A wellness manager is in charge of implementing and monitoring programs designed to help employees reach their optimal health. The position became popular during the late 1990s and early 2000s, and many medium to large companies maintain at least one wellness program manager on staff. Healthy employees are typically more productive, take fewer sick days, and cost companies less to insure. Common types of programs implemented by a wellness manager include smoking cessation classes, physical fitness activities, and stress management assistance.
Education requirements for a wellness manager position vary depending on the employer. Some employers will accept experience in the medical or business field and completion of a training course in lieu of a degree. Others prefer their wellness managers to have at least a Bachelors degree in a relevant field, such as health and wellness. A secondary degree in business may also be helpful and give applicants an edge over the competition.
One of the main duties of a wellness manager is identifying a need for healthier behaviors within the work place. For example, if a number of workers are smokers, the manager may implement a smoking cessation program. Providing a way for employees to remain physically fit is also important. Managers may assist employees in paying for gym memberships or build an on-site workout room for use during breaks or after work. Identifying wellness needs in the workplace requires good communication skills, attention to detail, and regular mingling with the workers.
In order to increase the chances of success for the programs, the wellness manager will typically implement some type of incentive program to go along with it. Workers that meet specific goals may receive cash bonuses, extra vacation days, or other types of prizes. Studies indicate that when incentives are attached to wellness programs, more employees are likely to participate. It is important for wellness managers to come up with incentives that are both attractive to the employees and cost efficient for the company, which may require some creative thinking.
Aside from general health enhancing programs for all workers, a wellness manager may need to assist workers with specific individual needs from time to time. For example, if a worker is injured on the job and develops an addiction to pain pills, it may fall on the wellness manager to get the worker into a treatment program and assist with maintaining sobriety. The manager may also assist workers in finding financial assistance or counseling for family or legal problems.