The field of corporate wellness is constantly growing. Now more than ever, companies are starting to understand that worksite wellness programs can improve their business and are ready to incorporate corporate health promotion into their workplace.
Yet there is a problem. According to recent research, although many companies understand that wellness can benefit the workplace, very few employers appear to have any understanding of how wellness affects their workforce. They know that they need corporate wellness, but after that they are lost. That is why they need corporate wellness coaches – individuals that understand wellness and can help put their company in the right direction.
What is the Definition of Wellness?
Wellness is a broad term that incorporates many different facets of an improved, healthy life (25). From the physical (regular exercise, weight loss, muscle growth) to the behavioral (quitting smoking, seatbelt use), to the mental (stress management, grief management), wellness in the workplace is anything that promotes a healthier way of living.
When employees decide to engage in health promotion in the workplace, they are committing to the idea of reducing the health risk factors that plague most employees. They are investing the idea that by helping employees live a healthier lifestyle, the company will receive not only financial gains, but a workforce that is healthy, energetic, and supports the company.
The Benefits of Corporate Wellness
Over the past several decades, corporate wellness has seen a wealth of evidence that prove the benefits of a healthy workforce. The results are undeniable: Companies that incorporate wellness programs see a return on investment of as much as $10.00 for everyone one dollar spent – and that is just in traditionally measurable results alone (48). Corporate wellness also shows improvements in areas like:
- Employee Morale – Some reports show an improvement in employee morale of as much as 56% or more, depending on the size of the company and the number of employees that utilize it.
- Attracting the Best Employees – Companies are constantly in competition with one another to attract the best workers. Companies that offer worksite wellness programs often find that these employees are more attracted to their workplace rather than a company that doesn’t offer such programs.
- Reducing Turnover – Similarly, companies that offer worksite wellness programs see a decrease in turnover. Employees want to stick with companies that are dedicated to their health, because the company itself becomes a part of their daily lifestyle.
Yet another benefit of corporate wellness is its ability to improve employee alertness and productivity. When most companies consider the ROI of corporate wellness programs, they focus on lost production from sick leave and the rising costs of healthcare. But another common issue that arises in the workplace are employees that come to work physically but not mentally, due to such issues as:
- Stress at work
- Lack of sleep
- Poor nutrition
- Low energy
Productivity is difficult to measure, as an employee’s contributions to the company are not always directly quantifiable. Yet there is considerable evidence that employees that engage in corporate wellness programs see as much as a 20% increase in productivity from each employee – possibly more in workplaces that suffered from low morale or an aging workforce.
All of this means that not only does the company receive more than six times as much as their investment in more traditional measurable statistics (absenteeism, healthcare, etc.), but they may be receiving much more than that in intangible measurements from each individual employee – all while providing programs that are personally beneficial to each employee as well.
Companies Are Starting to Get the Message About the Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programs
Corporate wellness has become a priority for businesses across the country. Companies need wellness programs. Even without the ROI, being dedicated to improving employee’s quality of life is a moral obligation that each company needs to uphold. And since companies can benefit financially from instituting corporate wellness programs, the need for businesses to adopt effective wellness programs is clear.
A Career in Corporate Wellness
Although employers have recognized the need for wellness in the workplace, few have been able to create the programs themselves. Companies have instead decided to go to outside consultants with the knowledge and experience necessary to bring back the greatest value for the company’s dollar.
That is where corporate wellness coaching comes in. As a corporate wellness coach, you will be the individual that the company will call when it needs someone to initiate wellness programs into the workplace. Your knowledge and skills will be used to create effective programs that will make a difference both for the company and for the employees.
Corporate wellness coaches take on several different roles when it comes to promoting wellness. Your job will include some aspects of:
- Research – Your programs as a corporate wellness coach need to be based in research. You will need to research the most effective programs given the company’s population and culture. You will also need to provide questionnaires, polls, and risk assessment tests to employees in order to gauge what the most beneficial program will be. Research is a considerable part of your job and plays a large role in what programs you bring to the company.
- Marketing – Corporate wellness coaches must market their programs constantly. In the beginning you will need to be promoting your ideas with executives and your wellness committee. Once you have decided on the best programs to use, your job will be to market your programs to the employees that need them the most, and do your best to increase participation in the workplace.
- Accounting/Budgeting – Managing a detailed budget is going to be another important aspect of your job. You will find that as a corporate wellness coach you will need to create and manage a detailed, specific budget, constantly calculating and recalculating the ever changing costs of providing wellness in the workplace.
- Project Management – As a corporate wellness coach, you will be in charge of a number of different people, dealing with several different vendors, and possibly coordinating with offsite satellite companies on a regular basis. Your ability to organize and communicate will be an important part of your career.
- Educator – Although sometimes you will be hiring educators to help teach wellness to the company, often you will be the educator yourself, leading meetings and explaining the benefits of wellness to employees and executives on a regular basis. Knowledge is going to be one of your weapons as you try to improve wellness in the workplace.
- Politician – There are going to be some parts of your job as a corporate wellness coach that will resemble being a politician. It will be your job to promote the positives and spin the negatives of your programs to maintain support from within the company and get your budget approved every year.
Corporate wellness coaches have a variety of different responsibilities. For some this may be challenging, but it also means that wellness coaching, unlike anything else, gives you the potential to experience a variety of different fields at once, so that the work feels fresh and interesting. It uses several different skillsets and allows to you showcase your abilities to companies all across the country.
The Costs of Wellness, the Benefits of You
The current state of healthcare and wellness as created some sobering statistics:
- The primary cause of bankruptcy in the US is serious illness.
- Over 2.3 trillion dollars is spent on health care every year.
- The US spends 10% more on health care than countries with a universal health care system.
- Preventable illness represents 70% of the cost of all illnesses.
- Health Care represents 14% of the GDP.
- Obesity alone increases health care costs by $1,500 on average.
- Medical costs alone eat up over half of all corporate profits.
Corporations that do nothing to improve wellness see their costs skyrocket and their productivity decrease. The United States – along with companies across the nation – experience losses when wellness gets ignored.
On the other hand, companies that improve wellness in the workplace receive considerable benefits, including:
- Lower Healthcare Costs – Companies like Waste Management, Inc. found that by simply implementing a stress management program, the company was able to save as much as $3,500 to $15,000 per participant, per year in health care claims.
- Reduced Absenteeism – Northern Gas found that the companies that utilized their exercise program used sick days an astounding 80% less than employees that skipped the programs.
- Reduced Turnover – Employees at British Columbia Hydroelectric found that those that participated in their pilot program had a turnover rate of 3.5%. Those that didn’t maintained a turnover rate of 10.3%.
- Improved Productivity – NASA found that participation in their exercise program lead to a 12.5% increase in productivity versus those that did not use the program, not including greater reported concentration, focus, and decision making ability.
The numbers are undeniable. Worksite wellness works. And as a corporate wellness coach, the programs that you implement will go a long way towards improving the financial health of the business and, perhaps more importantly, the health and wellness of the employee population.
Becoming a Corporate Wellness Coach
Within the Corporate Wellness Coach Certification training course, you will learn many of the ins and outs of becoming a corporate wellness coach. You will learn how to choose, select, and market your programs, as well as manage the budget, gauge employee interest, evaluate your efforts and maintain employer support.
Corporate wellness coaching is a growing, profitable career, and as the obesity and healthcare costs increase throughout the country, your coaching is needed now more than ever.