A company team celebrating their employee fitness benefits

Wellness as a Talent Magnet: How HR Leaders Attract Top Candidates Through Fitness

Trevor Conrod
October 12, 2023
August 23, 2023

In today's competitive job market, companies are just as inclined to provide value to their employees as the employees are to the company. As the traditional dynamics of the workforce change, organizations realize that attracting and retaining top talent goes beyond offering competitive salaries and standard benefits.

Employees seek a workplace that aligns with their values and offers growth, development, and overall well-being opportunities. They want to be part of a company that genuinely cares about their physical, mental, and emotional health. This shift in mindset has led companies to prioritize employee wellness as a strategic initiative.

This blog post will discuss how HR leaders can enhance their company's value proposition by providing unique and appealing benefits through health and fitness workplace incentives.

Understanding The Generational Shift

Occupying nearly 40% of the workforce, companies are shifting their focus to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z workers. With each generation comes a change in workplace expectations. Millennials and Gen Z prioritize work-life balance, personal development, and overall well-being more than their former generations. They seek employers who genuinely commit to their employees' well-being.

Take Reebok, for example, the athletic shoe company. Along with the typical benefits package, Reebok offers daily in-house workout classes to all employees with a flexible work schedule. "Company culture is incredible. You are able to work around people with similar passions each and every day." - Former Employee.

When looking through Reebok’s employee reviews, one thing stood out. While nobody complained about their pay, it was not a notable pro to their excellent experience at Reebok. Time and time again, employees boasted about their active culture, the co-workers they've worked with, and how great it was to stay physically active with a busy work schedule. Understanding the employee's core values is vital when creating an undeniable package for workers who will happily work hard for you. And Reebok no doubt understands the culture they are building around healthy and active workers.

Showcasing Your Fitness Benefits Package

When presented with multiple job opportunities, it becomes increasingly crucial to recognize that attracting the most highly skilled individuals solely through financial incentives such as monetary compensation, 401k plans, or stock options may not be the determining factor. Professionals often consider many elements when evaluating their options, including cultural fit, work-life balance, company values, and overall job satisfaction. By acknowledging and addressing these non-monetary factors, HR leaders can enhance their company’s appeal and differentiate themselves from the talent-seeking scene.

Incorporating fitness into the benefits package can build a positive company culture, setting a clear tone for top candidates before they even start. Encouraging employees to engage in fitness activities fosters a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, leading to a more cohesive work environment. This encouragement can also promote employee engagement and a more positive overall atmosphere. Not to mention, incorporating fitness into your company culture can benefit the company through fewer sick days, longer employee retention, and better overall job satisfaction. An employee is more likely to resonate with a team of healthy and rejuvenated co-workers than one who's overtired and overworked.

Real World Success

This past month, I sat down with human resource manager Gianne L. Throughout her career, Gianne has had the opportunity to witness firsthand how companies, including Subway HQ and Stanley Tools, have successfully incorporated fitness into their benefits packages. Gianne shed light on these companies' various strategies and approaches to attract top candidates through fitness benefits. It gives us deeper insight into how HR leaders leverage fitness to enhance their recruitment efforts.

During our conversation, Gianne shared that Subway HQ, known for its focus on healthier food options, understands the importance of complementing its healthy eating initiatives with fitness benefits. The company often encourages regular outside walking breaks and even brings the team together for activities like lunchtime yoga, meditation, and low-impact exercise —all to foster a culture of wellness and encourage regular physical activity.

Gianne highlighted that physical activity doesn't have to occur on-site either. Many companies have partnered with local gyms to offer services to their employees, and others have paid the reimbursements of those gyms' membership costs. Gianne explained how offering fitness in benefits packages promotes physical fitness and serves as an outlet for stress relief, ultimately improving employee well-being and job satisfaction.

Best Practices

If you've yet to unveil your fitness initiatives, it's crucial to understand your workforce's unique needs and preferences. Surveys and individual interviews, for example, can be beneficial when trying to gain further insight into your employees. Consider factors such as age, fitness levels, and interests. This information will help you design a program that caters to the diverse needs of your employees. And defining clear goals for fitness initiatives will be critical in keeping those employees engaged and excited. Whether it be to reduce stress, increase physical activity, or foster team-building, align the program with your organization's overall mission and values. 

The success of any fitness program depends on how effectively it is promoted. An unheard-of program is a failing program. Utilizing various communication channels such as email newsletters, intranet portals, and even dedicated slack channels can go a long way in keeping your employees engaged and informed on what's new. Create a supportive environment by encouraging managers and leaders to participate and lead by example. For some extra excitement, consider organizing challenges, competitions, or incentives to boost motivation and participation.

A Healthier Future

Prioritizing fitness and well-being benefits employees and is a powerful tool for HR leaders to attract top candidates. By incorporating fitness initiatives, promoting work-life balance, and fostering a supportive environment, HR leaders can showcase their commitment to developing their workforce. Embracing fitness enhances employee productivity and engagement and sends a strong message to potential candidates about the organization's values and culture. With a strategic focus on wellness, HR leaders can create a workplace that resonates with top talent, giving them the competitive edge in attracting and retaining the best candidates in today's competitive job market. Let's shape a healthier and more prosperous future for the individuals and the organizations they serve. Start today and witness the transformative power of fitness in attracting and retaining top candidates.

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Trevor Conrod
Trevor Conrod
Trevor Conrod is the founder and small business owner of LWStrength and a content creator for Nivati. Designed to serve members in-person and online, this facility offers an intuitive and exciting take on the traditional group fitness experience. His primary purpose is to help others find their strength, both physically and mentally, as stated in the company's slogan, “Find Your Strength.”