The Case for Investing in Employee Wellbeing Coaching

October 4, 2017

What’s the first thing you feel like doing after having a frustrating day at work? Coming home and complaining to your spouse, roommate, or best friend, right? Commiseration and validation of our emotions feels good, and usually brings us closer to others when we feel like they understand our experiences or feelings.

While you’re actually at work, though, it can be difficult to share your emotions in an appropriate or constructive way. You may worry that venting frustration, anger, or disappointment could get you labeled as a problem employee and hurt your chances of promotion and success at work. But what if there was a way for you to participate in the same type of commiseration and validation you experience in your personal life within a work setting?

Some employers have begun to offer real-time health and wellbeing coaching, effectively giving employees a way to express their emotions in a safe space at work. Keep reading to learn the benefits of including health coaches in your workplace wellbeing program, and why it’s worth the investment!

Health coaching boosts program engagement

Research shows that live health coaching has led current health programs to boost their enrollment and continued long-term engagement. And this is important: According to a Gallup poll, while 85% of employers offer some kind of wellbeing service, only 60% of employees were aware of it, and only 40% actually participated.

If you provide a workplace wellness program, especially if it revolves around social competitions or health challenges, the employees you see participating are likely already highly motivated. But employees who need the most help may be unlikely to sign up on their own.

As we covered in a previous post, personalizing your wellbeing program is crucial for achieving engagement. Seventy-five percent of participants say that they want their wellbeing program to have a personal touch.

Using one-on-one health coaching can be conducive to engaging those who may not otherwise be inclined to participate in a wellbeing program. Plus, the personalization of a health coach encourages accountability and fosters a sense of validation and motivation.

Ultimately, by having a professional guide you personally, you are more likely to stick it out through challenges.

Health coaches boost your ROI and wellbeing program efficacy

Health coaching is becoming a more popular aspect of wellbeing programs as data supports its positive and significant effect on the return on investment of your wellbeing program.

The efficacy of health coaches comes from their ability to connect to unique needs and empower individuals to take control of their own wellbeing. Since coaching is centered on a personalized relationship that is encouraging and compassionate during challenges, it’s no wonder that it’s so effective.

In fact, one study found that 70% of medical cost savings came from employees that used personalized health coaches, with each individual employee bringing in 6% more in cost savings if they used a coach. Other research found that individuals completing both a telephonic wellness coaching and online health coaching program were 64% more likely to reduce risk for obesity and 56% more likely to reduce risk for physical inactivity than those in the control group.

So what makes live health coaching so effective? The big drains on costs associated with health and wellness are absenteeism, presenteeism, and employee retention. Employee wellbeing—and particularly emotional wellbeing—greatly contributes to workplace morale. When people are more satisfied on the job, they are more likely to show up to work, be engaged while they are at work, and stay in that job. In fact, one study found that after working with a health coach, 84% of employees reported improved productivity and 91% were satisfied with the wellbeing program.

Some might wonder how investing in a health coach is much different than peer support or social challenges in work in which coworkers encourage health behaviors. While peer support is quite effective, a weight loss study conducted by the Miriam Hospital found that over 50% of the population with a professional health coach lost 17% of their body weight in a period of 24 weeks compared to only 10% of those that had peer support.

The bottom line

For a wellbeing program to be effective, it has to be relevant to the individual participant’s needs, feelings, and wishes, and it should feel personal. This is why health coaching is such an indispensable wellbeing program addition. The potential impact of creating a more intimate, individualized wellbeing program for your employees is huge. And the ability to give them a safe space to share their thoughts and feelings in the workplace without fear of the repercussions? Priceless.

Want to see how coaching fits into a comprehensive wellbeing program? Download the “5 Pillars of Employee Behavior Change” white paper to learn more!

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