Using Technology and Innovation as a tool of engagement in Health and Wellness

We just finished ILSHRM11 and I was honored to be asked to participate in judging Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois WOWIE awards.

Every year companies all over Illinois are encouraged to enter the WOWIE awards – which is I think, an awesome acknowledgement of Health and Wellness initiatives on behalf of these organizations.

One of the takeaways, however, and my advice to companies as seen in this article was that companies should totally take advantage of online technology and even mobile technology, as this was something that was utilized very little as it regards to health and wellness.

Part of my advice to companies going forward was to utilize technology and social media in developing employee engagement IN HOUSE, as it relates to health and wellness. In this present age of talking via tweet, the term social networks now makes people think of Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. However, according to Dr. Larry Miller, president and CEO of Activate Networks, flesh-and-blood social networks are just as critical, if not more important, than those relationships forged in cyberspace.

Forming organic relationships such as those that employees form from working together, having an online support and interaction with corporate networks can lengthen the companies professional reach and improve their overall employee morale and engagement.

Social networks are critical to innovation and can drive organizational change and these types of tools can drive success of individual business initiatives like wellness programs.

Tips for Implementation

If you can virtually connect people that are hesitant to make connections in real life and put them on project teams together, these online relationships help build real life relations that extend into the workplace. This brings a more cohesive team, virtually and IRL, which tend to be more productive.

These tools also allow management the possibility of looking for troubled employees who can also spread negativity just as quickly as positive messages from key employees and allow for resolutions to quickly nip those things in the bud – at the onset. Disenfranchised employees can magnify their impact through the network but just as easily, it can be used for good.

In the end, social capital improves results and innovation.

Take a moment to check out Illinois State Council of Human Resource’s online WOW wellness site.

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