Bill Bourque on Corporate Wellness Programs
This month we sat down with Bill Bourque, the chief operations officer for EXOS, to discuss corporate wellness programs.
What corporate wellness services and programs does EXOS offer?
EXOS supports the full development — from design to operations — of onsite fitness and wellness centers that not only serve fitness center members but offer programs outside the walls of the fitness center to engage employees in a variety of programs ranging from exercise, nutrition, mindset and recovery. We also offer our EXOS Fit app that enables us to support the holistic needs of our client’s employees whether they are onsite, virtual or hybrid with a seamless experience. In either environment, we leverage our dedicated coaches to understand everyone’s goals and needs, then build a game plan to help them achieve their goals. This is supported by our science-backed content around mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery, and extensive training of our coaches.
What are the challenges of creating and running a corporate wellness program?
Understanding the “why” a company has chosen to pursue a corporate wellness program is vital to ensure the solution is developed to meet their goals. Gaining senior leadership’s support greatly enhances the potential of success for the program, along with a culture and supporting policies that align with the vision of success.
Reaching employees can be an area of challenge. Many companies have restrictions on how often and how you can communicate with employees. So, creating awareness and call to actions can be challenging. Additionally, they may have strict communication standards that can reduce the appeal of your messaging. Ownership of wellness can also be spread among multiple stakeholders in an organization as well as across multiple vendors. Coordination among this group can be challenging at times.
How has COVID-19 impacted corporate wellness programming?
The desire and need to address mental well-being are primary concerns of many companies throughout COVID-19. Creating awareness and access for resources that support mental well-being and social connection are primary areas of focus.
As most companies are moving toward a hybrid workforce, they are looking for omni-channel offerings to provide equitable wellness benefits regardless of where an employee is working. They are reassessing their campus footprints and looking for ways to maximize the value of that space. This is leading some companies to close their onsite fitness centers, while others are looking for ways to reimagine the onsite experience and leveraging those services to draw people back into the office.
Wellness programming that supports community and social interaction has become more important than ever. This is a primary concern of companies as they work in virtual and hybrid environments.
Where do you see the future of corporate wellness programs headed?
Programming needs to be fun, fulfilling and engaging. Employees are rightfully expecting “consumer grade” programs and resources to help them on their wellness journey. Also, engagement is critical. With employees so dispersed, programming will need to show strong engagement as part of its value proposition. Companies will redefine engagement definitions and expectations, raising the bar of what a successful program should look like.
Here, Bill Bourque shares five tips for a successful corporate wellness program:
1. Truly understand the goal of the company. What is the strategic value of wellness programming and how will you measure success? Measure the right things and be able to report clear results aligning with the company’s goals.
2. Build programming with the employee as the central focus. Integrate the different wellness resources in a way that is easy for the employee to engage in the right program for their needs at the right time.
3. Ensure an omni-channel offering that provides equitable benefits to employees regardless of them being onsite, virtual or hybrid.
4. Build a holistic solution that integrates the key areas of wellness.
5. Understanding the demands of employees today is critical. Many employees just have the appetite for snackable information — two to 10 minutes in duration.