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The Basics of Corporate Wellness

corporate wellness

Corporate wellness programs — classes and challenges run by a health club, through which companies help their employees achieve greater wellness — might not be at the top of your to-do list, but they’re certainly worth your time and attention.

“From a marketing standpoint, there’s a lot of validity to doing corporate wellness programming,” said Chez Misko, the chief operating officer at Wisconsin Athletic Club. “It also creates another revenue stream for health clubs, generating revenue outside their four walls.”

When run correctly, corporate wellness programs will put your club in front of a group of people you might not normally market to, create another profit center and expand your offerings. And there are a lot of different ways corporate wellness can be executed.

“We do group fitness programming, workshop talks, and specific four-week, seven-week, eight-week and 12-week programs based on losing weight or seeing a loss of inches,” said Misko. “We also do certain four-week programs on mindfulness — it’s not just specifically targeted to your athleticism, but more on the mental side of fitness. It’s gratitude-based programming.”

No matter what kinds of classes or challenges you offer for companies, your corporate wellness programs should give brands the tools they need to help their employees achieve greater wellness.

Remote Programs

“Onsite classes are really popular,” said Misko. “For example, we might run a strength class at a manufacturing center or with people in an office. Those types of programs are really good for marketing.”

More platforms to showcase your club’s programming are always beneficial, so it’s important to have remote corporate wellness programs among your offerings.

“We offer things like lunch-and-learn talks, general presentations on anything from golf conditioning to lower-back strengthening, ergonomic assessments and group workouts,” said Misko. “It’s all about ways to be healthier.”

You’re also not limited to traditional programming. Wisconsin Athletic Club has made itself into a complete fitness resource for businesses, offering anything from fitness education to maintenance. “We do equipment repairs,” said Misko. “Our maintenance team will go out and fix equipment in apartment buildings, schools or businesses with onsite fitness centers.”

It’s simple — your club’s offerings can be the same anywhere. “Really, anything you do in your club you can do outside your club,” said Misko. “Anything you offer to your members you have the ability to offer to companies. It’s just an extension of the club — you’re just expanding outside your four walls.”

In-Club Programs

Wisconsin Athletic Club.

Obviously, getting businesses to send their employees through your doors is preferable — you don’t have to use any resources to provide remote services, and you can give those clients your gym’s full experience immediately.

“Bringing people into our club as a group is popular,” said Misko. “For example, Company XYZ might come in and take a cycling class or strength class, which is a great team building exercise for that company. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase your club to a lot of people.”

You can decide how much companies will have access to within the walls of your club, and you can even get creative with programming to help encourage healthier lifestyles beyond just group workouts.

“We also do team challenges where you have a bigger company’s accounting staff go against the legal staff to see which department sees the best improvement in weight or greatest usage at the club,” said Misko.

It’s not rocket science, however. Wellness is the foundation of your club’s primary programming, so it should also be the focus of your corporate wellness programs. “We’re taking a lot of wellness applications we do in our clubs and applying them to these businesses as part of the programming,” said Misko.

The Framework

Corporate wellness programs are like any other product you’ll sell at your club, and like a member trying to find the right training program, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all option. It’s important to have different options available for businesses.

“We’ve tried to create a framework of programs and offerings, but having flexibility within that framework is crucial,” said Misko. “The objectives of every business we work with are different.”

No matter how many corporate wellness programs you’ve run, you’ll likely still get a few unique requests. “A lot of times, businesses don’t really know what they want,” said Misko. “You have to have some structure to what you offer, but that’s only a starting point for the discussion about what they need.”

In Misko’s experience, communication is key to determining expectations and setting up for success. “We really try to sit down with the companies to find out what their goals are, then design the programming around that,” he said.

It’s also easy to get caught up in the success of your corporate wellness programs — in-club or remote — so Misko advises clubs to monitor the resources they use to run these programs.

“It’s important to remember our primary business is as a health club,” said Misko. “Corporate wellness is important, but those programs still become secondary to your primary focus. It’s one more revenue stream you can play with, but it’s not the only one you’d want to focus on.”

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine.

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