Lifestyle Returns: Saving Lives, Reducing Medical Expenses

2010 Welcome to Lifestyle Returns postcard.

2010 Welcome to Lifestyle Returns postcard.


Lifestyle Returns was Hershey’s Highmark-administered wellness program from 2007 to 2011. The program goal was to identify and reduce employee medical risks through the completion of a well-being assessment and getting recommended preventive screenings.


JNC Role: As an actively involved member of the program core team since 2008, I designed and wrote the Lifestyle Returns communications. For each program year, I developed a comprehensive communication strategy and a communication plan featuring monthly communications in various mediums and channels (print, home mailing, e-newsletter, newsletter articles, posters, digital signage, Internet and intranet postings, etc.).

Audience: This program was open to Hershey employees and their spouses/domestic partners who participated in the Highmark medical plan.

LSR 2011 Getting Started Thumbnail
This one-sheet communication provided to employees in January 2011 served as a program overview and a convenient checklist to take to preventive screenings. This communication was also available on and in hard copy at plant locations and health fairs. This communication was very popular with hourly employees.

3 Big Steps Thumbnail Image
This postcard kicked off the 2010 program year by reminding participants that the program was easy, requiring only three steps, informing them when the deadline was, and promoted the benefit in a short, simple message that would be the program theme for the year (“three easy steps”).

LSR 2010 3 easy steps thumbnail imagine
In keeping with the 2010 Lifestyle Returns theme, this article promoted the “three easy steps” and included brief interviews with employees on why they participated in the program. The article appeared in the Summer 2010 “One Hershey News” employee and retiree newsletter.

LSR 2009 How much money thumbnail
This postcard was sent about six weeks before the end of the program year to starkly remind eligible participants that if they didn’t complete the program, they were throwing money away. The timing and receipt of the postcard was so popular, that this strategy was used each year, along with complementary communications in other channels.

Saving Lives Thumbnail Image
I wrote this article to highlight that participation in Lifestyle Returns not only had a monetary incentive, but more importantly, saved lives. The article appeared in the July 2009 “One Hershey News” employee and retiree newsletter.


Communications: The general feedback received was that the Lifestyle Returns communications were clear, simple, and in the right frequency. The Savings Lives: Lifestyle Returns and eCleveland Clinic Consult article invoked an emotional response from readers and was probably the highest-read communication in the program.

Program: While Hershey had highly visible wins with employees and spouses/domestic partners who, through their participation, received early diagnosis of potentially life threatening diseases, overall participation rates were low. Through ad hoc feedback and focus groups, the general consensus was that employees preferred a menu of incentive options and wanted the program expanded to include dependents age 18 and over and to employees outside the Highmark medical plan. This led to the replacement of Lifestyle Returns with the myWell-Being Program, administered by Healthways, in 2012.

More Info

Like many people, I believe there is something special about making a positive difference in another’s life. In the corporate world, finding those opportunities are rare. The Savings Lives: Lifestyle Returns and eCleveland Clinic Consult article was one of those experiences – both during the interviews with Lliane and Megan and the through response that followed after the article was published – where I felt I made a difference.

I appreciate your comments and feedback about any of these communications. Let me know what you like or don’t like or if you have any questions about the communication strategy, the program, or vendors used. Just ask me! Also, from one peer to another, if you see a typo, please let me know. Thanks!

Return to portfolio homepage.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *