It’s no secret that corporations pay lower health insurance premiums when employees are fit and healthy. But in addition to increasing a corporation’s bottom line, an employee fitness program can improve productivity, boost company morale and enhance benefits packages. As a fitness expert, you can provide a valuable service to a corporation because, although the Human Resources department is technically responsible for overseeing a worksite wellness program, there is often a lack of knowledge about how to develop and implement such a program. A corporation must be equipped to make educated decisions on fitness equipment, exercise classes, employee progress tracking and exercise program adherence. This is where you come in.
Before marketing a corporate wellness program to the businesses in your community, you must develop a fee and program structure. The services you are equipped to offer are primarily dependent on 1) whether or not you have employees to assist with your corporate programs and 2) your time and level of commitment to the corporate fitness aspect of your business. Operating a complete corporate wellness program can take as many hours as a full time job, or it can simply involve a weekly one hour seminar.
Although there are many services you can offer, a weekly or monthly corporate fitness seminar is a good place to start. A seminar is highly effective at showcasing your knowledge and opening doors to more involved interaction with a corporation. By designing PowerPoints and lectures on topics such as Stress Management, Wellness in the Workplace and Fitness for Traveling Executives, you can create a powerful platform to present to a large audience of employees. You can utilize your seminars as part of a more complete corporate wellness program or as a free service that allows you to generate a profitable future relationship. Your seminars will likely be scheduled during a lunch hour and should allow ample time for Q&A. Often, many employees will grudgingly attend as part of a workplace requirement, so you’ll need to ensure that your presentations are as exciting and involved as possible. Very few employees want to hear that “exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and helps save you company health insurance premiums.” On the other hand, if you have a PowerPoint presentation of how to perform a 10 minute metabolism boosting routine inside a cubicle, you will actually grab their attention. Many corporations frown upon any sales or self promotion during these types of seminars, so make sure you’re familiar with rules restricting business card or advertising handouts.
In addition, you can offer consulting services to assist a corporation in creating a well planned fitness facility that offers safety, performance and aesthetic appeal. Offer your services to the HR department to develop a gym that minimizes risk while providing potential for the highest possible facility utilization and employee satisfaction. Include recommendations on facility layout, equipment selection, budget planning, employee needs surveys and safety regulations. If a corporate gym already exists, develop a proposal for enhancing employee involvement with group exercise classes, bonuses for number of visits per month and corporate memos that highlight the stress reducing and health enhancing benefits of gym use. You can even offer to record web-based video workouts that show proper utilization of workplace gym equipment. Despite having fancy exercise facilities, a corporation may have poor employee involvement due to a basic lack of proper fitness knowledge. If you can produce and quantify enhanced employee involvement, you will be able to renew corporate fitness contracts month after month. Of course, this means you will need to create surveys or assessments to track employee involvement, which can be as simple as creating an incentive-based sheet that employees sign when they enter the gym or as advanced as a daily employee workout log that tracks exercises, resistance and heart rates.
Individual and group personal training will be a natural next step if you’ve assisted a corporation with facility design/modification and are also already conducting a regularly scheduled seminar. For example, you can offer a four to eight week package in which a corporate group of eight to 12 employees can perform a supervised workout at the on-site gym. Each participant in this group can also be given the option of discounted individual training. To demonstrate effectiveness to corporate management, these packages should feature pre- and post-evaluations that quantify cardiovascular and muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. A simple body fat skinfold test combined with a two minute step up test, push up and curl up evaluations will suffice. Although you can document involvement and progress with a simple Excel spreadsheet, there are several online personal training software programs that can allow you to track an individual’s fitness with graphs and charts, which can be important to demonstrate program involvement. I personally use the TrainingPeaks software, which offers each participant a unique username and password to log-in to their personal exercise and nutrition tracking page.
Finally, executive health services are gaining in popularity, and you can be a key player by offering to coordinate the screening process. For example, an executive may need to see a physician for a physical, a physiologist for exercise stress testing and a nutritionist for diet evaluation. Offer to make the phone calls to the physician, physiologist and nutritionist, schedule the appointments and include the cost of the executive health screening management in your corporate wellness bid. Remember, you’re not managing the actual payment for the health screening. The involved health professionals should manage their own billing and work with the corporation’s health insurance. You’re simple directing the process and providing access to a team, then managing the outcome by prescribing proper exercise and coordinating any necessary follow up appointments.
Each of these services can be offered individually, or wrapped into a complete corporate fitness program. When you design your pricing structure, remember that you should include both employer and employee contribution, since most corporations will be able to foot the bill for the seminars and facility design, and also for a large percentage of the group and individual personal training. I recommend that you leave the corporations responsible for collecting employee contribution via salary deduction or monthly pay-in program. You can then conveniently collect a monthly or yearly payment from the corporation, rather than from each individual employee. Consider adding a fitness incentive by offering a pricing structure that decreases as the number of participating employees increases.
The Internet offers great resources and research to assist you in developing your corporate fitness bid. Here are three excellent web sites to check out:
- Corporate Wellness Insights – Offers up-to-the-minute news on best practices and industry trends in corporate wellness, including research studies and ideas for fitness incentives.
- Wellness Council of America – Offers case studies of corporate wellness programs, interviews with CEOs of successfully fit companies and high quality PDF resources you can use for employee handouts.
- Wellnessquotes.com – Offers evaluations of leading employee wellness programs by size, reputation and overall experience in the healthcare industry, giving you an instant comparison of your own program with others in the nation.
An investment in employee fitness has been shown to offer great dividends, both physically and financially, which ultimately improves a company's bottom line. Use this fact as a selling point. Whether teaching a monthly seminar, providing employee exercise incentives, offering group and individual personal training or designing an executive health program, you can combine any of the options in this article to create your corporate fitness program!