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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.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.