It’s not always easy to achieve health goals on your own. Sometimes, you need a partner to provide the right motivation and encouragement—which is exactly what a health coach does. In this week’s blog, we look at the many benefits of a health coaching program—for participants and the organization alike.
Why hire a health coach for the workplace?
Health coaches help participants achieve all kinds of health goals. For example, they work with them to manage chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, develop weight loss plans, and create exercise routines. But they can also help with goals like moving more throughout the day or finding ways to manage stress. Especially in challenging times like these, a health coach is an excellent resource for improving overall well-being.
There are many benefits to having a dedicated health coaching program. But for organizations looking to make more significant improvements to the health and well-being of their employees, we recommend going a step further by using an onsite health coach. These health coaches can be onsite at one location, all locations, or even be available virtually to all employees—including those working from home—to help them work on their well-being goals.
What are some other benefits of dedicated health coaching programs?
Onsite health coaches can provide numerous benefits for both organizations and their employees. Here are ten benefits of having an onsite health coach in the workplace:
A personalized experience.
The one-on-one relationship with a health coach gives participants something that an off-the-shelf program can’t—a program that is customized, personalized, and tailored for each individual. For example, suppose a participant wants to improve nutrition. In that case, the coach might offer a plan to navigate a local grocery store and recommend small changes to the meals they already prepare. The relationship with a health coach can also grow over time. One of our health coaching participants puts it like this:
“What I like about Eric’s coaching is we’re not constantly overhauling the whole thing every other week. Rather, he takes a long-term approach by finding out your main goals, then gradually getting you to a point where you’re maintaining a beneficial routine. Sure, we tweak it every once in a while, that’s just a part of growth, but consistency is key.”
Despite our best intentions, it’s hard to sustain healthy behaviors. We may start out strictly following our new exercise regimen, but after a few weeks, we might lose motivation, or maybe something in our lives gets us off track. A coach is there to provide the accountability and encouragement we need to push through. This is even more powerful when the health coach is explicitly dedicated to your organization. Even the simple act of walking by the health coach’s office or scheduling weekly in-person or virtual catch-ups can keep people accountable.
A holistic look at health.
Health coaches are trained to help participants take stock of all the aspects of their lives that impact health—including work-life balance, relationships, finances, caregiving responsibilities, and more. With these insights in mind, they can recommend realistic strategies to reach a well-being goal based on each individual’s unique path and circumstances. And the more they strengthen relationships with each participant, the more that health coaches can better understand what motivates them, what obstacles they face, and how to be the best partner they can be to empower them to keep going.
While they’re taking a holistic approach to well-being, health coaches can also share best practices for setting boundaries, navigating time management, and making time for self-care. They also point participants to other resources the company makes available—like financial wellness programs or EAPs—to help with life’s stressors that might pop up at times throughout the journey.
Increased visibility for the whole well-being program.
At wellness events and other corporate gatherings, health coaches can talk about aspects of the well-being program that participants may not have known about—like resilience training, help for quitting smoking, or nutrition plans. In essence, health coaches are the ambassadors of your well-being program, promoting all its services and providing concrete ways for participants to engage.
A trusted well-being resource.
There is so much healthcare information online, and it can be hard to sift through what’s fact or fiction. An onsite health coach serves as a trusted resource for participants and the organization. Companies can also empower health coaches to infuse wellness into everyday activities—for example, conducting a mid-meeting stretch or brain break, or leading a mindfulness exercise for a team.
An extra layer of support.
Often a doctor will recommend that we eat better, get more exercise, or improve sleep without actually telling us how to do that. Health coaches help fill in the gaps by working with participants to put physician recommendations into action in ways that fit their unique lifestyle and meets them where they currently are on their well-being journey. They can even help participants have more productive visits with doctors by helping to prep questions ahead of time.
Enhanced well-being culture.
Onsite health coaches unite the organization around well-being, positively impact corporate culture, and increase a sense of community in the organization. In addition, they help to improve culture in the workplace as they spearhead fun wellness challenges, organize health fairs, start walking clubs, teach fitness and meditation classes, host healthy cooking demonstrations, and much more. Overall, they support the efforts of wellness managers and infuse the entire culture with a focus on well-being.
Greater employee engagement.
Organizations that use onsite health coaches as part of their program strategy see higher engagement and retention rates. Why? Healthy employees are happier, more engaged, and less likely to leave the organization. Well-being programming is becoming particularly important to today’s job seekers who evaluate potential employers based on their commitment to employee wellness. As a happy health coaching participant says: “This is more than just ‘Health Coaching.’ This is an organization making good on a promise to support and take care of their employees.”
When employees feel their best, they’re more engaged and productive at work. But often, a decline in well-being can impact the way employees show up at work. For example, employees with chronic health conditions may experience high rates of absenteeism and presenteeism when they experience well-being setbacks. And financially stressed employees are more likely to be distracted and spend hours during the day tending to financial concerns. Having an onsite health coach available to assist with elements that impact wellness—and thus, productivity—can help boost moods and performance levels.
Decreased healthcare costs.
Data from our health coaching program indicates that coaches help participants develop long-term healthy habits that could eventually influence healthcare costs. For example, health coaching reduces health risks such as weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and stress. It also lowers risk of developing chronic conditions in the future, such as heart disease or diabetes.
Health coaching is one of the most effective ways for participants to fully engage with a well-being program. It not only makes a positive impact on individuals’ health, but can also benefit the organization in terms of increased morale and productivity. If you’re interested in setting up a program for your organization that includes dedicated health coaches, visit our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.