The pandemic upended corporate wellness as we know it. What has been aptly described as the “Great Reshuffle” has seen employees drift en masse toward employers that prioritize their health, wellbeing, and safety. Hence, corporate wellness has become the new currency for retaining the best talent.
The Corporate Wellness Association has put together the Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist (CCWS) Program that provides employers, managers, and business leaders with the right tools and resources to build the perfect corporate wellness structure for their workforce.
In this interview, Corporate Wellness Magazine talks with Kamilah Exum, Principal Consultant of Exum Consulting and a graduate of the CCWS Program, discussing the current trends in the corporate wellness industry and the massive shift the space is currently experiencing.
Q: How important is well-being to you personally?
Personal wellbeing is tremendously important to me. I operate from the viewpoint that we are all here to connect with and be of service to one another. And, in order to fulfill this mission to the best of our ability, we must ensure that our own well-being is in order.
Q: What change have you noticed over the last year with corporate wellness?
Wellbeing programs are nothing new, but we are seeing greater willingness to adopt them and greater willingness to expand their offerings as a result of the pandemic. Employers recognize that a physically and/or mentally ill workforce cannot produce the same results as can a healthier population of employees. There’s also The Great Reshuffle with which to contend. Job seekers want to know that their well-being matters to their employers. Those that operate limited programs or just pay lip service to wellbeing will lose out on top talent.
Q: Where do you see the industry headed?
I’m really excited that employers are finally starting to appreciate that wellbeing programming is most successful when it is not treated as just another add-on benefit, but is integrated into the company’s culture. There’s nothing worse than spending precious time developing a well-being program, just to watch it fizzle as employees forget about it or don’t feel any incentive to participate. When wellbeing becomes part of the culture, leadership sends a clear message that not only is employee wellbeing important, but that it is an integral part of the way the organization operates.
Q: What are the most important focus areas for you in corporate wellness for the upcoming year?
I help small and mid-size law firms improve employee engagement to drive profitability. Within that broader landscape, my focus, this year, is demonstrating to employers specifically how to incorporate holistic wellbeing into their organizational culture. Again, when wellbeing is part of who we are and what we do, leadership shows employees that they matter. This is how we get people excited to show up and do their best work every day. This is how we create sustainable, ethically, and financially healthy organizations.
Q: If you could give our readers one piece of advice in regards to wellness programs what would it be
You can’t create an effective solution to a problem without consulting those most affected by the problem. Oftentimes leaders think that they must engage in root-cause analysis, program design, and policy making amongst them. Why? Today we recognize that diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging are so important because we get the best results from bringing divergent experiences together! The same principle applies to designing the most effective well-being program for each company. It is critical that employees at all levels have a seat at the table when it comes to creating relevant and effective programming for the goals the organization seeks to achieve.
Q: Why did you go through the Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist program?
There is simply no way to achieve meaningful results in the employee engagement space without a fundamental grasp of the very best practices in employee wellbeing! I knew that obtaining the CCWS designation would provide me with the knowledge and resources necessary to offer my clients outstanding service, and that has been my experience, without question.
Q: What was the most valuable takeaway of the corporate wellness certification program for you?
Measure early and measure often! Too many well-being programs rely on anecdotal evidence of success. While we know that hearing others’ success stories can enhance program participation and results, the best information relative to what’s working and what doesn’t lie in the data. Leadership can begin to shift toward a data-driven initiative by identifying the purpose of its wellbeing program and then creating metrics to measure the extent to which each program initiative serves that purpose, at different points in time.