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Health Club Operators Should Use Their Expertise to Partner on Corporate Wellness Programs

Health Club Operators Should Use Their Expertise to Partner on Corporate Wellness Programs

Executives at many companies have the best of intentions when it comes to creating wellness programs that will make a difference in their employees’ lives. Unfortunately, many of them fall short of their intentions. The reasons for these failures vary. Some lack the money to invest in wellness programs, some lack the knowledge to put these programs together, some lack the staff to lead them and some lack the commitment required for their success.

You, however, have the knowledge, the staff and the commitment to lead these programs. You just need to convince these business owners of that and also convince them how their dollars spent on a partnership with you will save them more money in the long run by lowering their health care costs.

A recent survey of 1,598 companies in various industries by insurance brokerage company Willis North America shows that the corporate wellness market is growing. Sixty percent of the surveyed companies offer a wellness program, 8 percent plan to offer one in the future and 33 percent do not offer any program. Of the companies that offer a wellness program, only 10 percent offer a comprehensive program (which means they have a large budget for the program, offer broad incentives to participate, track workout data, track data on how the program is benefitting the company and allow spouses to participate.) Fifty-eight percent plan to expand their wellness program. These numbers show that while a large percentage of businesses offer wellness programs, a large number still do not, leaving room for opportunity.

However, spending on wellness programs is a bit anemic. Of those surveyed, 49 percent have a defined budget for corporate wellness, and 47 percent of those invest less than $50 per employee each year in their wellness program.

The lack of spending may lead you to believe that your time is better spent on other revenue possibilities, but 30 percent of those companies plan to increase or establish a budget. Better yet, some of that money likely will go to partners, as 15 percent plan to partner with a vendor. Forty percent of the respondents already use a third-party wellness vendor, and 44 percent already partner with a local fitness center.

Some larger health club and fitness management companies spotted the opportunity in this market years ago, partnering with larger corporations on their wellness programs. Perhaps it is time you make a splash in your local market by marketing your expertise to smaller local businesses.

However, to do well in partnerships with businesses of any size, you must be able to deliver what you promise and make a financial and personnel commitment to this. You must research some of the best wellness programs out there and decide how you can offer something similar. You also must invest in educating your staff and recruiting a knowledgeable group of people who are not just dedicated to running these programs but also are adept at doing so.

Business leaders want these programs, but wellness is not their area of expertise. Lucky for them and you, it is your area of expertise. The added costs for you upfront will be worth the payoff later.

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