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Best Practices: How to establish a corporate wellness program

Christine Thalwitz and Vaughn Marxhausen discuss how a club operator can help a business implement a corporate wellness program in this week's Best Practices.

Q. "The club has been approached by a local corporation to introduce a corporate wellness program at their office to help their employees develop healthier lifestyles. How would you advise a club operator new to corporate wellness regarding how to implement a successful, yet profitable program?"


Christine Thalwitz
Director of Communications & Research, ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers

A. Be sure to talk to the decision maker of the company to find out what they are looking for in a wellness program. Before going to your meeting, do research about the company to give you talking points, background about the company, know their mission/vision and what their workforce may consist of. You may find that companies want a wellness program, but have no idea what they really want. This is where you will be able to use your expertise to help guide them in the right direction. 

When meeting with the company, here are some key questions to ask:

  • Do you currently have a company wellness initiative, if so what is it?
  • Is there something that you want to do different than before?
  • What has been successful in the past? What were your results, participation, etc…
  • What are your expectations?
  • How will you be advertising this wellness program to your employees?
  • Will the company be subsidizing part of the program or will employees pay 100%?
  • What would happen if you don’t do anything?

Your homework:

  • Asses your current programs and services to make sure they align with the company needs and wants
  • Create new services (revenue streams) that the company would want to implement in their wellness program
  • Can you handle the amount of “work” that they are expecting from a wellness program?

Use your resources

No need to recreate the wheel. There are numerous resources available to you for planning your wellness programs. Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) is an excellent resource for corporate wellness development along with great programming ideas. IHRSA’s publication The Economic Benefits of Regular Exercise is a great publication to give the decision maker at the company when discussing the benefits of a wellness program.  

Remember, it’s not just about reducing your monthly dues, it’s about getting companies to understand how your programs can contribute to saving health care costs, increased productivity, increased moral, being the employer of choice and more that really counts.

Vaughn Marxhausen
Area General Manager
Houstonian Lite Health Club

This post is a part of our weekly Best Practices series. We post a new question and answer every Monday morning. If you have a question you'd like our Industry Leaders to answer, submit your question today.

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