What to look for in a corporate wellness program provider

According to a report by Grandview Research, Inc., the corporate wellness industry is expected to experience growth at a rate of about 7% per year for the next six years. With demand for engaging wellness programs on the rise, program providers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition.

From employee perks to fitness centers to high-touch programs designed to help improve long-term nutrition and movement habits, the options are almost endless.

If you’re thinking about adding a wellness program or improving your existing health and wellness program, where should you start? With so many variables to consider, navigating all the options can be overwhelming. Here’s a look at what an effective corporate wellness program provider should offer.

1. Strategy and goal-setting.

Seek a provider that can help you determine the purpose of your program and the goals you’d like to achieve, and devise a strategy to help you get there.

“Your objective is to define the employee experience and the expected outcomes resulting from your investment,” says Kristine Holbrook, senior vice president of account development at EXOS. “Get as specific as possible as you identify desired measurable outcomes for employees and your organization.”

For example, if you’re looking to reduce health risks associated with obesity, improving employee health behaviors should be a priority. And this objective can be achieved by working with your provider to develop a strategy around the types of food offered at an on-site cafe.

2. The right offerings, for the most employees.

Make sure the provider offers services that align with your objectives and desired outcomes, and that they can reach your eligible population, whether on-site, remote, or both.

"Every aspect of your employee wellness program should be informed by your intended goals,” says Holbrook. “And as you look at your options think about scale, too. Ask how you can engage as many employees as possible while still driving measurable impact.”

To effectively engage a population made up of both on-site and remote employees, you’ll likely need to provide a combination of in-person fitness and nutrition offerings as well as online resources. EXOS Journey, for example, is a collection of digital tools, including a workout video library, meal builder, and skill-building content that’s versatile enough to appeal to all employees, no matter where they’re located.

From employee perks to fitness centers to high-touch programs designed to help improve long-term nutrition and movement habits, the options for your program are almost endless.

3. Analytics.

You can only gauge success if you’re tracking meaningful metrics. Potential providers should be able to easily explain how they’ll measure and report success while also outlining how your program may continuously improve.

“Seek a provider that will provide timely data-driven insights and feedback,” Holbrook suggests. "For the best results, your provider should proactively strategize with you to do more of what works and phase out what doesn’t."

A provider should want to know what else is offered, how employees access those offerings, and how their services may complement each other.

4. Integration.

Ask potential wellness program providers how they’ll collaborate and integrate with other departments within your company, and even other wellness program providers you’ve selected to round out your program.

As Holbrook explains, “The objective is to make the experience as seamless as possible for employees and, ultimately, maximize your investment. A provider should want to know what else is offered, how employees access those offerings, and how their services may complement each other.”

For example, let’s say your company currently provides a nutrition tracker app and you’re adding on-site training services. Fitness staff should point to the tracker during training and through their own communications to employees as they talk about nutrition tips.

5. Partnership-building.

Look for a provider who’s committed to building a partnership, not simply selling a solution in a box. One way to tell if you’re meeting with a partnership-minded provider is if they’re asking questions to uncover your company’s wants and needs. If there’s not a clear sense of curiosity on their part, that might be a red flag. Keep track of concerns like this and weigh them against your other options as you continue your search for a corporate wellness provider.

“Partnership-building necessitates personal attention and understanding,” says Holbrook. “Seek a provider that demonstrates a sincere interest in understanding your company’s goals, culture, and intended outcomes. A true partner will consider your success their success, keep you informed, and proactively make recommendations to ensure your program not only meets but exceeds expectations.”

Did you know that EXOS offers corporate fitness center management? Learn more.

About the Author

Kellen Merrill

Kellen is an Arizona-based writer and associate editor at EXOS.

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