Open enrollment is here and that means your annual health fair! That's right. It's time to bring your benefits vendors together so that employees can learn what is being offered for the year.
Colin Hewett, Director of Client Services at Bluebook, knows a thing or two when it comes to health fairs.
“It's all about how you approach them because everyone's busy and has limited time. Step one is identifying your employee demographic. We’ve had a lot of success, as a vendor, when we bring giveaways that are tailored to the member demographics and do product demonstrations using local data. With a little effort and creativity, your health fair can be a success for both you and the vendors attending.”
While health fairs are a great opportunity, how can you tell if they’re effective and engaging? If you're seeing a low employee attendance rate or getting negative reviews from employees, chances are something isn't working.
Here are five ways to make your next health fair a success for both you and your employees:
1. Make it Fun
While this may seem obvious, it's harder than it sounds. Tactics like themed health fairs, music, and interactive games are a few examples that can liven up your next health fair. Having a raffle that involves stopping by all your vendors is also something to consider for increased engagement. Think about how you can get everyone involved in a way that's fun and educational at the same time.
What’s a better way to motivate people than food? Since it is a health fair, remember to keep food somewhat healthy . If you're having a themed health fair, bring food that aligns with the theme. Having a Hawaiian themed health fair? Serve fruit and nuts. Having a Mexican themed health fair? Serve veggie fajitas. If you don’t go with a theme, serving food is always a great incentive to get employees to your health fair, especially around breakfast or lunch.
Without proper communication and promotion to your employees, a health fair can't succeed. Employee attendance is critical for success. This means communicating time, date and vendors at least a month ahead of time. It also means using the right communication channels. This might be through a company intranet, social media, email or printed materials. Regular and consistent communication is also a must. You should consider the type of occupation segments your employees fall under. For instance, are your employees’ blue collar or white collar? Different segments respond to different forms of communications, so try a few methods before deciding which works best for your company.
4. Time & Date Matter
Consider having your health fair before or during open enrollment. Simply put- that's the best time to educate employees while their health is already on their minds. You also want to make sure your health fair isn’t on or near any major holidays. Beyond that, picking a reasonable time of day when employees are free to attend is also key. While it’s harder for some occupation segments to step away from their jobs, it may mean working with their supervisors to dedicate a certain time frame to attend the health fair.
5. Adding out-of-the Norm Vendors
Include vendors outside of your typical normal attendees (i.e. health insurance carrier, 401K vendor and RX vendor), like the local gym, a health foods store, nearby hospital or dental office. Vendors can and will often provide free services like flu shots, massages and samples. These could also be vendors you've already partnered with to provide discounts to your employees.
While health fairs usually occur once per year, don’t forget consistent communication and engagement throughout the entire year. Healthcare is consumed at all times. So while having a health fair is informative during open enrollment, it’s imperative that you address benefits throughout the entire year.
Think out of the box when it comes to your health fairs. Engage, incentivize and communicate, it’s as simple as that!