Six months into pandemic, it doesn’t look like remote working and zoom meetings are going away anytime soon.

This also means that for many of us will continue to hunch over laptops on beds and subject our arms to ill-placed keyboards. The result: months of poor posture is leading to back pain, neck pain and headaches for over 40% of employees working from home.

If your employees are already feeling the physical strain, left untreated they may be on the road to a potentially debilitating musculoskeletal injury, such as a bad back, sore neck and shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome.

Benefit leaders know that employees can’t be productive when they’re in pain. They are realizing that their employees need more support in managing their physical pain at home. Digital musculoskeletal program provides a convenient, safe and low-cost option to address joint and back pain.

Despite the demonstrated value of such solutions, it remains unclear how to promote them to the workforce. None of us have been through a pandemic before and the pandemic has thrown every one of the in-office physical types of engagement opportunities out the window. Benefit leaders have to ensure that all the key points and messages of a digital musculoskeletal program are communicated clearly and timely to members to drive them to action in a mostly at-home, virtual environment.

WHICH CAMP THEY FALL INTO?

When it comes to communication, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it anymore.

For corporate musculoskeletal programs, it makes sense to start the communication plan by segmenting employee audiences and creating employee personas. This can also be done based on different stages of their MSK journey, such as preventive, acute, chronic, pre-surgical, surgery and post-surgery rehab..

Additionally functions, job roles, as well as the impact of the pandemic should be considered in segmentation. For example, there is increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. During this time, it is crucial that communications are conscientious and address such inequalities with sensitivity.

MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE

The intranet is often the last place people will go to find anything related to joints and back pain. To maximize the impact of messaging, it is important to communicate with employees on their channel (mobile, web, email, mailer) of preference. The content should be designed to be responsive on different form-factors to ensure that it is seen. What works on a mailer does not work on a mobile device.

If you are taking assistance in marketing from the digital MSK solution provider, make sure the provider has the tools to design and deliver digital campaigns on multiple channels. Such tools must also measure the impact of such campaigns, with an ability to retarget employees who have expressed interest in specific topics.

COMMUNICATE OFTEN

The communication plan should be designed for early and frequent updates. Majority of employers have scheduled open enrollments in the next couple of months. Unfortunately, their messaging about benefits is going to compete with the 24-hour news cycle and elections coverage.

Given the uncertainty in most businesses, work schedules may be difficult to predict very far in advance. That’s why it may help to allot some time during regular staff/department meetings to communicate updates and ensure all employees are on the same page.

While automated marketing is incredibly cost-effective for frequent communication. It’s essential, however, to avoid being seen as spammy or impersonal at this time. Every email blast, social media post and messaging should be customized and contextualized.

BIDIRECTIONAL COMMUNICATION

One positive outcome of the pandemic has been the widespread availability of bi-directional channels (such as slack) in the workplace for communication. This type of feedback mechanism where employees can express themselves or ask questions is crucial for success for the adoption of the digital musculoskeletal program.

If you have seen success with some communication channels and tools during the pandemic, the same can be continued with necessary adjustments to communicate the MSK program’s value proposition. However, benefit leaders should expect exaggerated responses due to ongoing anxiety and be prepared to respond quickly when questions arise.

A DEDICATED PLACE

Even though Telemedicine usage has skyrocketed during the pandemic, specialized services such as virtual physical therapy, virtual post-surgery rehab and digital therapeutics for chronic pain are new types of benefits for many employees.

Having a dedicated place for the digital musculoskeletal program is very helpful for employees. This page can have information about what’s included as well as support line for any questions.

The program vendor should be providing the necessary support in program enrollment, and resolve any technical issues. If possible, this dedicated page can answer questions about the member coverage and cost-sharing (co-pays, limits etc.) for different services.

The dedicated page should have a section for frequently asked questions (FAQs), to provide quick answers to common questions.

VIRTUAL SESSIONS AND FAIRS

Vendor organized virtual sessions can be very useful to communicate the value of the musculoskeletal program. These sessions can be offered on demand and typically made available outside of a 9-to-5 schedule. If the digital MSK program is offered to spouses and partners, employees should be encouraged to bring them along, to the sessions. Many employees are now much more comfortable with virtual sessions, understanding muting etiquette. They should be encouraged to use cameras for better interaction. To make these sessions interesting, include multiple people (including benefits team and broker), video testimonials and interactive surveys. Each session should end with links to downloadable content, a link to the page for enrollment as well as recording of the session.

In addition, benefit leaders can explore modern virtual benefit fairs platforms that allow for separate vendor breakout sessions for employees to learn more-detailed questions.

Sprite Health corporate musculoskeletal program provides a single point of access for all musculoskeletal conditions, from prevention to postoperative rehab – all in one app. For more information on tools and techniques to promote digital MSK programs to your workforce, please call us at 1-855-234-1849 or write us at hi@spritehealth.com

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