Health Care and Human Resources

Wellness provider marks 10 years with new location

Rising parking costs force OnSite Wellness to move from downtown venue.

September 9, 2016
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OnSite Wellness
The new location on Charlevoix Drive SE will have room for the growing team at OnSite Wellness. Courtesy OnSite Wellness

A corporate wellness provider with clients throughout the state is celebrating its first 10 years in business with a new office space.

OnSite Wellness relocated to 3020 Charlevoix Drive SE, Suite 2, in Grand Rapids from its downtown location, 100 Grandville Ave. SW.

Amy Ritsema, co-founder and co-owner of the company, said the move out of downtown had a lot to do with rising costs.

Ritsema said parking costs for the company’s employees were set to double, and downtown rents have been rising as well, making it more costly to find space for OnSite Wellness’ growing team.

“We needed more space to accommodate our staff, and you can get more for your money outside of downtown and free parking right outside your front door,” Ritsema said.

Ritsema and Mary Kline founded OnSite Wellness in 2006 with six corporate clients. Now, the company has more than 40 clients and has provided consultation to more than 70 companies and more than 25,000 employees during the past 10 years. OnSite Wellness employs 35 people.

Ritsema said the company has set a goal of growing its business to more than 100 clients during the next 10 years and also is looking to open additional regional offices.

“Probably, the first regional office would be on the east side of the state; we have several clients over there,” she said.

Ritsema said OnSite Wellness has clients throughout Michigan, as well as a client in Ohio and in California. She also noted some of the company’s Michigan clients have offices in additional states, which OnSite Wellness serves, as well.

Both Ritsema and Kline have a long history in corporate wellness. The pair met while working at the same company in the 1990s. Later, they teamed up again at another company, eventually buying that business’ clients to start OnSite Wellness.

Ritsema said she has observed a significant shift over the past decade in the area of corporate wellness — a shift that is more reminiscent of when companies first began implementing wellness plans almost three decades ago.

She said during the 1990s, when companies were first instituting wellness plans, the focus was creating a plan that would benefit employees.

“Large West Michigan companies put wellness plans in place because it was good for their employees,” she said. “They had this firm belief that if employees are healthy and happy, it will benefit the organization in a lot of different ways.”

Ritsema said as the recession began to take a toll on bottom lines, she saw a shift in wellness plan priorities.

“Wellness became, ‘How can it save my company money?’” she said. “That is when (return on investment) crept in, and it became about group health management and saving money.

“The focus now, after the recovery, is going back to people.”

Ritsema said she is glad to see the change.

“That is where I think it should be,” she said.

She also thinks wellness programs that put employees at the center instead of the ROI are more likely to result in a higher payback for the company.

“I really think with the people approach to wellness — the ‘I care about you’ message, ‘we are doing this for you and not to you’ message — it really does have an impact in the engagement of the employees,” she said. “The model of ‘we are doing this to save the company money, so you need to do your biometric screening and you need to participate so our company can thrive,’ that is the wrong message, and you aren’t going to see the engagement.

“I really think now, and moving forward, if this continues to be the trend, we will see more engagement.”

Ritsema said the industry also is changing to include what she calls the “softer side” of wellness, things such as stress management, mindfulness training, addressing mental health issues and generally helping people find joy in life.

She said that approach also is more likely to result in more engaged employees.

“People have aging parents and kids and are trying to balance their life, and they need support,” she said. “People are much more apt to engage in the soft side of wellness, rather than walking 30 minutes a day.

“Becoming the best person you can be, that is our focus moving forward,” she said.

Ritsema said dealing with those areas means continuing to create tailored approaches to wellness, which she said is dependent on the individuals, as well as the industry they are in.

“We are customizing a wellness solution that best meets the needs of the employees and the organization itself,” she said. “For instance, I can’t treat the financial industry the same as the construction and manufacturing industries. The needs are very different. The organizational needs might be similar, but how we get there might be different.”

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