Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Employees Experience Added Value of Corporate Fitness Centers

members_speak-1.jpgThe benefits of providing an onsite corporate fitness center at the workplace are far-reaching and they may or may not have anything to do with reducing health care costs. For leadership, it’s easy to focus on this tangible measurement and lose sight of other reasons  to support employees in their health and fitness goals.

Learn how one member at a NIFS client location has found value in using her corporate fitness center as she strives to maintain a newly established healthy lifestyle.

Was there an “a-ha” moment or life event that led you to make a positive change for your health?

I’ve known for a number of years that I needed to improve my health, but always had excuses for not doing so. When my granddaughter was born in 2016, I knew I wanted to be around to see her grow up. I also wanted to be able to keep up with her energy so I could be active in her life as she got older. She, and the future grandchildren, have been my inspiration.

What has been a key factor in helping you stick to your new routine? What is your motivation?

Staying motivated is a challenge, so I set a number of small, fun SMART goals that I was determined to achieve. For example, when work sponsored a team to run the Indianapolis Mini Marathon, I decided to run the 5K race. Our NIFS fitness center staff provided a training program to follow. I finished in the top 10% of my age group. I have signed up for five more races, with the next goal being to win my age group.

[Related Content: Why You Might Be Wrong About Outsourcing Fitness Center Management]

How has the fitness center provided a supportive environment for you to work on your health?

There are a number of benefits of having the fitness center onsite. First, it is convenient. Employees can go before work, at lunchtime, or after work; that flexibility is a huge help. I also like the personal attention that is available to help build a structured exercise program that will achieve specific goals. In our corporate fitness center there's a huge variety of activities available, especially the group fitness classes. You can try something new each week.

I really enjoy the supportive atmosphere of the coaches and my coworkers in the center. They make exercise fun. I also feel that we're lucky to have the center as one of our corporate health benefits. The fact that our leadership supports the existence of the center signals that employee health and fitness is important to our organization.

What would you tell your coworkers who still haven't tapped into the benefits of the corporate fitness center?

I spent a long time feeling like I was too tired to put exercise into my schedule. I also told myself that I just did not have the time. But, now that I am exercising regularly and feeling better, I have more energy. I also am more agile and can do things around the house that I have not been able to do in years. It’s funny that one of my excuses in the past for not exercising was thinking I did not have the time or was too busy. Now that I am exercising and have more energy, I get things done faster. So by exercising, I have more time.

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To read other NIFS "members speak" stories, click here. If your'e looking for a corporate fitness vendor to start improving your employees lives, click here to find out how we support our clients across the US.

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Topics: corporate fitness center onsite fitness center ROI NIFS Mini-Marathon employee health and fitness motivation goals

3 Ways to Use Surveys to Improve Your Corporate Fitness Program

In a seasoned corporate fitness program, sometimes it's hard to figure out where to look next for improvement in the services, staffing, or overall offering. In NIFS almost three decades of providing corporate fitness management services, we've continued to evolve our use of surveys well beyond the typical satisfaction ratings. Below are three tested survey styles that we use on a regular basis to improve our corporate fitness centers and  ensure our staff are doing everything they can to sustain a positive and inviting fitness atmosphere for employees.

The New Member Experience Survey

We know that creating a positive and welcoming first experience for employees in corporate fitness is crucial to winning loyal members. And we value customer service skills in our staff as much as we value sound exercise science knowledge. In order to capture our staff's effectiveness at using strong customer-focused skills with new members, we began implementing a new member experience survey. We use the tool in a monthly welcome email with new members to get a better picture of any potential barriers members may experience as well as to better understand how well our staff are implementing expected procedures for orienting new members. Results from this survey offer strong talking points in semi-annual review discussions or more frequently if needed to both praise and correct staff, based on member feedback.

 View a sample of our new member experience survey

The Quality Assurance Surveys

When we contract with a business to provide fitness center management services, part of the package includes managing liability within the fitness environment. We have several components in our quality assurance program that support this activity, including a monthly emergency procedures survey which our managers fill out. It provides a nudge to ensure they're checking emergency equipment, stocking first aid kits, and documenting any missing or broken supplies in a timely fashion. We also have an annual risk management survey and a semi-annual emergency survey where staff work through emergency scenarios and take an emergency preparedness quiz.

View a sample of our monthly emergency procedures survey

The Satisfaction Survey (with a twist)

I suspect that most vendors like us provide a satisfaction survey to share with clients how the staff, services, and spaces are being received by their employees. It's foundational to measuring our commitment to the client; in fact, portions of our satisfaction survey sometimes translate into service level agreements between us and the client. We've made tweaks to our standard survey over the years, and we recently added a Net Promoter Score question as a new twist that provides us with more of an industry benchmark for the way our staff are connecting with members to build loyalty. 

NPS.png

Even if you're unfamiliar with NPS, there's a good chance you've answered a product or service survey question that generated an NPS for the provider. It's usually worded to ask how likely you are to recommend X service/product to a friend and the answer is given on a 0-10 scale. The responses then are broken down into three categories:

  • Detractors, rate their likelihood to recommend between a 0-6. They are considered likely to stop using your product/service and/or share negative feedback about your product/service.
  • Passives, rate their experience as a 7-8. They’re neutral to your brand; they might continue to use your product/service, but they aren’t likely to invite others into the fold.
  • Promoters, rate their experience as a 9-10 and they are considered evangelists for whatever you’re selling; they LOVE you and will tell others about how great you are.

The industry average NPS for fitness centers as tracked by the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub association (IHRSA) is 43. That score includes commercial gyms, so it’s not quite apples to apples, but we are talking about a very similar scope of services where members are entrusting their physical health to the fitness center staff and carving out their very precious personal time to spend time at the gym.  Since we added an NPS question to our survey over the last few years, we have far exceeded that industry benchmark and we are regularly looking at strategies to continue growing member loyalty.


This overview provides a good snapshot of the types of information we gather through surveys, but I haven't touched on how we use the survey responses to coach our staff, improve our client relationships and manage customer liability. To dig more deeply into these topics, grab our white paper.

Make better use of surveys in your fitness program >

Topics: corporate fitness center employee health and fitness service level agreements for corporate fitness corporate fitness survey tips

Why You Might Be Wrong About Outsourcing Fitness Center Management

NIFS | Corporate Fitness ClassNIFS isn't the only agency that provides fitness management expertise to businesses. There are several like us because the market demands it. While many organizations have adopted a DIY attitude about managing their own fitness programs, an additional (and substantial) set of businesses has recognized the value in outsourcing fitness center management for their corporate fitness center or in their senior living community.

We’ve been at this for almost 25 years and I’ve heard a variety of objections to outsourcing fitness staff. I’ve got my own list of objections to those objections...so here we go:

Objection 1: Outsourcing fitness center management is too expensive.

This objection really comes down to a comparison of direct versus indirect employee costs. Working with a partner may be more expensive when you compare wages and benefits you pay your employee with the billing you would get from a partner. The fitness management organization has overhead and a margin they need to earn.

When you look at the cost to hire, train, and supervise an employee, your cost comparison starts to even out. Then throw in the consideration of ongoing training and supervision, potential turnover, and statutory costs related to employees, you may find that partnering with a staffing agency like NIFS provides significant value.

Objection 2: I have no control over the staff person.

I don’t know who you’ve worked with historically, but any organization in this business that doesn’t put service first and foremost is making a gigantic mistake. When you’re working with the right outsourcing partner, that organization should be keenly interested in keeping you, the client, happy. To that end, they should be very interested in your feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of the staff they’re providing at your location.

Objection 3: An outsourced staff person won’t have buy-in from our constituents.

For starters, see objection #2. Keep in mind that the only way a staffing agency stays in business is if they have learned to be nimble and highly adaptive to a variety of environments. You can check on a potential outsourcing partner’s flexibility by talking to a variety of references.

When we go to work in senior living settings, we often pair up staffing services with wellness consulting (at no additional cost) so that we can better support the organization and further understand the culture with that client. This understanding is communicated to our staff on the ground so that we’re all operating from the same educated starting point.

Are you ready to do wellness better? Learn more about wellness consulting.

Objection 4: Fitness isn’t rocket science; we’ve got this.

Okay. You’re right. Fitness isn’t rocket science, and you may very well “have it.” There are a host of highly capable, service-minded, passionate health and fitness professionals out there who are ready to work directly for you. But who has their back?

Who provides them with fresh ideas, resources, direction, and support? Your human resources director? Your activities director? Not likely—unless you’ve somehow hit a gold mine of fitness-educated staff at your business, the fitness manager you employ is probably the only one of his or her kind in your four walls. Outsourcing partners (the best ones, anyway) bring a team of resources, professionals, expertise, and support to the staff member they provide your organization.

Maybe you have other objections I can address. If so, leave them in the comments below. On the other hand, if I’ve just addressed your objections and you’re ready to start looking at outsourcing partners, drop me a line, or take a closer look at us through the rest of our blog. If your business has to move through an RFP process, you might want to read what I wrote on my top 10 RFP questions for corporate fitness management.

CORPORATE FITNESS STAFFING ›SENIOR LIVING FITNESS STAFFING ›

 

Topics: worksite wellness NIFS corporate fitness centers corporate fitness managment nifs fitness management employee health and fitness corporate wellness staffing wellness consulting outsourcing fitness managment

What If: There Were More than One Class of Elite Performers at Work?

Throughout 2015, we’ll be blogging about our dreams for corporate wellness, fitness, and aging well. Some of the content will represent a gentle “poking fun” at the industry, but it’s all written to stimulate thought about what really could be if we put our heads together and started mapping out what’s really possible in the realm of individual wellbeing. We hope you’ll join the conversation by commenting on the blogs, giving us additional ideas about which topics to explore, and by finding us on Twitter at #wellnesswhatif.

Businesses need top performers in order to survive. We need sales staff who are heavy hitters, research staff who are actually rocket scientists, and customer service professionals who can turn any frown upside down. You know who those folks are in your organization, that top 5% of all performers. In some cases, they might be unsung heroes, but at a lot of businesses, the best among us are often publicly lauded. They are the elite.

Changing the Definition of “Elite”

Not everyone can fit into that narrow industry-specific definition of elite. But maybe, if business leaders opened their minds about what counts as elite, we could have more than one class of top-tier performers.

What if you didn’t have to exceed your sales quota to be considered among the elite at your worksite? Don’t get me wrong. You’d still have to work really hard. After all, becoming top tier is definitely hard work. Some would say rising to the top requires strength, agility, and grace under stress.

Rollerblading_woman_ThinkstockPhotos-476542628According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center found one way to get into the top 5% is to sweat. In their analysis of the American Time Use survey, they concluded that only 1 in 20 Americans engages in vigorous exercise (the kind that makes you sweat) on any given day. 

That’s right, a paltry 5% of us are working hard enough to actually sweat when we work out.

What Does This Have to Do with Employee Health? 

The way to sustained weight loss toward a healthy weight is through a healthy diet combined with prolonged cardiovascular exercise (45 to 60 minutes) at least five days per week. Employers: If you want a workforce that is at a healthier body weight, you have to (among other things) create an environment that supports and provides opportunities for your employees to work out hard enough to sweat. You need to build a corporate health culture that supports breaking a sweat in your worksite fitness center, or through another avenue of the employee’s choice.

Certainly, there’s more to individual well-being than being physically fit. But I wonder how many employees hold back on working out because of their environment (lack of access, lack of support). What if businesses publicly rewarded the exercising (aka sweaty) elite alongside the elite sales force and recognized the importance of employee health and fitness?

Download our whitepaper for tips on adding exercise to your worksite wellness program. 

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Topics: corporate fitness weight management corporate fitness centers cardio employee health and fitness health culture what if

NIFS Member Speak: Mandy Kisamore transforms herself and her family

members_speakMandy Kisamore was a little reserved when we first met. She is not a jump in the front of the room type of person. She came to a few classes and then became more of a regular.  After a while she started to hang around after class and ask questions that began with her and then shifted toward her children, and her family. She has done a lot of work from when she started and it hasn’t stopped with her.  Check out her story about how she transformed herself and her family.  It has been extremely rewarding to be able to be a part of Mandy’s success. 

Transforming Myself and My Family

Exercise was not one of my favorite things to do.  It was never fun; I would never look forward to it, or hate to miss a class. Today is a different story.

Three years ago I started to get serious about taking care of myself.  This transformation has been, and continues to be, a struggle that I have to work on at every class, at every workout, and every time I exercise.

Here is my story.  In the beginning, my family and friends would always tell me that I needed to find some “me” time.  Having a husband and two kids at home, finding “me” time was the last thing I thought was a possibility.  After thinking about this “me” time that I apparently needed, I decided that I would start checking out the gym at work and the classes that were offered.  I thought that would be something positive for me, mentally and physically.  That could be my “me” time, one night a week for 45 minutes. 

Mandy_Kisamore

Of course going to the gym itself is overwhelming, and joining a class for the first time was terrifying for me.  I found myself frustrated during the past three years because the scale did not tell me the number I wanted it to. I have had to shift my thinking to look at the inches I have lost, the new pants I have had to buy, the muscles I have built, and the confidence I have gained.  During the past three years I have had some setbacks which were frustrating, but I know that I cannot stop now. I feel that I have come so far that giving up and going back to where I was is not an option for me.  I started with a lower body class, it was only 30 minutes and who doesn’t want a better back side? A few friends and I started going to the class together. It was definitely a good decision to start with people I knew.  To my surprise, I ended up enjoying the class and started going once a week.  I attended this class for a month, and then added two classes a week for the next month, then three a week the next month. I soon found myself going to as many classes as I could fit into my schedule. As time went on, I could feel how much better I felt inside, and I could see the changes that were happening to my body.  These helped me stay motivated and continue trying different exercise classes.

My motivation to keep pushing through and continuing to make this more of a lifestyle change than what started as just a way to find “me” time is definitely my family.  To see the changes and the positive thought process this “me time” has brought to my family is amazing to see.  At one point during this journey my son said he was proud of me.  That was such a motivator for me to keep going no matter how hard it was, or how much I didn’t think I could keep up with it.  Since then, my kids have started paying attention to their eating habits, and exercising because they want to.  My husband, sister, and father have been making changes to be healthier as a result of what I have started.  It is wonderful to see that what started as one group fitness class has turned into a positive change for my entire family.

To me, every positive change you make is a success, whether it is stepping foot in the gym, joining your first class, or trying a healthier meal out on your family.  These changes can lead to so many more positive changes in your life. Although I haven’t reached my initial goals yet, I have found the smaller goals I have made are just as important.  I have to remind myself of what I’ve already accomplished, and that I am a work in progress.  I am going to keep trying to be a better healthier me, for myself and my family.   

Interested in helping your employees make great strides in changing their habits to live healthier lives?  Checkout NIFS Fitness Management Services to see how we help your workforce.

*Weight loss claims or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

Corporate Fitness Services

Topics: employee health and fitness NIFS member speak corporate wellness success

Corporate Fitness: Free Workout Friday, Utilizing your Bodyweight

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Bodyweight exercises are trending in 2015.  If you missed last week go back and check it out.  Now it's time to crank up your bodyweight workout from last week? We have another workout for you. Before you begin this workout, make sure your form and technique for each exercise is correct first. You want to get a good workout in while avoiding injuries. Watch the video for correct form and technique.

Instructions: Complete 3 sets of each exercise with a 30 to 60 second rest in between sets.

Workout

  1. 20 jump squats
  2. 15 burpees
  3. 10 broad jumps w/ squat thrusts
  4. 15 downdog push-ups
  5. 10 tricep dips w/ leg extensions
  6. 60 sec plank
  7. 15 single leg squats (both right and left sides)
  8. 60 sec bridge march

It's importatnt to stay hydrated when working out. Make sure your water bottle is close by; you’ll need it!

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Topics: Free Workout Friday employee health and fitness

Corporate Fitness: Free Workout Friday -- Flexibility

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We kicked of the new year with tackling the components of a workout.  Flexibility is often overlooked, but is needed in everyday activities. Not stretching properly or a sedentary lifestyle can negatively affect one’s flexibility and range of motion. Without appropriate stretching and activity, our bodies’ posture and movement patterns can change overtime reducing range of motion. There are two kinds of stretching: dynamic and static. Dynamic stretching uses controlled movements that bring muscles through their full range of motion. Static stretching involves taking joints through a range of motion to a comfortable end point, holding that position for a period of time (at least 10 seconds).

Self-myofascial release, commonly used with a foam roller, is another method to increase flexibility. In this technique, one uses a foam roller to assist in self-massage to release muscle tightness or knots. Foam rollers are available in different densities. At the beginning, the process may be uncomfortable. A softer roller is ideal to start with. Foam rollers are available for purchase online or in any store that provides basic to advanced fitness equipment.

For dynamic stretches, check out our blog about warming up which includes dynamic stretching.

Static Stretches:

  • Arm hold across the body
  • Triceps overhead
  • Upper back
  • Chest
  • Obliques
  • Inner thigh
  • Hamstring and calf
  • Quadriceps

Foam Rolling: (demonstration video)

  • Hamstring
  • Calf
  • Glute maximus
  • Glute medius
  • Piriformis
  • IT Band
  • Upper back (1)
  • Upper back (2)
  • Lats
  • Quadriceps

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Topics: Free Workout Friday employee health and fitness

Free Workout Friday: Cardiovascular and Strength Training

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It's important to fit exercise into your daily routine and both cardiovascular and strength training are recommended by the CDC to be incorporated weekly. One hundred fifty minutes of moderate aerobic activity is recommended for cardiovascular training. To strengthen and ton your muscles, strength training should be done at least twice each week and include all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms). Cardio stresses your heart and lungs making you breathe harder, while strength training focuses on muscle strength, power, and endurance. It’s okay to enjoy one activity more than the other; most people have preferences, but a proper balance between cardiovascular and strength training is what is important.  Check out the following suggestions.  Pick one or two of the cardio activities, break it up into 15-20 minute bouts.  Complete the strength exercises to tone and improve muscular endurance.  Strive for 12-15 repetitions of each exercise using moderate weight.  

Cardio:

  • Running
  • Bicycle
  • Brisk Walk
  • Treadmill
  • Elliptical
  • Arc Trainer
  • Row Machine
  • Stair Master
  • Recumbent Bike
  • Upright Bike

Strength:

  • Shoulder Press
  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Chest Press
  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Extension
  • Reverse Fly
  • Leg Raise
  • Back Extension
  • Plank

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Topics: Free Workout Friday employee health and fitness

Corporate Fitness: 5 Tips for Staying Motivated

couple_working_outWe all know that exercising is good for us.  It keeps us full of energy, lowers our risk for disease and helps us look our best.  For some people, these reasons alone are enough to keep them going and motivated to stay on track with their fitness goals.  On the other hand, we all know somebody who struggles to stay motivated enough to adhere to, or even begin a fitness regimen.  Maybe this person is a family member, a friend, a co-worker or even yourself!  Whatever the case may be, I am here to offer five tips that can help even the most unmotivated individual get going. 

Change your Perspective!

Look at your time exercising as your time away from all other distractions.  This is a time that you have set aside for your own personal gain and shouldn’t be spent stressing or worrying about daily issues!  Allow this time be a highlight of your day and use different means to find something that works for you!

Use Your Pets

One of the easiest ways to stay motivated to get some extra activity in is to use your dog!  They will always be a friendly reminder of when nature calls and this can be a cue for you to get up and take a walk around the neighborhood.  This is a great way to get going and enjoy time with your pet while keeping the intensity low and being able to enjoy the outdoors.

Grab a Buddy

Sometimes all you need is that little nudge to get you going.  Get with a friend or co-worker to help keep you honest and agree on a weekly exercise schedule and hold each other accountable!  Support each other on walks or jogs, play a sport or game, or head to the corporate fitness center together to work out and encourage one another.  Work together to make it fun!

Grab Some Headphones/Find a book!

Music is a great motivational tool to finish that cardio session or to finish that last repetition.  Pick some music you can enjoy with a higher tempo you can follow along with.  Are you the type who would rather be swept up in a good story?  Pick up a couple audio books by your favorite author and make a goal to listen to so many chapters during your session.

Be an Inspiration!

Maybe you have children, family members, or friends that would also benefit from developing positive health choices and fitness routines.  Seeing you succeed and commit to a regular exercise routine could be all that a loved one needs to also make a positive change in their lives as well!  What is better than being someone else’s inspiration!

I encourage you to be a motivator, grab fellow employees and go for a walk at lunch, or head to your corporate fitness center to make today your day to live a healthier lifestyle. 

Guide to Successful Corporate Fitness Centers

Topics: corporate fitness employee health and fitness

NIFS: Encourage bike to work week for employee health

man biking to workIt’s MAY, birds are chirping the sun is out and oh yea watch for blinky lights and reflective leg bands, bike season has started! While some dread sharing the road with the two wheeled, foot powering transportation others love this chance to take advantage of the trails and bike lanes in your city. Well the truth is you SHOULD! Step outside of your normal comfort zone and bike to the store or run other errands while getting some exercise in!

Getting back on your bike can be a great way to involve the family, get involved with a new community and a little extra physical activity into your day! Great benefits of biking or commuting by bike include:

  • low impact exercise
  • creates a low environmental impact
  • it’s the most energy efficient type of transportation
  • reduces stress and travel stressors
  • saves money and so much more

Conduct an ABC Quick Check before each ride:

  • Air: Check the air in your tires. They should be inflated to the maximum rated PSI, you can find this number on the side of your tires. They should be inflated to the firmness of a basketball if you don’t have a pressure gauge.
  • Brakes: Brakes should be in working order if they stop the back when pushed forward or backwards. Brakes should be in working order if they stop wheels when pulled.
  • Chain: Chain should move freely, lightly oiled and rust-free. 

May 12-16 is Bike to work week this supports all levels of bikers to take advantage of active transportation. Here is a great website to get tips and tricks on biking to work or everyday biking. Check into other employee benefits at your work such as a bike commuter reimbursement.

How is your company promoting worksite wellness for employees?  Our staff offer great programs to encourage employees to get healthy.  Opt in to our Best Practice Series to receive 11 of our Best Practices implemented by our staff.

 

NIFS Best Practices Corporate
Topics: corporate fitness program corporate wellness nifs fitness management employee health and fitness