Benefits and Compensation, Recruiting

How Creative Companies Are Using Corporate Wellness as a Recruiting Tool

It’s no secret: Today’s employers are struggling to recruit top talent and fill essential positions.

Current government statistics indicate the U.S. employment rate was 4.8 percent in September 2021. That’s down significantly from the pandemic peak of 14.8 percent and about half the 10 percent unemployment rate during the 2009 recession.

workplace fitness

And, as we all know, the pandemic has led people to rethink work altogether, leading to The Great Resignation. The result? Companies are being forced to get creative around how they recruit (and retain) new talent to their organizations.

Unique Wellness Benefits Are Leading the Way

How are organizations tackling this challenge? Many are offering unique employee health and wellness benefits to attract and retain the best employees. For example, Microsoft, IKEA, and Netflix all offer generous parental leave. And companies like LinkedIn, Bumble, and Hootsuite are giving their entire companies a week off to combat burnout and focus on their health and wellness.

Even as some of these more specialized wellness benefits emerge, one tried-and-true tactic remains effective: the on-site fitness center. However, on-site fitness centers have evolved during the pandemic to include programs that can happen from anywhere, include personal attention, and feature more convenience and flexibility. 

Definitions of Wellness Are Evolving

Ten years ago, if you asked employers to define fitness when it came to their employees’ health, they probably would have spoken mostly about physical health.

Now, especially after the onset of the pandemic, employers are looking at employee health from a whole-person point-of-view. This includes physical, mental, social, emotional, and financial, aspects of wellness.

Corporate fitness centers are evolving with that changing definition of fitness to address more of these dimensions. For example, employees can now get a workout (on the treadmill), refocus (in a yoga class), and refresh (with a mindfulness class) – all at modern corporate fitness centers.

Programming that addresses these many dimensions will appeal to candidates who are looking to maintain a healthier lifestyle coming out of the pandemic.

Wellness Can Now Happen Anywhere

In the post-pandemic world, employees don’t need to be in the office to benefit from a company’s fitness center. Companies provide seamless wellbeing experiences with corporate fitness programs that can be accessed when and where it’s convenient for employees.

For example, Kenya Orr, a program manager at a global plastics manufacturing company in Indiana, reaches remote employees across the company’s 11 U.S. locations in nine states through virtual, on-demand health and fitness programs. Remote employees can easily participate from their office or from home. These sessions cover topics like Desktop Yoga, Balance & Breathe, Office Dance Party, Tension Tamers and Get Up & Go.

Sharing these types of newer wellness offerings with candidates – especially those created with a hybrid workforce in mind – positions companies well from a recruiting standpoint. It shows you value employees’ health and wellness and have adapted to provide the best experience as the workplace and future of work are evolving in real-time.

Concierge-level Personal Attention

More than ever, employees want access to live wellness experts who are credible, engaging, easy to access, and provide one-on-one support for their specific needs. Corporate fitness centers can meet employees’ needs by offering a space to exercise and a place where employees can work with coaches and fitness consultants to develop individualized plans.

And with streaming and video technology, a personal-touch approach can happen from anywhere. Corporate fitness staff can foster real, meaningful connections with and among co-workers – even when they’re working remotely.

Back to Orr at the Indiana manufacturing company. Here she has taken personal attention to a whole new level. Orr ensures employees have everything they need for a workout by washing and drying employees’ workout clothes and putting them in their lockers before each workout! Talk about concierge-level attention!

Convenience and Flexibility Matter More Than Ever

Between kids’ activities, work, family commitments, and other hobbies, wellbeing, and fitness can easily fall to the bottom of employees’ to-do lists. So, when employees have access to an on-site fitness center – that also provides virtual options – they can incorporate wellness-related activities into their day in a more convenient way.

The pandemic taught all of us how much employees value and appreciate flexibility. And your fitness center design can be a way to support that. For example, you can have an on-site fitness center for when employees work from the office, and you can offer virtual options for those working remotely. For employees, it’s the best of both worlds.

Companies that offer this type of convenience and flexibility will stand out to candidates in the post-pandemic race for talent. 

The Future of Corporate Fitness

Corporate fitness centers will undoubtedly continue evolving in the years ahead. But that’s part of how you can position your fitness center to potential employees – that you’re adapting your programming based on what employees want and need and offering options employees can take advantage of from anywhere. This is how you can substantially impact your ability to attract talent and leverage your fitness center as a powerful recruiting tool.

Tim Mertz is the Executive Director of Partnerships and Strategic Execution for HealthFitness, a Trustmark Company, a leading provider of fitness solutions that engage and connect people to create a strong community of health. You can reach him at