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Why Some HR Teams Are Bringing In Health Coaches

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Why Some HR Teams Are Bringing In Health Coaches
By Bill Olson, Senior VP, Operations at United Benefit Advisors
Mar 3, 2020 10:54:21 AM

Despite most companies implementing corporate wellness programs, bringing in the standing desks, and swapping out the coffee and donuts for more nutritional office snacks, the American workplace still isn’t the healthiest environment for us. The modern employee still spends most of a stressful eight-hour day sitting in a chair and staring at a screen—not exactly an active lifestyle—and employers are paying for it. In fact, the Center for Disease Control estimates that companies pay more than $3 trillion in healthcare costs to combat chronic illnesses and conditions. That’s why more and more companies—over 92% for those with 500 or more employees—are currently offering some form of corporate health coaching or wellness program, and more are expected to follow suit.  But is it the right fit for your business?

What Exactly Is a Health Coach?

Health coaches help work environments promote a culture of wellness, arming their employees with tools, techniques, and guidance to foster healthier habits and lifestyles both in and out of the workplace. This can take many forms, from including healthier food options in the office to organizing office workouts during lunch. Health coaches can regularly conduct educational seminars or even one-on-one sessions to help employees reach their individual goals.

Can a Health Coach Really Help My Business?

Besides the obvious benefit of a healthier, happier staff, health coaches can better your business in a number of ways.

Increased productivity: Recent research into employee productivity has uncovered a direct correlation between an employee’s health and their performance. In fact, one study found that companies collectively lost $227 billion from limited productivity tied to poor health. With a health coach implementing exercise programs or wellness initiatives, employers across the board find an uptick in productivity.

Improved retention: The current American workforce is more health-conscious than ever before. Combined with higher expectations from employees to provide better benefits, a health coach can serve as an extremely appealing perk for attracting and retaining talent. And it’s not just about the tangible results prospective or current employees can receive from a health coach—workers appreciate and value when their employers show they care about their employees’ well-being.

Decreased absenteeism and presenteeism: Illness remains one of the top reasons that employees miss work (absenteeism) and one of leading causes of employees not performing to their full potential (presenteeism). Health coaches can help create individualized health plans for employees to decrease their chances of getting sick or injured, and prevent missed days at the office.

Like the wellness programs and corporate health initiatives that preceded them, as more and more companies bring on health coaches, the more employees will come to expect it as the norm. Health coaches are a win-win: employees gain an excellent resource in maintaining their health and wellness goals, and employers get a staff that’s more active, more engaged, and operating at peak performance.

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