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‘Hook’ employees to make your health fair a success

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Health fairs teach employees about your organization’s wellness programs and encourage them to practice healthier habits—but only if they show up. To get your employees interested in blood-pressure screenings and dieting information, think of a hook that will draw them in.

“Anything you can do that’s different, anything to engage people on a higher level,” says Larry Hicks of the health consulting firm Hay Group. “People seem … to do better when there’s some thematic linkage.”

Example: International banking firm HSBC encouraged employees to bring their pets with them to a local branch’s health fair. “They actually got a lot more people to show up that way,” Hicks says.

Here are more strategies to lure employees and their families to your health fair:

Schedule the event at a time that’s convenient for employees, like midday in the middle of the week. Give employees time off to go to the fair.

Aside from your organization’s health care providers, invite representatives from local health clubs, the fire and police departments and local branches of national groups, such as the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Red Cross.

Include a dietitian and a massage therapist in the fair—their booths will be among the most popular.

If your organization has sports teams or a walking club, include them. A health fair is a prime spot to recruit for the company softball squad.

Offer confidential, clinical screenings for conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. However, Hicks warns companies to avoid tests for HIV or other diseases whose results aren’t quickly available or could trigger a negative reaction in the employee being tested.

Ask local businesses to donate raffle prizes. Distribute tickets to employees who visit a large number of booths.

Recruit an upper-management “hero” who will help promote the fair to employees.

Hand out a short survey after the fair to gather feedback and opinions from employees. This shows you value their input, and it will help you make the next health fair even more appealing.

Encourage employees to bring their families to the fair. In some families, the primary health decision-maker is the employee’s spouse.

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