If you’ve ever contemplated partnering with businesses to offer employer-sponsored fitness programs, there’s no time like the present. No, really — there’s no time like the present. According to the ninth annual Willis Health and Productivity survey, 2015 is a “watershed year” for employer-sponsored health and wellness offerings. As has been the case for a number of years now, employers increasingly are offering programs designed to help employees achieve and maintain better health. But now employers have begun looking beyond the financial gains of such programs. “Given a choice, respondents focused on the value of a health management program…over program cost,” the report states.
What it comes down to is this: More organizations are turning away from expectations of an immediate return on investment (ROI) for their wellness programs and turning toward the value of investment (VOI) of such programs. In other words, they care less about reducing medical costs and more about boosting employee morale, increasing worksite productivity, reducing employee absence, and keeping employees safe. The Willis report states that, of 703 survey respondents, 64 percent have VOI-focused wellness programs, compared with 28 percent that have ROI-focused programs. For health clubs, gyms, and fitness centers, this means greater opportunities to provide quality programs to workplaces.
Interestingly, the report also notes that “Of those organizations without a wellness program, the majority of respondents (29%) stated that they do not have enough time or staff to start a program.” Again, this is an opening for health clubs, gyms, and fitness centers. Consider how your facility might put together predesigned packages — and customized packages — that provide full workplace health and wellness programs, including physical activity, healthy-eating plans, weight loss and management, tobacco-use reduction, and the like. Then consider the ways in which you could market such a program to businesses in your area. Knowing that companies are more interested in VOI than ROI, you might make increased productivity, better self-care, and higher employee morale some of your selling points. You might need to educate your potential partners on the advantages of focusing on VOI over ROI. You could sum those up the way the Willis Report does: “Organizations with a Value of Investment (VOI) focus tended to be more satisfied with the impact of their programs.” And you’ll definitely want to point out the time, staff, and other resources the businesses would save by partnering with you.
One thing to keep in mind is that, according to the report, “Forty-three percent of the respondents have implemented a health club reimbursement subsidy or corporate discount, and 35 percent have implemented a health club corporate discount.” Offering the businesses in your area a discount for their employees gives you a low-maintenance way of providing businesses with the health and wellness programs they want but don’t have the resources to incorporate on-site. Make sure your club management software is capable of tracking these corportate or business membership programs. For example, a good management software system will make it simple to pull reports for each corporate plan and allow businesses to easily calculate employee reimbursements. All in all, now is the perfect time to assess your existing plan for partnering with businesses to offer workplace wellness programs or to develop a new plan — and then to get out there and sell those programs. Businesses are hungry for them.