In the old school world of workplace culture, we asked not what a company could do for us, but what we could do for the company. Rigid working hours, dress codes, and more were thought to elicit the highest productivity from employees. In recent years, however, there has been a progressive management shift that nurtures employees as people, rather than mandating productivity like robots.
Many of the most successful companies are already wise to the idea that investing in employee wellness is a positive force for the bottom line. But where do you start if you’re not a financial behemoth with the funds to support a dedicated wellness team? Enter: on-demand wellness.
Sammy Courtright, co-founder and COO of Fitspot, first embarked into the fitness world through pilates, for which she later became a certified instructor. She met her co-founder and CEO Jonathan Cohn while they were both working as personal trainers. As so many processes were being streamlined through digital platforms, personal training had stagnated with manual appointment making and discovery processes. From that realization, the idea of Fitspot as a consumer app was born.
The idea got the team into the 2016 Techstars Atlanta accelerator, and their primary focus at that time was matching consumers with personal trainers on demand. Now, they still offer the on-demand service, but have pivoted their primary strategy to focus on helping companies build out holistic workplace wellness plans on a subscription basis.
Courtright said, through a series of customer interviews, they discovered people were really interested in making their wellness habits part of the rest of their work day. Through the survey results, they developed a new business model that essentially positions Fitspot as external wellness coordinators for companies. From vetting certified trainers to hosting educational workshops, they aim to help businesses spread wellness to more people.
“Large companies can have the budget for gyms or clinics, and they can hire several individuals who completely manage the experience,” Courtright said. “Small- to medium-sized companies want to compete for the talent, but they don’t have the offering or benefits that attracts and keeps the best employees.”
By taking the time-consuming logistics of wellness planning off the plates of companies, it allows them to reap the benefits of healthier, happier employees like positive workplace morale, better results and less turnover. Here’s how Fitspot starts.
Get the most out of the insurance you already pay for
If your company provides health insurance, you likely know there are wellness programs included. For many companies, this manifests as a step-challenge month once per year. However, what many companies don’t necessarily dig into is the additional benefits insurance companies are willing to provide for them, such as funds for wellness purchases.
“Eighty-seven percent of Fitspot clients utilize some kind of insurance funds to use [the program],” Courtright said. “We have someone dedicated to insurance partnerships to work with providers and establish how much they can delegate to deduct from the bill.”
Depending on the plan, insurance might pay for up to more than half of the costs of an annual subscription to a wellness-focused activity or program.
Do it with data — how to measure value
“First things first,” Courtright says about establishing a plan. “People will say they want [company wellness], but do their employees actually want it? And if so, what does it look like?”
Courtright said it’s important to survey employees to figure out both what they’re interested in and what they think wellness looks like. A handful may be interested in yoga, but others may be interested in learning how to eat better or simply want a flu shot provided to them. Regardless of the desire, establishing expectations and goals ahead of time is the first step in a successful program.
Courtright also recommends tracking results. At Fitspot, they look for the return on investment for their clients, whether its hard goals like steps taken or weight loss, or “squishy” ROI such as thoughts and feelings about the workplace. An account manager takes care of it at Fitspot, but if you want to DIY, look for free survey creators like Survey Monkey or Google Forms to collect the data.
Plan for wellness to grow and evolve with your company
Once goals and expectations are set, build out a program that’s flexible enough to reach those goals. Just like a personal wellness plan, what you think you like may not be sustainable over time. Perhaps yoga sounded like a great idea for stress relief, but kickboxing is really what does it. Similarly, employees who were intimidated by starting a new activity may find they enjoy it and want to continue exploring their options. Flexibility and accessibility are key.
“Smaller companies can start tickling interest into wellness with smaller programs,” Courtright said. “As they grow or their interest in wellness grows, we can grow our program too.”
Photos provided by Fitspot