4 benefits of health coaching in employee wellness programs

7 March 2023

With chronic health conditions driving health insurance premiums to an all-time high, more employers are turning to corporate-sponsored health and well-being programs to help control costs—and with good reason. Research shows that well-implemented workplace health programs can contribute to significant cost savings on employee absenteeism, healthcare costs, workers’ compensation and disability management claims.1

Establishing an employee wellness program is a great first step, but to maximize its impact, the program has to both engage employees and support them in making meaningful, long-term health and behavior changes.

Health coaching, or wellness coaching, is a powerful way to increase the effectiveness of your workplace wellness program, resulting in better health outcomes, stronger engagement, and cost savings. In fact, health coaching has been shown to help employees modify multiple unhealthy behaviors, resulting in improvements in diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure risks—conditions that drive excessive healthcare costs.2

What is a health coach?

A health coach provides one-on-one support to people who want to improve their health and well-being. Health coaches offer the skills, knowledge, confidence and support to help people achieve their goals. They focus on physical, emotional and environmental factors as they support individuals throughout their health and wellness journey.

At Labcorp, our health coaches hold advanced degrees and certifications in a number of specialty areas, including exercise, nutrition, chronic condition management, health education, health behavior modification, tobacco cessation and mental health and well-being. This training and experience allows our health coaches to take a holistic approach to improving the health of individual employees.

How can health coaching empower employee wellness?

Introducing health coaching to your corporate wellness program can be a powerful catalyst for creating a healthier, more engaged and resilient workforce. Here are just a few of the ways health coaching can have a direct impact on employee health and well-being:

1. Health coaches offer personalized support

By nature, corporate wellness programs are designed for the needs of a diverse workforce. But building a healthier, more resilient workforce calls for something more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Adding health coaching to your workplace wellness program allows you to put each employee and their unique wellness journey at the center.

A health coach can help employees create customized goals, establish strategies designed to help individual employees succeed, and connect employees with other corporate wellness resources—like behavior modification programs, medical plan benefits or discount programs—to help them manage their health. In developing an ongoing relationship with a coach, employees increase the likelihood of achieving their goals.

Labcorp’s health coaches use an evidence-based approach during in-person or phone coaching sessions that focus on three key stages:

    1. Discovery: Labcorp health coaches take time to get to know the employee and understand their current health status, willingness to change and personal health goals.
    2. Visioning: Next, Labcorp health coaches help employees identify their well-being goals, and share practical ideas for making meaningful, measurable progress.
    3. Results: Labcorp health coaches serve as an expert resource and guide, helping participants take stock of their changing habits, celebrate successes and make adjustments as needed—with the ultimate goal of empowering the employee to address future challenges on their own.

2. Health coaches meet people where they are

An individual’s wellness journey can be a long and winding road—and the coaching relationship doesn’t end after the initial coaching session. Successful coaching programs need to flow with the pace of modern life by offering a variety of methods for ongoing connection, communication and education that are accessible to all.

Labcorp’s health coaching program, for example, is built around flexibility, offering options for communication and education that fit the needs of the individual. One-on-one coaching sessions can take place in person or over the phone, and employees can also send their coach secure digital messages between sessions. Labcorp’s coaching team also offers additional support through a mix of in-person and virtual seminars and webinars on a variety of topics, including general wellness, chronic condition management, food and nutrition, physical activity, emotional well-being and more. For a list of seminars, click here.

3. Health coaches help make sense of health information

In the digital age, people receive a steady stream of information about their health and well-being from multiple sources—smart watches, fitness trackers, smartphone apps, doctor and hospital records, biometric health screenings and more. “Knowing your numbers” is an important way to monitor health, but people often struggle to make sense of it all. Enter health coaching!

A health coach can help provide clarity and direction, focusing on what the numbers say about an employee’s overall health. Armed with a clear understanding of the health data, the individual and coach can more effectively work together to set goals and develop strategies to improve numbers and address potential risk factors.

4. Health coaches help bridge gaps in care

The number of Americans diagnosed with chronic conditions is staggering—and perhaps more concerning is the number of people who have a condition but don’t know it. According to the CDC, an estimated 37.3 million Americans have diabetes, but 23% of these people don’t know they have the disease.3

Corporate wellness programs—and especially health coaches—can play a crucial role in helping identify chronic conditions and direct people to appropriate medical care. As discussed earlier, health coaches can help employees make sense of their personal health information (like biometric screening results), identify signs of a chronic condition, and direct people to a primary care provider for further evaluation and treatment.

A health coach can also support individuals in following clinical advice for managing their condition through behavior modification and lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking, focusing on nutrition, getting more exercise and more.

What's next?

Health coaching is a powerful way to amplify the impact of your corporate wellness program, empowering your employees to take charge of their health in ways that improve their lives and the long-term health of your company.

Ready to talk about health coaching for your health and wellness program? Talk to your Labcorp client success representative today, or click here to have us contact you.