. Manufacturing clients, on the other hand, have employees working in person with little access to email during the day. Print materials are critical to success for their employees.

3. If you can, introduce your program to the team with a dedicated presentation

When launching a new wellness program, the first few days after introducing it are critical. Build interest and anticipation by holding an official launch day and presentation. Whether you’re hosting a Zoom meeting or an in-person launch, give plenty of context to your program and share the specific steps employees should take to sign up.

In your presentations, use familiar language and think from the employee’s perspective. For example, in most workplaces, you wouldn’t want to use the words “musculoskeletal pain.” Instead, talk about the specific pain areas your program addresses, such as low back pain and shoulder pain.

Visuals are also critical to explaining your digital MSK pain program. Include screenshots or videos from the program, and highlight features that will catch your employees’ attention. For example, if you were launching with Fern Health, you may want to highlight that all members receive one-on-one coaching and a free welcome kit.

4. Place posters and other print materials on the same day as your launch

If your employees are working in person, reinforce your message by placing posters and other print materials where employees spend the most time. Make sure each poster includes clear directions on how to sign up, and where to go to learn more or ask questions.

5. Prep your team leaders and ambassadors

Before officially launching your program, hold a prep meeting with team leaders or other ambassadors. Make sure they have a complete grasp of the program’s details so they can explain it to their team members. In a musculoskeletal pain program, team leads can also help identify employees who may benefit from the program. For example, in a manufacturing plant, employees may talk to their team leads about pain they experience during work. Team leads can then refer employees to your MSK program.

On-site clinics are also an effective referral source for MSK pain programs. Make sure your on-site clinic understands who qualifies for your MSK program before you launch.

6. Think about how you’ll promote the program beyond launch

Work with your MSK vendor to create a plan for promoting your program beyond your initial launch. Think about:

  • What opportunities do you have throughout the year to highlight your ongoing wellness programs?
  • How will you ensure new employees are aware of your program?
  • How will you measure the success of your program?

At Fern Health, we work closely with our clients to develop personalized launch plans specific to the needs of your workforce.

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