Corporate wellness represents significant growth opportunities as organizations embrace a culture of personal well-being and optimal health to retain the best employees and reduce healthcare costs. Fitness professionals who enjoy being part of a collaborative team with employees, other wellness staff and corporate management are likely to thrive.
Engagement is critical to wellness program success. That means fit pros who excel at inspiration, motivation and support are already poised for corporate wellness. Those who combine “soft skills” with training expertise and knowledge of behavioral change will be indispensable in the quest to make all employees fit for life.
Positioning Yourself to Get Hired
If you want to work in corporate wellness, the best strategy is to get supplemental training, learn about the market, begin networking, develop a value proposition and jump in. Experts agree that diverse qualifications and perseverance are key.
The more dimensions of wellness and delivery that you can teach or support, the more valuable you’ll be to a comprehensive wellness program. The experts we interviewed suggest these tips:
Get training. Learn more about behavioral health and/or health coaching. Understand components of wellness that go beyond fitness. Expertise in wearables (improving and maintaining engagement), related apps and accountability programs is a plus.
Join organizations and network. Enroll in groups such as the Wellness Council of America, the International Association for Worksite Health Promotion or the National Wellness Institute. Read corporate wellness trade publications. Go to corporate wellness conferences to learn and network. Use social media platforms such as LinkedIn to connect with people who work with wellness service providers. Network with other wellness experts, such as nutritionists, massage therapists and meditation teachers.
Contact corporations directly. Go to the Chamber of Commerce or other local business organization meetings to network. Research local businesses, and reach out to their human resources departments to inquire about needs.
Learn key metrics. HR and upper management want to improve specific metrics on performance and healthcare costs. If you have a plan, can you prove its effectiveness? Can you present research on the methodology? Before you speak to any employer, do your homework—understand the company’s culture, employee demographics, resource levels and outcome objectives. Data and research are essential.
Grow your outcomes data. Build assessment and evaluation into all your programs and services so you’ll have credible outcomes data.
Perfect your pitch. Develop a confident, concise description of what you do, what people you serve and what makes you unique. Focus on your niche within overall wellness.
Jonathan Penney, former senior general manager with Plus One Health Management in Boston, recommends beginning with an established corporate wellness provider to understand the context. With this experience, you can decide what direction to take next.
Ultimately, you have to believe in yourself. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” says Christopher R. Mohr, PhD, RD, founder of Mohr Results in Louisville, Kentucky. “Many years ago, we started cold-calling companies . . . and got several ‘no, thank-yous.’ But, ultimately, we made a great connection with [and delivered a 12-month program to] a large law firm” (see the “Resources” sidebar for help on developing your program).