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Why Healthier Companies Win Big in the Stock Market and How Club Owners Can Lead the Way

Health club operators who know how to communicate the importance of good corporate wellness programs to the bottom line and then can deliver those programs to the business will have the advantage in the future.  

As a health club operator, you have a great opportunity to increase your revenue by offering great corporate wellness programming to businesses surrounding your facility. Many business leaders perceive the secondary benefits of corporate wellness. For these executives, encouraging employees to stay fit and healthy can be good for boosting morale, as well as cutting the costs of implementing and maintaining company-driven healthy insurance policies. Yet recent studies have shown that organizational leaders who place an emphasis on fit and health employees are far more likely to enjoy something else, too: better gains in the stock market.

These studies could lead to great opportunities for health club companies to be a greater asset to business operators looking for partnerships in their wellness programs.

More Than Just a Cost-Cutting Tool

In a study published by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers analyzed the stock market performance of companies with high scores in health or safety in the Corporate Health Achievement Award (CHAA) process under six scenarios using simulation and past market performance. They discovered that CHAA portfolios outperformed the S&P average on all tests, leading to the conclusion that a healthy and safe workforce correlates with a company's performance and its ability to provide positive returns to shareholders. International research has shown that countries such as South Africa and the United Kingdom have similar performance metrics with companies that place a premium on corporate wellness programs.

The research isn't surprising because companies that implement corporate wellness programs have already placed a premium on employee safety, health and wellness. These are the companies that are telling their employees that they are more than just a worker; they are a person who plays an invaluable role in helping the company be successful. With this in mind, employees are more likely to feel a sense of loyalty and ownership to the company. In fact, I find that employees who participate in corporate wellness programs are more likely to:

  • Contribute the kind of thought leadership that creates innovation
  • Stay longer with the company
  • Treat their fellow employees with fairness and respect
  • Look for new ways to contribute to the company's successes
  • Participate in other company programs, such as volunteering efforts

Safe and healthy employees are also more likely to be highly motivated and productive within the workplace. When leadership at a company demonstrates that they are committed to their employees' sense of happiness and worth, the employees are going to feel valued by the employer and be more motivated to come to work, want to contribute to more workplace conversations, and feel a greater sense of responsibility and ownership to the organization.

As employee productivity and motivation increases, so does stakeholder and investor confidence. As an organization begins to benefit from the increased productivity of employees, stakeholders and investors begin to notice this improvement by way of more efficient business processes, better customer service and even ballooning revenue. These key factors signify that a company is healthy and successful – in other words, a surefire bet on the stock market.

As you can see, employee health and corporate wellness doesn't exist in a vacuum; rather, all of these factors contribute to better organizational performance, as well as superior ranking in the stock market. The compounded effects can produce real gains for a business.

With this knowledge under your belt now, isn't it time for you as a club operator to share this information with businesses in your area and then share with them how you can offer a great wellness program that will improve their bottom line?

Rolling Out a Corporate Wellness Program with the KISS Model

If you have never implemented a corporate wellness program for a company, you should keep a few things in mind.

First, remember KISS. KISS stands for Keep Integrating Simple Steps in the employee wellness environment.

The KISS Employee Wellness Environment is supportive and systematic, with preparation and activation of healthy lifestyle choices that result in greater employee willingness and accountability for their own health.

Before you can start, make sure you have support at the highest level possible. CEO support and participation are paramount to success. The CEO can set the tone for a company's wellness program by openly and boldly providing an announcement and expression of support in the form of a personal letter or email blast to each employee.

Next, assess the reasons why the company is implementing this program so you can ensure you are providing the right options. You can get this information by conducting an employee health interest survey. Why not introduce all wellness activities and events after the employees are asked their opinions and needs by survey.

You should also be familiar with the regulations, compliance issues and other legal questions that may come up when implementing a corporate wellness program.

Make sure your corporate wellness program doesn't emphasize the wrong health benefits. For example, if a corporate wellness program overemphasizes weight loss, this could quickly turn into a slippery slope. In a worst-case scenario, some employees with medical conditions may feel discriminated against because you're rewarding employees for losing weight. Although this doesn't always lead to legal action, it can lead to disgruntled and unhappy employees.

With that in mind, make sure you implement a wellness program that doesn't penalize employees for opting out because you don't want employees to feel forced to join a wellness program, especially since this scenario could be ground for legal action. Ensure that any employees who don't opt into the program aren't accidentally penalized for their refusal to be involved. For example, many business leaders make the mistake of offering bonuses and other monetary benefits to employees who achieve healthy milestones via this program; however, non-participants have no recourse for similar bonuses. You'll need to verify that all employees within the organization – regardless of their participation in your program – have access to comparable incentives and benefits.

Once the corporate wellness program has been implemented, carefully track its progress so you can determine if it's an ideal fit for the business. Although employee motivation and satisfaction can be tough criteria to measure, you should help the business operator analyze traditional metrics surrounding business processes and procedures. Are the employees getting more work done in less time? Are more people speaking up with their own ideas during meetings? Do employee attitudes feel more positive? Are the company's absenteeism rates on a steady decline? The answers to these questions can provide you with key clues as to the effect of your corporate wellness program.

If the wellness program is having a positive impact on the organization, make sure the business owner lets stakeholders, investors and other key players know about the success. These individuals and groups want to stay in the loop about how the company is improving morale and productivity, as both factors can be huge influencers for revenue and market performance. Highlight the major benefits the company has seen since rolling out the corporate wellness program. For example, if absenteeism rates have considerably dropped, don't hesitate to draw that link to the corporate wellness program. Eventually, the stakeholders and investors should become more confident in the health and performance of the business, which means they will be more on board to continue the corporate wellness program with your company leading the initiative.

Although researchers are still conducting studies about the correlation between corporate wellness programs and sky-high market performances, there is enough evidence to suggest that business leaders should give these programs serious thought. Corporate wellness programs shouldn't be seen as just a cost-cutting tool. Rather, they need to be viewed as a real and essential tool in improving an organization's success – and a real tool in helping club operators move the health of the country in a more positive direction while earning valuable revenue opportunities for themselves.


Greg Justice is founder and creator of Corporate Fitness System and AYC Health & Fitness, Kansas City's Original Personal Training Center. He has mentored, taught and partnered with trainers in nine countries, 45 states, and six Canadian provinces to provide on-site corporate fitness. You can reach him at Greg Justice.

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