A few years ago, business health fairs were all the rage. Now they’re making a comeback, with a slight twist.
In the past, the fairs often better served the provider(s) who came on-site than the needs of the hosting business or their staff members. More lately, businesses have refined the planning of the events to serve namely to launch or promote a health promotion program.
To be successful, the events need to serve two purposes – boosting staff member education and building their enthusiasm to participate in the health promotion program.
To make sure you and your staff members get the most out of a health fair, it assists to be cognizant of the plusses and minuses – and some little touches that can mean the difference between a so-so event and a hit.
Wellness Fairs – Double-edged sword
On the plus side, employees received easy-to-grasp information on key wellness topics like disease detection, symptom control and smarter medication practices. They also receive important services like free blood-pressure screenings.
On the down side, some professionals said the more newfangled events were more like “disease fairs” than “health fairs.” In other words, the tone was little too somber and personnel weren’t specifically tuned in because they weren’t enjoying themselves.
Wellness program consultant Dr. Ron Goetzel believes that the savviest firms strike a balance in their wellness fairs. Stick with the screenings, but also feature exhibitors who offer “lighter,” more enjoyable services. Examples –
o A booth from a local health-food store
o A chair-massage station
o elder-care info from the AARP, or
o A “complimentary medicine” info booth (e.g.,a chiropractor or an acupuncturist).
In many cases, personnel still need an incentive to attend the fair and get the desired screenings, as well to doing the fun stuff. Some real-life health promotion programs that’ve worked –
o A contest offering prizes to personnel who visit every station
o quizzes and prizes based on info from different vendors’ literature
o flex-scheduling or time-off incentives for getting screened (e.g., a comp day or an additional afternoon off), and
o cash incentives (as little as $20 and as much as $100) to people who voluntarily participate in various screenings.