City of San Antonio

It's About You

The Problem

Mayor Emanuel of Chicago was joined by Mayor Castro of San Antonio and leadership from the beverage industry to create an innovative municipal wellness challenge that pit employees from San Antonio and Chicago in a competition against each other, to see who could improve their wellness profile the most, with the opportunity to earn cash rewards. The program was supported by a $5 million grant from the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America.

In years past, City of San Antonio employees had largely ignored the many wellness programs available to them. Only 500-600 employees were participating in these programs. Employees were not aware of or did not understand program benefits such as flex spending accounts (FSA). Last, with over 13,000 employees scattered among dozens of departments and with many not being 100% fluent in English, it was a challenge to reach all employees on a personal level.

The Objectives

aMAEzing Marketing Group was contracted to spearhead an internal campaign to help San Antonio take the win in this competition by communicating the plan and benefits to all eligible COSA employees.  In order to count as a participant of the challenge, employees must 1. complete an Online Health Assessments and 2. complete a Biometric Screening or a Preventive Exam. We were also tasked with increasing participation in the Virgin Health Miles program and educating employees on what FSA accounts are and how to use them. One of our challenges included reassuring employees that data collected is confidential and will not affect their employment or insurance.

The Plan

Our first step in the process was to create, execute, and evaluate an employee survey to discover why employees were not participating in the wellness programs and to identify the best ways to communicate with employees. Next we put together a comprehensive communications plan that would allow us to target every one of our audience members from managers to field workers. Our plan included working with partner organizations that were already involved in wellness initiatives and creating new partnerships with community resources.

The Tactics

  • Campaign logo and theme – The It’s About You! campaign was created to make the message personal. Through internal communications, we requested that employees send photos of themselves engaged in a wellness activity. The response was overwhelming and we created marketing collateral featuring these photos to encourage employees to follow by example. (see logo below)
  • Events – As a midyear campaign refresh, we invited employees to come to the heart of downtown to hear City Manager Sheryl Sculley and Mayor Julian Castro speak about the program. We created a fun event with a live band, organic food, and even the San Antonio Spurs Coyote.
  • Communications – Numerous communication pieces were created including paycheck stuffers, Facebook, email, website, bathroom banter, direct mail, and the e-Connection newsletter.
  • Engagement – In order to keep the employees engaged throughout the campaign, we kept in touch with them by provide a healthy tip of the week through an internal social network and we created a recipe challenge where they could share their favorite healthy food. Last we created giveaways and shirts to give the campaign more visibility.

The Results

On June 4th at our mid-year kickoff, Mayor Julian Castro expressed how proud he was that City of San Antonio employees had taken such a great interest in the Wellness Program. The City now has 3,400 employees participating in at least one wellness initiative – that is nearly a 500% increase from any other year.  Additionally, those employees who are participating in the Virgin HealthMiles pedometer program have taken more than two billion steps since January.
With two months left until the end of the challenge, we have reached 13% participation, which means that more than 1,000 employees have taken both steps to participate in the challenge.