A job as a wellness coordinator lets you combine your interests in fitness, nutrition and mental and spiritual health with the desire to help others. Wellness professionals help businesses to save money on employee-related costs while improving productivity and morale. Designing, implementing and managing corporate wellness programs is a demanding job, but one that lets you see the changes you make in co-workers’ lives on a daily basis.
Corporate Wellness Programs
The two main goals of wellness programs are reducing labor-related costs due to health issues, and raising employee productivity through preventive health initiatives. A wellness program can help to decrease absenteeism, health insurance premiums, workplace injuries and health-care costs. The healthier a labor force is, the more it produces. Businesses that institute wellness programs often do so to achieve a significant financial return on their investments, rather than simply to offer employee perks, according to organizations such as the Wellness Council of America. Part of a wellness professional’s job description is to identify where health-related issues are affecting the company, determine ways to reduce or eliminate the problems, calculate the costs to create a specific initiative and project the financial benefit to the company.
Depending on the size of the company and its budget, a wellness coordinator might oversee a variety of wellness activities. These include creating on-site fitness centers, scheduling health lectures, publishing corporate wellness newsletters, providing healthy employee snacks, and arranging for substance abuse, tobacco and pre-natal and post-natal counseling. Wellness professionals work with health insurance providers who benefit from these programs and might offer free or low-cost wellness programs to help reduce insurance claims.
At smaller companies, the human resources manager might oversee wellness activities. A dedicated wellness professional might hold a director, manager or coordinator title, depending on how large the company is. At companies with multiple wellness employees, a director would oversee the research, planning and monitoring of wellness programs. A manager would determine how to best implement programs and manage them. A coordinator would assist the manager, handling many of the hands-on aspects of each program.
Training and Education
The wellness profession is not as old and identifiable as traditional fields such as accounting and marketing, and there is no classic skill-set for entering the field. Backgrounds that are helpful for wellness professionals include human resources, business administration, exercise physiology, nutrition, mental health and personal training. Successful practitioners don’t need a background in health and fitness if they have human resources and business training. People with health and wellness backgrounds but no business experience might find positions supporting a human resources professional in charge of a corporate wellness program.