wellness

What Does a Corporate Wellness Specialist Do?

Kinsey Mahaffey
Kinsey Mahaffey
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Over half of the working population works in a corporate setting (Barrows 2021). Corporate jobs are notorious for being sedentary in nature, high-stress, with long hours, and easy access to low-nutrition foods (hello, breakroom donuts).

To help their employees thrive, companies seek the help of wellness coaches to implement workplace wellness programs. These programs seek to improve employee health and overall well-being while also improving productivity, attendance, and reduced healthcare costs.

If you're currently a Certified Wellness Coach or aspire to be one, read on to find out why corporate wellness may be a great niche to tap into.

What is a Health Coach or Wellness Coach?

Wellness is defined as an individual's journey toward the mental, physical, social, and emotional betterment of life. Achieving wellness looks different for everyone, and it takes skill to help a person define what wellness looks like for them and how to get there. This is where wellness coaching comes in. 

Wellness coaching involves an active process of applying learned and developed strategies that lead to mental, physical, social, and emotional changes for a better quality of life.

A health coach or wellness coach has typically completed some type of certification program (like NASM's Certified Wellness Coach course) to equip them to help clients make a game plan to achieve improved wellness. These certifications cover a broad range of topics like movement, sleep, stress, emotional health, mental health, and nutrition.

They take a "big picture" look at a client's life and work with them to uncover their goals, identify areas of growth, and make a game plan to achieve their goals. A wellness coach offers a source of accountability as well as a tool belt full of strategies that the client can choose from as they progress in their wellness journey.

Watch Our Quick Video on What a Certified Wellness Coach Does

 

What is a Corporate Wellness Coach?

A corporate wellness coach is a health coach or wellness coach working within a company or corporation to help a specific population (the employees) improve their wellness. Where a wellness coach is often only working one on one with clients, or perhaps with small groups of people at a time, a corporate wellness coach may also find themselves doing population-level health interventions and programs to help employees develop a healthy lifestyle both inside and outside of the office.

A corporate wellness coach may also meet with employees one on one to develop an individualized plan specific to the employee's needs. Working as a corporate wellness coach provides the opportunity to help a larger group of people, and it also solves the problem of where to find clients since they are brought to you.  

Employers are typically looking for measurable health changes in their employees to reduce their cost of insurance and justify the expense of hiring wellness professionals. Often, companies will have an event, like an annual health fair, to measure the overall health and wellness of their employees.

This data is analyzed year to year to measure any changes and improvements. A corporate wellness coach can help the company meet its needs while also tailoring programs for the needs of the employee, offering a win-win solution.

What's a Corporate Wellness Coach's Day-to-Day?

The day-to-day of a corporate wellness coach will vary based on where they work, but here are some tasks that a wellness coach might be assigned:

• Creating sitewide health interventions for the employees (steps or activity challenges, etc.).
• Organizing health fairs or wellness events.
• Working one on one with employees to develop a wellness plan.
• Creating annual reports for the employer regarding employee health and participation in programs.
• Creating and conducting lunch and learn webinars for employees.
• Conducting or arranging fitness classes for employees.
• Managing or working in the fitness facility onsite. 
• Managing the wellness program budget.
• Meeting with supervisors or managers to brainstorm ways to encourage better nutrition and more physical activity in the workplace. 

Some roles will require fairly long workdays to accommodate employee schedules, while others may mimic work hours. Depending on their background and training, a wellness coach may have a mix of office work and time in the gym working with clients. For a company that doesn't have a gym onsite, the wellness coach can expect to have more of a desk job. 

Where Wellness Specialists Work

A corporate wellness specialist may operate under other titles, like corporate wellness director, corporate wellness coach, corporate wellness manager, corporate wellness consultant, wellness specialist, etc. There are slight differences in responsibilities with each title, opening new avenues for places to work as a corporate wellness specialist or coach. 

For wellness coaches who also have a personal training background, working in the fitness facility of an office building might be the perfect fit. This allows you to flex your fitness know-how in a gym setting while also bringing your wellness coaching knowledge to help clients achieve total health and wellness. 

A health coach or wellness coach can work as an independent contractor for a specific job, like offering webinars, lunch and learns, or fitness classes for employees for a specific period. If you're looking to expand your business as a wellness coach, this might be an option for you to add on without having to commit full-time to a position. Plus, you may just gain some new clients!

Full-Time or Part-Time, You Decide

For wellness coaches looking for a full-time gig, companies do hire full-time wellness coaches to work onsite with their employees. There are also corporate wellness companies that hire wellness coaches and send them out to contracted companies to work with their employees.

A benefit to this setting is that you have the support of a company when it comes to the process that you use to help clients achieve their goals. These companies will likely have a specific protocol and specific programs for you to use while still allowing some freedom in the strategies that you bring to the table for the clients. 

Summary

Corporate wellness coaching or health coaching is becoming increasingly popular as companies work to better the health of their employees and provide meaningful benefits that improve their lives.

Working as a corporate wellness specialist allows the wellness coach to help employees improve their mental, physical, social, and emotional health so that they can thrive both inside and outside of the workplace. 

Reference:

Barrows, K. (2021, September 27). The professional and technical workforce: By the numbers. CIO. Retrieved April 6, 2023, from https://www.dpeaflcio.org/factsheets/the-professional-and-technical-workforce-by-the-numbers

The Author

Kinsey Mahaffey

Kinsey Mahaffey

Kinsey Mahaffey, MPH, is a Houston-based fitness educator, personal trainer and health coach who developed her commitment to lifelong fitness while playing Division I volleyball. She’s passionate about helping others cultivate a healthy lifestyle and enjoys educating other fitness professionals who share this vision. She’s a Master Instructor and Master Trainer for NASM. You can follow her on LinkedIn here.

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