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How To Avoid An Empty Health Fair

Posted on Thursday December 22 2016

HR and benefits professionals - If you're going to take the time to plan a health/wellness fair, the last thing you want is for none of your employees show up!

It's a helpless feeling that leaves you scratching your head and wondering why/how the heck did this happen. As you break down your empty health fair early, apologizing to vendors as they leave, you'll probably be racking your brain...

"What could I have done better? How did I let this happen?"

But hey, don't beat yourself up. I'm here to help.

And although it doesn't seem like it yet, this post is written to help you avoid/prevent an empty 2017 health/wellness fair.

So with further ado, below are quite a few tips that will ensure an increase in the employee turnout at your health/wellness fair:

Unique And Interactive is Key

In case you didn't know...

No one wants to walk through a health/wellness fair, pick up a few pamphlets, and have vendor reps tell them how unhealthy they are.

That's. No. Fun.

You need to have at least a few vendors that offer up something fun and interactive to grab your employees' attention.

It's okay for your employees to have fun while being educated on their health/wellbeing.

The picture below is a vendor who brought out an aura reader:

The employees of this health/wellness fair loved it, and this is key:

They went and told other employees at their desk that they needed to come to the health/wellness fair to try the aura reader.

If you're struggling to think of unique and interactive vendors, you can always contact the local wellness center and secure free massages.

That alone will spike employee interest (although I recommend adding a few more interactive/fun vendors as well).

Get Your Time Right (And Day)

Now to clarify, I'm not referring to the duration of your health/wellness fair.

I'm talking about the time frame of your event (morning, lunch, afternoon), as well as the day you pick for your health/wellness fair.

Keep in mind your employee's schedule, their busy times as well as days that are hectic.

Seems simple, but a lot of times HR and benefits pros do not take the time to think this out and end up with an empty health/wellness fair. You can't have a high employee turnout if half of your employees are off-site or can't get away from a large project or deadline.

If you're struggling to think of the right time frame, it's usually a safe bet to schedule your health/wellness fair during the lunch hour.

And for the love of Pete! Don't schedule it during after-work hours.

And please, please, please do not schedule it on the weekend (I have seen this happen).

You're setting yourself up for failure.

If You Feed Them, They Will Come

For you sports/movies fans, that title is a play on the iconic phrase from the movie, Field Of Dreams.

No biggie if you don't know the reference because this is pretty straightforward:

Provide food, and you'll have no issues getting your employees to attend your health/wellness fair.

I realize this requires you to have a budget for your event, but It's certainly worth it if you have the resources.

If you can provide food, it's critical you keep this in mind:

Don't put the food outside of the health/wellness fair venue or in the very front as you might get quite a few employees who grab food and go - making in not beneficial to you, the vendors, or your employees.

Entice Them With Prizes!

You would be surprised how much of an impact an employee raffle can make on the turnout of your health/wellness fair.

And you might be thinking:

"Where am I going to get all these prizes to make it worthwhile for my employees?"

No worries, as the vendors will bring them for you!

I'm not trying to plug HFC's platform right now, but all vendors on the platform are required to bring a raffle prize and tell you what the prize is up front...just saying :)

And if you have the budget, adding a grand prize to the raffle will spike their interest even more.

The College Foundation of NC had a grand prize of an iPad, and it significantly increased the employee turnout from the year before.

So, don't forget to ask your vendors to bring a raffle prize to your health/wellness fair.

None Of This Matters If You Do Not Promote

You can plan the greatest health/wellness fair of all time, and none of that matters if your employees have not clue it's going on.

I can't recall how many companies I have been to where I pass an employee in the hallway, ask them if they plan on attending their health/wellness fair that day, and they have no idea what I'm talking about.

So, be sure you spread the word as much as you can.

Here are a few tips that can help you with this:

  • Print out flyers and post them in the hallway, bathroom stalls and mirrors, and any other place in the office you know has a high volume of foot traffic
  • Change the company screensavers to be reminders of the health fair
  • Send out reminder emails the day of the event
  • Make an intercom announcement when the health/wellness fair has started
  • SHOUT down the halls if needed :)

So, I truly believe that if you keep these tips in mind when planning your 2017 health/wellness fair, you're going to see a spike in the employee interest/turnout.

Please feel free to share or comment with other tips as well.

Thanks for reading!


More About Health Fair Connections (HFC):

Simply put, we offer the only nationwide health fair planning tool that helps HR and benefits professionals automate 95% of the health fair planning process. The coolest part: it's like online shopping for health fair vendors. This tool is completely free to use, and you can get started at any time by clicking here.

  • Tim Sackett's (President of HRU Tech) post about HFCClick Here
  • HFC made William Tincup's Recruiting Daily List of 100 HR Technologies worth watching: Click Here

  • HFC's Competitive Matrix:

Link to large PDF of Competitive Matrix.

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