Worksite wellness programs are becoming increasingly popular as employers recognize the benefits of keeping workers healthy. According to research reports, wellness programs result in fewer sick days, greater employee productivity, reduced pharmacy costs and more. “Corporate wellness has become one of the fastest-growing careers this decade, even with the recession,” states Margie Kidd, MBA, IDEA presenter and director of wellness for Clayton Homes. “Over the past 10 years insurance premiums have increased more than 131%, while wages rose only 34%. This cuts into the company’s bottom line and the employee’s paycheck, making it difficult to offer great benefits.” While wellness programs require money for implementation, they can help companies improve the bottom line over time. Want to work in corporate wellness? Here are five tips from Kidd on how to break into this burgeoning field:

  • Expand Your Focus. A wellness professional must understand all components of wellness: intellectual, environmental, financial, mental, medical, social, occupational, spiritual and physical.
  • Know Your Audience. Having just one cookie-cutter wellness program is a recipe for disaster. Learn all you can about the company you are targeting, and develop flexible programs.
  • Be Creative. Most employees for whom you’ll develop programs do not live a healthy lifestyle. Many do not know how to eat right, and they may hate to exercise. Develop programs for all types of deconditioned clients, and realize that they all have different lifestyles.
  • Educate! Research successful corporate wellness programs to see what works and what doesn’t. Educate senior staff on why they should start a wellness program. Educate employees on the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Be Patient. More than 62% of our country’s population is now overweight or obese. Rates rose rapidly over the last two decades, but they didn’t balloon overnight. Corporate wellness programs are about changing behaviors, and that also takes time.