Tailored Communications on Health, Well-being Essential For Optimal Employee Impact, Business Group on Health Study Shows

Infographic available upon request; it also can be downloaded here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 7 – Employers communicating about health and well-being will see maximum impact when the information is tailored for the scenario and sometimes for the employee, according to a just-released study by Business Group on Health and its research partner, ROC Group.

The findings come against the backdrop of the pandemic, which has resulted in employees relying more heavily on their employers to communicate clearly and in a supportive nature.

“We already know that effective messaging and communications approaches can have a direct, positive and lasting impact on employee health,” said Brenna Shebel, a vice president of the Business Group, who oversaw the study. “Now, as a result of our research, we have a clear set of opportunities for employers to leverage in the future.”

The study, “Impact & Influence: 2021 Study of Health and Well-being Communication,” specifically gauged the effect of employer communications through the eyes of the employee through five scenarios: improving physical health, addressing emotional well-being, overcoming a financial challenge, signing up for a health plan, and using benefits throughout the year. It comprised a survey of 2,001 employees, a separate survey of 65 employers and interviews with top human resources and benefits communicators.

The research found that employees were generally more motivated by peers and managers on more personal topics such as physical and emotional well-being, and looked to those with expertise, whom they may not know personally, for guidance on health plans and benefits.

“We saw some interesting differences for financial well-being communications,” said Janice Burnham, founder and CEO of ROC Group, said, adding, “Employees preferred information from outside vendors, like their 401(k) provider and financial well-being vendors. That has implications as employers increasingly add financial resources and assistance to help their workforces. Employers need to remain the endorsers of these benefits, demonstrating their care for employee well-being, while the vendors provide more detailed explanations.”

The results of the employer survey provide some solid benchmarking data on companies’ approaches as well as compelling generational data.

If an employer is building a strategy to better engage baby boomers in physical well-being or better support Gen Zers in picking a health plan for the first time, our data could give them an idea of how they view well-being, who gets them to take notice, and which communications could result in more robust health engagement.

Brenna Shebel, Vice President, Business Group on Health

To learn more about the study:

About Business Group on Health

Business Group on Health is the leading non-profit organization representing large employers’ perspectives on optimizing workforce strategy through innovative health, benefits and well-being solutions and on health policy issues. The Business Group keeps its membership informed of leading-edge thinking and action on health care cost and delivery, financing, affordability and experience with the health care system. Business Group members include 70 Fortune 100 companies as well as large public-sector employers, who collectively provide health and well-being programs for more than 60 million individuals in 200 countries. For more information, visit