The happiness and health of employees are essential factors to company growth. High turnover rates, low productivity, and loss of morale are just a few reasons why companies are now investing in long-term wellness programs. One popular way to do this is to provide perks that motivate a health lifestyle, including access to on-site corporate wellness fitness facilities. Let’s break down the pros and cons of on-site corporate fitness facilities. Pros include:
- Easy access, employees can workout before and after work
- Strengthens community, provides social support for working out
- Makes fitness more affordable (most employers provide free access to the facility)
- Liability costs
- Maintenance, construction costs
- Employees may feel uncomfortable working out next to their co-workers
- No guaranteed return on investment (ROI), as a full-fledged wellness program goes beyond corporate fitness facilities and gym discounts
Why On-site Corporate Fitness Facilities will cost you
Overall, many employees will seem excited at the prospect of a free or reduced cost on-site facility. But there are two main reasons companies decide against investing in these facilities: employees don’t regularly go to the gym (even if it’s free), and on-site corporate facility engagement is often low. One study looked at employees willingness to go to a gym versus competing in a step challenge and found that 12 times as many employees were likely to compete in walking challenge versus attending a gym, even when the gym costs were covered and childcare was provided. Likewise, previous studies have found that only around 50% of employees use on-site facilities, and only half of those employees use them regularly. In short, the problem is engagement.
Getting your ROI from a wellness program
So how can companies guarantee a return on investment for gym reimbursements, or get the most out of their wellness program? Our experience working with companies to institute wellness programs has shown that companies should reward the exercise, rather than reimbursing the up-front costs. Companies focus on getting people started exercising, but ignore the maintenance that is key to a healthy lifestyle. The main challenge people face when leading an active life is not the initial push, but the follow through. Employees will commit to being healthy in the New Year, but often will not be motivated to keep up their activity levels. Therefore, instead of reimbursing employees for a gym membership they won’t use, or building an on-site facility, reward them for each time they go to the gym. By using their membership, they’ll pay it off; and the regular incentives will motivate them to go back consistently.
Another important consideration is to create a wellness program that fits your company’s culture, because there is no one-size fits all in wellness! One example of a unique type of wellness program idea that may work for some companies would be to promote nutrition through your wellness program.
At IncentFit we’ve developed a rewards program modeled on this discovery. Our engagement numbers show that frequent rewards keep employees active. On average 60% of our clients’ employees are regularly using their gym memberships and exercising. If employees don’t exercise, your money isn’t wasted. Find out more about our smart solution to gym reimbursements!