Capturing corporate interest in wellness

The Deloitte Corporate Wellness Report shows a clear opportunity for operators to capitalise on corporate wellness with 78% of employers surveyed saying they are looking to invest in physical activity programmes in the next three years. Operators know this with 92% saying they consider corporate wellness to be a big opportunity for growth. However, a big disconnect exists between the leisure and business sectors, hindering progress in maximising the corporate wellness opportunity.  

We spoke to Eamon Lloyd, Senior Director – Head of Partnerships UK, Ireland & Netherlands, Gympass, the UK’s leader in corporate fitness sales, to find out:

  • How to bridge the gap between both sides
  • How operators can reach corporates most effectively
  • How operators can tap into the corporate revenue stream

Operators are ready and corporates are willing – so what exactly is the problem?

Many of the operators we speak to share that they lack the time and resources to make the initial contact with large corporate clients at the senior level we are able to. They also feel unable to maintain the high-level communication and analysis required to ensure the success of such programmes over the long term. Operators often have the facilities and teams to deliver a corporate wellness programme for businesses near their venues, but larger businesses need these solutions at national or global scale. This can be challenging for operators to match, especially when day-to-day operations take priority. These large businesses are looking for a ‘plug and play’ physical activity solution for every employee but they also need data to show ROI and measure the effectiveness and value of such programmes.

How can the leisure sector bridge this gap?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution in corporate wellness with employees looking for intuitive, flexible programmes to suit them. In the leisure industry, operators see a clear opportunity in working with large organisations but can find them hard to reach and maintain relationships without investing a lot of resources. Partnering with an expert third-party like Gympass opens the door to a niche group of large businesses like never before. Such intervention is proving essential to success and operators recognise this with Deloitte reporting that 94% are ‘very satisfied’ working with third-party providers.

Having secured that all-important connection, engagement teams can then work side by side with HR teams to ensure consistent and sustainable engagement of employees.  Bridging the gap between operators and employees can take many forms. From weekly calls with the head of HR at a company with 40,000 employees to travelling to all the Tesco stores across the UK, our team will find a way to ensure the success of the programme for both the operator and company.  This high-level intervention can make all the difference, especially considering that, in a typical workforce, 80% of employees will be new to physical activity. They are hard to reach but not impossible!

How do you cut through to the corporates?

We know employers are ready to do business in the corporate wellness space – 78% of employers surveyed by Deloitte said they are looking to invest in physical activity programmes in the next three years. Knowing there is an appetite for corporate wellness certainly helps us across the threshold.  Thereafter, it comes down to knowing what the leisure market can offer, understanding the workforce demographics and really listening to what they need (which isn’t always the same as what they want).

With access to more than 2,000 gyms, studios and fitness centres across the UK, we can help everyone find an activity to love. Better still this comes at a reduced cost, thanks to their employer’s investment in their wellness. Key to unlocking corporate interest is being able to track ROI and measure effectiveness for employers. Operators are unlikely to have the capability to track and measure the impact of employees undertaking physical activity but a third party, such as us, has the tools to show the effectiveness and ROI of a corporate wellness programme.

Why can’t operators just offer a company discount?

The Deloitte report seems encouraging when it states that more than ​70%​ of the health and fitness centres interviewed provide a corporate offering to companies​. Look a bit closer and you realise that many of these are self-managed schemes that essentially are offering discounts to employees.  While this is good, it’s most likely to appeal to the ‘worried well’ who are already engaged in activity.

More needs to be done to encourage the vast majority in a workforce that is currently inactive. This is where the real opportunity lies for operators – to be introduced to employees who will be brand new to their business. That said, intervention on physical activity is not a single bullet – it’s a combination of tools and channels to be used constantly to reach the goal of multiplying the number of active employees.  Tools like gamification, C-level endorsement, testimonials from current members, seasonality promotions and encouraging family members to join can all be deployed to great effect.

How can operators tap into the corporate revenue stream?

Corporate wellness is big business but no longer a management perk or the preserve of the favoured few among senior management teams. Whole workforces need to be included in corporate wellness programmes if the health of all employees is truly valued and placed at the heart of a company strategy.  Broadening the physical activity offering across an entire workforce gives fitness operators access to far more people who would otherwise have been difficult, time consuming or costly to reach. Operators are the experts in delivering a corporate wellbeing product (wellbeing days, on site assessments), however we believe it is more efficient to partner with an intermediary like Gympass to do the heavy lifting with regards to accessing these large companies. Working in tandem with operators is crucial in capturing as much of the value that we know is in the corporate fitness space. This allows the operator to not be distracted by prospecting large businesses, but still deliver a corporate wellbeing product in a more efficient way.


Posted in Interviews, The Fitness Network.