Trends
Workplace wellness

Wellbeing in the workplace – a key wellness trend – is new territory for many operators. Neena Dhillon asks how spas can get involved

By Neena Dhillon | Published in Spa Business 2015 issue 4


Driven by rocketing healthcare costs, record levels of preventable disease and high absenteeism, the provision of corporate wellness services has grown into a US$8bn (€7bn, £5.1bn) plus industry.

According to the Families and Work Institute, more than 60 per cent of US employers offer some type of wellness initiative to staff.

As yet few inroads have been made into addressing the conditions of blue-collars workers as equally as their white-collar counterparts. This widens the opportunities for providers and means more companies – in the US and beyond – will be seeking to diversify both the reach and scope of their programmes.

In this article, we look at two award-winning employee programmes and ask how spas can become partners to similar schemes.

Leslie Ritter

Wellness director
Eileen Fisher clothing

Our extensive 20-year-old programme was established because Eileen Fisher is interested in employee wellbeing and in giving them access to alternative healthcare solutions outside medical cover. Today this means our full-time employees are each given an annual US$1,000 (€883, £643) wellness benefit, which can be spent on a broad list of pre-approved activities covering anything from a spa weekend to gym membership, an air purifier or exercise equipment for the home. Then there’s also a US$1,000 personal growth benefit, which can be used on cooking classes, learning to play an instrument or a mindfulness retreat.

Initially, a lot of people weren’t taking up the benefits. So to improve awareness, we took the activities to them. In our three main locations – corporate headquarters, the design studio and warehouse – we schedule one-on-one sessions with an array of wellbeing practitioners. They can be for life coaching, yoga, massage, reflexology, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, astrology or PT, and employees exchange them for their benefits. These take place three or four days a week in a designated quiet room. We bolster this with free yoga, pilates, tai chi or fitness classes twice a week in our main locations as well as a calendar of wellbeing workshops, again free and offered four to six times a year. Finally, we also have therapists come in and give 10-minute neck and shoulder massages on the house, I send out a brief weekly newsletter and I regularly talk to employees about their changing needs.

Last year, 80 per cent of our employees used their wellness benefits and we paid out approximately US$722,000 (€645,380, £478,830) for the year. As a clothing company with 1,200 employees, our population comprises almost 85 per cent women. When we look at our annual medical insurance review – key indicators of how much we’ve used – our numbers are notably healthier than average taking into account our age/gender profile. We have high staff retention and have been regularly included as a top 20 Fortune Great Place to Work.

Lots of businesses don’t yet do the equivalent of what we do here, so there’s huge room for growth. The practitioners I work with are largely people I know from the wellbeing community and a part of my job is meeting with providers. We partner with YogaWorks and Manicube practitioners and I would do the same with spa experts in the future. My advice to spa operators is to email or call wellness programme directors and make them aware of what services you can provide

Typically, spas need to be flexible enough to send their teams to different locations and offices but if they’re able to offer scheduling of several wellbeing sessions, so much the better. As companies, we don’t have a good relationship with time – spas that can take care of scheduling for us will make great partners.

 



Ritter advises spas to make their services known to firms
 


Eileen Fisher employees are entitled to US$2,000 of wellbeing benefits for pre-approved activities
 
 


A broad list of activities are offered in the workplace to kick-start employee wellness
 
 


A broad list of activities are offered in the workplace to kick-start employee wellness
 
 


A broad list of activities are offered in the workplace to kick-start employee wellness
 
Jennifer Patel

Director of wellness engagement,
Hallmark Business Connections

The programme created for our Hallmark employees is award-winning, targeted at 5,300 people across the US and includes those in field sales, manufacturing and fixed locations. We offer three main areas of support – lifestyle, clinical and preventative – which employees are encouraged to focus on through the incentive of a gift card, up to US$450 (€397, £289) annually at corporate level.

When employees are geographically diverse, you need to start with small initiatives in individual locations built over time. Linking into ‘lifestyle’, we schedule one event per month with a focus on a single issue, such as breast cancer, anxiety or men’s health. There’ll be a free related activity during the lunch hour, say mini massages during stress-reduction month or an educational workshop on anxiety. We’ll then continue to raise awareness. We’ve started filming workshops so colleagues who work shifts don’t miss out. Lifestyle champions have been appointed in the organisation to help us spread the word and motivate their peers to get involved. Then there are related challenges, such as a pedometer challenge where people who walk the most may win a gift card incentive.

When it comes to the ‘clinical’ strand, employees can earn points towards an incentive by attending biometric screening. The ‘preventative’ aspect involves taking a more in-depth health visit once a year offsite, with points being earned for appropriate exams such as a mammogram or colonoscopy. It’s about encouraging employees to take up what is available to them through their insurance.

We have an 84 per cent participation rate and although we’ve only just started gathering data, we’ve already seen a year-on-year reduction in blood pressure among participants. We’re careful to ensure that our gift cards are linked only to healthy activities, such as spa, massage, nutrition or sports equipment. We have merchant partners who offer gift cards and we’ve seen people redeem their points in exchange for yoga, a facial, even a boutique class such as learning the trapeze.

There’s a great opportunity for the spa industry to partner with programmes like ours. First, incentive-based initiatives need to work with providers and merchants who can offer rejuvenating or replenishing outlets in which employees can use gift cards. Second, companies need wellbeing experts to come onsite and share information via workshops and activities. Some employers will pay for speakers and workshops, others prefer a reciprocal approach whereby spas can offer discounts – an incentive to go and try out the spa’s facilities. Every time therapists give mini massages to our staff, they’re reaching potential new clients. As a proviso, I would point out that spa partners need to focus on the quality of the information or activity they’ve been programmed to provide. The worst thing I can do is to put off our employees from engaging in lifestyle change by compromising on the quality of the content or experience.

 



Spas need to focus on the quality of information and the activity they provide, says Patel
 


Hallmark’s wellness programme is targeted at 5,300 people across the US
 
 


wavebreakmedia/shutterstock
Every time therapists give a mini massage to staff, they’re reaching potential new clients
 


Neena Dhillon is a spa, hotel and travel journalist

Email: [email protected]

 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Spa Business
2015 issue 4

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Leisure Management - Workplace wellness

Trends

Workplace wellness


Wellbeing in the workplace – a key wellness trend – is new territory for many operators. Neena Dhillon asks how spas can get involved

Neena Dhillon

Driven by rocketing healthcare costs, record levels of preventable disease and high absenteeism, the provision of corporate wellness services has grown into a US$8bn (€7bn, £5.1bn) plus industry.

According to the Families and Work Institute, more than 60 per cent of US employers offer some type of wellness initiative to staff.

As yet few inroads have been made into addressing the conditions of blue-collars workers as equally as their white-collar counterparts. This widens the opportunities for providers and means more companies – in the US and beyond – will be seeking to diversify both the reach and scope of their programmes.

In this article, we look at two award-winning employee programmes and ask how spas can become partners to similar schemes.

Leslie Ritter

Wellness director
Eileen Fisher clothing

Our extensive 20-year-old programme was established because Eileen Fisher is interested in employee wellbeing and in giving them access to alternative healthcare solutions outside medical cover. Today this means our full-time employees are each given an annual US$1,000 (€883, £643) wellness benefit, which can be spent on a broad list of pre-approved activities covering anything from a spa weekend to gym membership, an air purifier or exercise equipment for the home. Then there’s also a US$1,000 personal growth benefit, which can be used on cooking classes, learning to play an instrument or a mindfulness retreat.

Initially, a lot of people weren’t taking up the benefits. So to improve awareness, we took the activities to them. In our three main locations – corporate headquarters, the design studio and warehouse – we schedule one-on-one sessions with an array of wellbeing practitioners. They can be for life coaching, yoga, massage, reflexology, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, astrology or PT, and employees exchange them for their benefits. These take place three or four days a week in a designated quiet room. We bolster this with free yoga, pilates, tai chi or fitness classes twice a week in our main locations as well as a calendar of wellbeing workshops, again free and offered four to six times a year. Finally, we also have therapists come in and give 10-minute neck and shoulder massages on the house, I send out a brief weekly newsletter and I regularly talk to employees about their changing needs.

Last year, 80 per cent of our employees used their wellness benefits and we paid out approximately US$722,000 (€645,380, £478,830) for the year. As a clothing company with 1,200 employees, our population comprises almost 85 per cent women. When we look at our annual medical insurance review – key indicators of how much we’ve used – our numbers are notably healthier than average taking into account our age/gender profile. We have high staff retention and have been regularly included as a top 20 Fortune Great Place to Work.

Lots of businesses don’t yet do the equivalent of what we do here, so there’s huge room for growth. The practitioners I work with are largely people I know from the wellbeing community and a part of my job is meeting with providers. We partner with YogaWorks and Manicube practitioners and I would do the same with spa experts in the future. My advice to spa operators is to email or call wellness programme directors and make them aware of what services you can provide

Typically, spas need to be flexible enough to send their teams to different locations and offices but if they’re able to offer scheduling of several wellbeing sessions, so much the better. As companies, we don’t have a good relationship with time – spas that can take care of scheduling for us will make great partners.

 



Ritter advises spas to make their services known to firms
 


Eileen Fisher employees are entitled to US$2,000 of wellbeing benefits for pre-approved activities
 
 


A broad list of activities are offered in the workplace to kick-start employee wellness
 
 


A broad list of activities are offered in the workplace to kick-start employee wellness
 
 


A broad list of activities are offered in the workplace to kick-start employee wellness
 
Jennifer Patel

Director of wellness engagement,
Hallmark Business Connections

The programme created for our Hallmark employees is award-winning, targeted at 5,300 people across the US and includes those in field sales, manufacturing and fixed locations. We offer three main areas of support – lifestyle, clinical and preventative – which employees are encouraged to focus on through the incentive of a gift card, up to US$450 (€397, £289) annually at corporate level.

When employees are geographically diverse, you need to start with small initiatives in individual locations built over time. Linking into ‘lifestyle’, we schedule one event per month with a focus on a single issue, such as breast cancer, anxiety or men’s health. There’ll be a free related activity during the lunch hour, say mini massages during stress-reduction month or an educational workshop on anxiety. We’ll then continue to raise awareness. We’ve started filming workshops so colleagues who work shifts don’t miss out. Lifestyle champions have been appointed in the organisation to help us spread the word and motivate their peers to get involved. Then there are related challenges, such as a pedometer challenge where people who walk the most may win a gift card incentive.

When it comes to the ‘clinical’ strand, employees can earn points towards an incentive by attending biometric screening. The ‘preventative’ aspect involves taking a more in-depth health visit once a year offsite, with points being earned for appropriate exams such as a mammogram or colonoscopy. It’s about encouraging employees to take up what is available to them through their insurance.

We have an 84 per cent participation rate and although we’ve only just started gathering data, we’ve already seen a year-on-year reduction in blood pressure among participants. We’re careful to ensure that our gift cards are linked only to healthy activities, such as spa, massage, nutrition or sports equipment. We have merchant partners who offer gift cards and we’ve seen people redeem their points in exchange for yoga, a facial, even a boutique class such as learning the trapeze.

There’s a great opportunity for the spa industry to partner with programmes like ours. First, incentive-based initiatives need to work with providers and merchants who can offer rejuvenating or replenishing outlets in which employees can use gift cards. Second, companies need wellbeing experts to come onsite and share information via workshops and activities. Some employers will pay for speakers and workshops, others prefer a reciprocal approach whereby spas can offer discounts – an incentive to go and try out the spa’s facilities. Every time therapists give mini massages to our staff, they’re reaching potential new clients. As a proviso, I would point out that spa partners need to focus on the quality of the information or activity they’ve been programmed to provide. The worst thing I can do is to put off our employees from engaging in lifestyle change by compromising on the quality of the content or experience.

 



Spas need to focus on the quality of information and the activity they provide, says Patel
 


Hallmark’s wellness programme is targeted at 5,300 people across the US
 
 


wavebreakmedia/shutterstock
Every time therapists give a mini massage to staff, they’re reaching potential new clients
 


Neena Dhillon is a spa, hotel and travel journalist

Email: [email protected]


Originally published in Spa Business 2015 issue 4

Published by Leisure Media Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd