Ask the Expert: Rebecca Johnson on Corporate Wellness

Rebecca Johnson

You have questions, we have answers. This month we spoke with Rebecca Johnson, director of wellness services at Corporate Fitness Works, about corporate wellness.

What corporate wellness services and programs does Corporate Fitness Works offer?

RJ: Corporate Fitness Works’ innovative ViDL model offers wellbeing services that address physical health and beyond. Based on updated thinking about human nature, health and behavior change, we provide support for employees in all aspects of wellbeing, including emotional, social, career and financial. It is a comprehensive approach, with a robust list of wellness services.

What are the challenges of running a corporate wellness program?

RJ: It’s a challenge to impact employee health in the workplace through a wellness program alone. This is because there are systemic issues that lie in an organization’s culture, leadership and physical environment that affect employees’ personal and professional wellbeing. Conventional wellness programs have not been able to influence these systemic issues, leading to reduced impact. Ideally, employee wellbeing initiatives should be thoughtfully integrated into the organization, operating in alignment with other important employee experience initiatives and supported by executive leadership. Leaders of corporate wellness programs must begin to expand their knowledge and confidence outside of wellness and develop a greater understanding of organizational health to reverse those systemic issues.

Can corporate wellness programs be a great source of revenue for health clubs?

RJ: Absolutely. As with any business undertaking, it’s important to know your market in order to price services competitively and to seek out clients who understand the true value of what you have to offer. Also, I think it’s important to remember that profit is most sustainable when it comes as a result of purpose. When you are clear on the wellness program’s “why,” and you make purposeful business decisions with that in mind, profit follows.

How should a corporate wellness program be staffed? Should one person be in charge of the overall program’s success?

RJ: Similar to other organizational efforts, creating and sustaining an impactful wellbeing initiative requires that the right people are in place to successfully champion and lead from within. Placing at least one experienced, skilled and passionate wellbeing professional onsite full-time is an essential step in ensuring initiatives have a meaningful impact on employee health, productivity and engagement. A variety of factors will determine how many wellbeing professionals an organization needs, such as the size of their organization and the scope of the program.

In addition to finding the right people, a corporate wellness program must be appropriately resourced, effectively integrated and built on what’s meaningful and relevant to that organization’s members. When this is the case, employees will likely continue to take advantage of wellbeing resources even if there is a change in personnel.

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