Wellness management is the term applied to corporate programs that help employees balance the needs of their work, lives and the employees' own mental and physical health. A human resources department often implements a wellness program to motivate employees and keep them happy and healthy. The program might include such services as gym memberships, access to mental health counselors and drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs. Alternatively, it could be a reward-based program in which the employee participates in a series of exercises and is granted incentives based upon their performance and participation.
Employee wellness became a great concern to companies in the late 1980s, when they realized that employee health affected productivity. What started as a small, radical movement has grown much more mainstream. Many large corporations provide wellness management programs to all of their employees. Sometimes an employee is required to fill out a health risk assessment immediately after hiring to allow the human resources manager to match up resources that would benefit that employee.
Many wellness management programs in the United States are overseen and accredited by the Wellness Council of America, with similar organizations overseeing international programs. Wellness management is a growing field, with many colleges and universities offering two- and four-year degrees in corporate wellness management. Those with degrees often have a higher pay rate than those without.
While not all employers require an employee to hold a degree before overseeing such programs, it is often necessary to have a degree in a health-related field such as health education or exercise physiology to obtain a job in this field. Some companies require their wellness managers to be certified through one of three major accrediting organizations. American employers prefer a certified health education specialist (CHIS) certification from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing; certification through the American College of Sports Medicine; or certification in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. International certification varies depending upon location and the specific job.
Studies conducted by the Wellness Corporation of America say the introduction of wellness management programs leads to a healthier environment for employees that is often more supportive and amiable. Feelings of camaraderie and empathy have been reported in businesses that utilize wellness management. Employee health often affects mood, according to the same organization, and those who work for companies where there are added benefits are often happier workers, leading to better customer service.