Episode 42: The Benefits of a Corporate Wellness Program with Kristin Markey
We’ve all heard about corporate wellness programs, and while we are intrigued by them, only 24 percent of employees who have been offered one actually participate in them. On this episode of Brandstorm, we talk to Kristin Markey, founder of Nest Health Connections. Based in Colorado, Kristin and her staff provide a wholistic approach to creating healthy cultures within the workplace.
Kristin spent more than 12 years working at some of the largest brands in fitness – Nautilus, Schwinn, Bowflex, Stairmaster and Universal. While she had a good understanding of the fitness space and what’s trending, she felt corporate wellness programs needed more than fitness options. She believed the wholistic approach was the best way to motivate and inspire employees to live a healthier lifestyle. With a mind, body, spirit approach, Kristin created Nest Health Connections, which offers a variety of wellness programs that are tailored specifically to the needs of the employees and the companies she works with.
Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programs
Kristin says successful wellness programs begin with 100 percent buy-in by the company’s leadership. A variety of program options that appeal to the majority of employees is also important. Incentives like time off from work, discounts on gym memberships or gift cardw can help get a wellness program started but are not necessary long-term. The benefits of wellness programs are well documented. They can lead to improved productivity, decreases in health insurance costs and absenteeism, and a reduction in sick leave and disability claims.
Kristin says the average performance boost for a company with a wellness program is about 15 percent. In fact, 60 percent of employees see improvement in time management skills, mental performance, the ability to meet deadlines and moods. Wellness programs are also important in retaining and recruiting employees. Nearly 90 percent of prospective employees look for wellness programs when choosing an employer.
Qualifications for a Corporate Wellness Program
Any size company can benefit from a wellness program. Kristin’s smallest client has 10 employees and her largest client has more than 7,000. All kinds of industries have programs, not just tech companies, although places like Google, Netflix and Apple have some pretty interesting wellness programs. Google, for example, has window boxes that grow herbs right outside its employees’ window and offer sleep pods.
Most of Kristin’s clients come by word-of-mouth, great testimonials and effective statistics.
According to Kristin, every company has its pain points and it is up to her to find them. There is so much variety in her program options, including yoga, meditation, education, corporate gardens, treadmill desks and smoothie bars, Vitamin D challenges that include 15 minutes outside every day, meal planning and walking meetings. In addition to leadership commitment, Kristin starts with an employee survey so that she can determine what programs might benefit the company most.
Wellness Program Costs
Large or small, budgets help determine what a corporate wellness program looks like. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Some of the wellness programs that Kristin creates are small and include adding a water program, getting rid of the candy bowls and offering “lunch and learn” sessions. In some cases, insurance providers will cover costs and Kristin often works with the insurers to create benchmarks that can measure program results.
Nest Health Connections is very hands on and revisits its programs every three months to make sure they are working. Programs are adjusted when necessary. While based in Colorado, the company hopes to open a regional office in Milwaukee by the end of 2018.