Hit The Road...Running provides fitness training and education aimed at runners. This section is a collection of articles and white papers written by Tony Denford, founder of Hit The Road. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments of any post.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What makes a corporate wellness program successful?

In the general population you have approximately 20% of people who believe in exercise enough to do it on a regular basis. There are about 20% more who, even though they know the risks, are committed to avoiding exercise and probably never will.

There is a target of opportunity for fitness professionals of the remaining 60% so the question then becomes; what can we do to motivate this 60%?

The reality is that many of them have not yet found a convenient or enjoyable way to get their exercise. This is where employers come in. Employers who have conducted health risk assessments find that 40% of employees are in the medium and high risk groups which directly affects their productivity, creativity and sick time usage. Those in the low risk group, without change, tend to move into the medium and high risk groups over time.

Many wellness professionals want to change the world and move all their employees to the low risk group and are therefore doomed to fail. The rule here is to not let the things you cannot control, control the things you can. Even a small change in employee behaviour can have significant impact to your organizations competitiveness. Multiply the small change by the number of employees and then by time and the impact can be significant. The impact may be to slow the progress of those in the low risk group today from moving into the medium risk group.

Return on investment for corporate wellness initiatives can be staggering. Coors Brewing reported a return of $6.15 for every $1 spent and Citibank reported $4.52. The average of all companies surveyed was $4.30. That's a significant return.

So what kind of wellness initiative brings such large returns. Firstly, you cannot change everyone or everything. Programs should focus on the factors that can be easily affected. Programs should be activity based, simple, fun, private and rewarding. Add community involvement and you add another aspect to your program and your company's image.

In employee surveys 52% said they would participate in a program for a reward worth $150. The participation rate without incentives is 13%.

Often wellness programs try to measure the outcome of a program which is difficult and many employees view it as intrusive. What is more easily measured is adherence and through adherence will come results. We all know that the healthier the habits of a person, the better the results. If people exercise they will get healthier.

If your organization can provide opportunities to it's employees to live healthier and encourage them to grab the opportunities, you will see results like those mentioned above.


For more information about how your organization can realize the benefits of a Trail Running program, please contact tony@hittheroadrunning.com or visit corporatewellness.hittheroadrunning.com.


About The Author

Tony Denford is a certified personal trainer and owner or Hit the Road. He has been training primarily runners since 2002 and has worked with beginners all the way to Boston Qualifier Marathon runners.

Tony emphasizes balance and variety in his training methods and always tries to make sure his client’s fitness routines are fun as well as beneficial.

Visit www.hittheroadrunning.com for more details on Hit The Road’s programs and services.