By Brenda Gazzar, California Business Journal.
Jenna Mons Anderson eats vegan, meditates regularly and stays fit with a regimen of yoga, pure barre classes and walks with her family. For the busy CEO of AccessElite, a concierge wellness company that offers wellness events, primary and specialty care services, health and wellness are more than a career choice: They’re a way of life.
Anderson joined the all-female executive team of AccessElite, which is fully commercializing this year, in May of 2019 to transform the corporate wellness industry and help people attain “total well-being” by making it easy and convenient at their workplace.
“One of the things a lot of companies get right or wrong is investing in their most important asset, which is their people,” Anderson says. “Truly investing in their people is investing in their physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.”
Anderson previously worked for Allergan, where she ran consumer marketing for the company’s obesity division and then launched botox for your bladder, and then the health-tech company ALPHAEON Corp., where she worked her way up to the post of senior vice president.
She also operated her own corporate consulting business for nearly three years before taking the helm at AccessElite, a benefits corporation that counts having a positive community impact among its goals. There are many corporate wellness programs available today, yet Anderson argues that most of them “miss the mark” by not being fully comprehensive.
For AccessElite, which recently debuted in California’s Orange and San Diego counties, comprehensiveness includes bringing health and wellness events to the sites of corporate partners each month. These are diagnostic, education and self-care events such as body scans, physicals, eye exams, skin checks, fitness and meditation classes, massages as well as talks on nutrition and overall well-being.
These offerings allow employees who don’t have the time to leave the office or make an appointment to get them done over their lunch break while they’re at work. The program is not intended to replace employer-sponsored insurance but adds to it. Secondly, they work with their partners to conduct challenges four times a year, such as fitness, water-drinking, and meditation challenges, to enhance employees’ well-being.
“We’re oozing wellness into the entire corporate culture,” Anderson says.
The company also does “healthy snack drops” to transform the kind of food employers provide to their employees to help them feel and perform at their peak.
Thirdly, the company provides every employee with their own concierge health and wellness team — a minimum of 25 different specialists on call for any of their health and wellness needs. If an employee wakes up and needs to see a cardiologist, a primary care physician, a chiropractor or a masseuse, they can get on their smartphone, click a button and see them the same or next day.
“That removes the barrier that most people encounter, which is ‘I don’t know where to go and I don’t have the time.’ We take all of that burden off of them so they can prioritize their most important thing, which is their health,” Anderson explains.
Employees also receive discounts on wellness services not covered by their insurance such as massages, adjustments, acupuncture and nutritional coaching.
Not only are employers seeing a reduction in healthcare expenditures, but they’re seeing an increase in productivity because they’re happier, healthier and have fewer sick days, according to Anderson. The combination of on-site physicals, exams, and screenings with expedited access to 16 types of health specialists “have a major impact on the management of chronic diseases,” she adds.
AccessElite, which has 20 employees and offers access to hundreds of providers, will soon be launching in San Francisco, Dallas, and Scottsdale, Arizona. By the end of the year, Miami and New York City will be added to its roster.
“We’re looking at markets where wellness is a priority, where taking care of yourself and investing in employees’ well-being is already a trend, and where we have a plethora of wellness providers that we can tap into,” Anderson says.
As for the future of the flourishing corporate wellness industry, she believes that it’s just starting to “hit its stride.”
Millennials make up the largest generation of the U.S. labor force, according to the Pew Research Center. However, many millennials don’t even have a primary care provider, relying on urgent care centers if they fall ill rather than focusing on wellness. Yet wellness ranks above spirituality and career development for this important demographic.
“Wellness and personalization are important to them,” Anderson says. “Quality time and balance are important to them. In order for organizations to attract this millennial workforce and to retain them and optimize their performance, they have to think about what their culture looks like.”
While these components are seen as added value, Anderson predicts they will become required in the corporate benefit structure as the importance of appealing to this vital workplace demographic becomes clearer. “We all know that culture keeps employees there. They want to know ‘do they care about me? Do they create a work environment where I can thrive?’ And so much of that will be focused on wellness.”
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