You can’t help but be excited to be in San Francisco right now. The Giants just won the first game of the World Series and the city is ecstatic! Even the most reluctant sports fans (like me) are caught up in the excitement.
What causes a whole city to get energized by a sports team? Why does a sense of pride and accomplishment extend so far? (What causes an otherwise disinterested individual to encourage her art director to turn her company’s beloved logo into a Giants cheer?) It is community. And it is one of the most powerful and influential forces that exists.
And, it is one of the most under-used tools in benefits communication. The power of our peer groups is widely documented in research and books like Connected. We know how much our actions and beliefs are influenced by those around us—so much so that obesity and happiness can be predicted via social networks. Yet, few companies encourage a peer-to-peer employee conversations about health. Few have adopted social media to support their education efforts. Few invest in ways that employees and families can connect with each other or learn from each others’ choices.
It is time for companies to take a new look at health, wellness and financial education and let peers—social influence and community—play a role in supporting, motivating and sustaining good decisions. For health, wealth and happiness.
So, I challenge you: before the end of the World Series, put a plan in place to use your community. Find another way for employees and families to connect with each other. Commit to adopting social media—we’ll help you do it well. Challenge your vendors and consultants to use the good examples in your population to influence those who need help. Find the bright spots—the things that are working well—and use them to motivate and encourage those who need to change. You owe it to your team—your employees and their families, the reason why all those benefit programs exist in the first place.
And, we invite you to join our community as we root on the Giants. And, we’ll continue to cheer on all of your efforts to make benefits communication as effective as it can be!