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The Corporate Wellness Gap: How Health Clubs Can Fill It

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corporate wellness gap

Brooklyn Esposito explains the corporate wellness gap and how health clubs can fill it by providing an avenue for employees to find support, encouragement and fitness instruction within clubs.

What does your gym or health club succeed most at?   

The answer is changing lives. Our most meaningful impact is showing people who do not like, or are afraid, to exercise that they can be successful in reaching their fitness goals. When people believe in themselves, baby steps turn into forceful strides, propelling them to adopt a lifestyle they wanted, but for whatever reason, had not claimed.

Why your gym or health club needs to disrupt the corporate wellness landscape.  

A gap exists in corporate wellness programming, swallowing employees’ ability to reach goals. The intention of company-driven wellness is to increase company revenue via improved productivity and output, decrease healthcare spending to save on annual insurance costs, and act as a recruiting tool in attracting talent.  

Corporate wellness programs are not designed to change lives on the individual level.

As club owners and operators, our efforts in guiding people to their healthiest lifestyle require learning why someone has avoided fitness, and learning why someone wants to change their current level of fitness. Both whys are usually emotional, involving a need to face or overcome insecurities. When we uncover these factors, we are better able to steer people toward smart and achievable goal setting.  

If a company-organized health program does not court vulnerable teammates most at risk for developing chronic diseases, then employee or employer goals are unlikely to be met. This is because conversations on health require empathy paired with sensitivity. Rapport, encouragement and the occasional rebuttal of an objection direct people toward a fitness routine that becomes habitual. Fitness professionals who understand behavioral changes and motivational coaching are equipped with skills to help more employees acknowledge goal-attaining capabilities.

Simply providing the option to enroll in a well-being program is not enough. 

Additionally, the layout of company programs has not adapted to employees’ changing needs. Corporate amenities offered tend to be biometric screenings, weight loss challenges, step challenges or standing desks. While these pieces contribute to bettering health, chances are they do not entice more reluctant persons.

Take into consideration the agility needed in keeping up with tech trends, human behavior, global pandemics, increased competition and more. Our ability to innovate in the delivery of products and services allows us, as club owners and operators, to continuously serve people despite constant change. Your gym or health club does not operate on the same model it did 90 days ago, a year ago or five years ago.

However, company-led programs seem to offer the same today as they did five years ago. The selection tends to be lower cost or more company convenient wellness options rather than programs suited to the wants and needs of employees.

So, if a wellness program does not fit employee needs or has not evolved much in recent years, can we expect it to fruitfully engage employees, leading them to a healthier lifestyle? Probably not.   

Health clubs have a proven ability to change lives. As experts in modifying fitness-related behavior change, we can lend expertise and insight to employers. Our impact on corporate wellness is providing an avenue for employees to find support, encouragement and fitness instruction within our clubs that alters lives in favor of health. In doing so, we show employers how successful a company wellness initiative can be as wellness becomes more prevalent in the workplace.  

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Brooklyn Esposito

Brooklyn Esposito is the strategic relations coordinator for City Fitness. She oversees the Corporate Partnership Program.

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