For the first Zenovate Yourself podcast episode, host Shawn Stringham interviews our very own Amelia Wilcox, CEO and founder of Zenovate! We love hearing inspiring stories of amazing companies pivoting and rebounding from the impacts of COVID-19, and we’re proud to be one of those innovative companies ourselves! Listen to the full podcast below, or read on to learn how Zenovate has made innovative choices and aggressive growth to meet the needs of a workforce affected by the stresses of a global pandemic, with new virtual stress management services!
How Zenovate Began Offering Virtual Stress Management Services
Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Zenovate, formerly Incorporate Massage, the 7th fastest-growing company in Utah. Recently named one of Utah’s Forty Under 40, Fast 50, and twice awarded Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year, Amelia has grown her company from a local solo living-room service business to an international technology brand. Amelia says “I’ve been a massage therapist since I was 19… I was so passionate about massage therapy, and wanted to make it into a real business where we could service more people.” With that single idea, Amelia created Incorporate Massage over 10 years ago.
Zenovate’s Origin Story
Of the company’s origins, Amelia says “I got a call from a law firm in Salt Lake city who wanted three massage therapists for Admin Day, and I didnt have any massage therapists yet, but I booked the event and then I had to figure out how to get people to do massages at this event. So that’s how it started, here in Salt lake.” Then as word caught on about the amazing workplace massages her company was able to seamlessly provide, one of her clients with an office in Dallas requested that her team provide massage in Dallas. Amelia says “We didn’t have any massage therapists in Dallas either, but I was like ‘We can totally do that.’” She then figured out how to find therapists remotely, interview them virtually, and onboard employees online. “Now we’re living in a day and age where these are critical skills that really matter right now,” says Amelia, but when the company first started expanding this was not a common process!
With so much successful growth over the years, Zenovate and Amelia were initially shocked by the impacts of COVID-19. As a high-touch service industry, massage was one of the first to see complete closure. Amelia says “We had watched the world kind of shut down, and all of the sudden people were working remotely — they weren’t going into the office, and we massage people at the office — so if there is nobody at work, there is nobody to massage.” The company watched as their aggressive growth trajectory flatlined down to nothing. “It was just gone” says Amelia “All of the sudden we went from the best quarter that we had ever had… it was just off the charts amazing, to nothing in a matter of 14 days.”
As the leader of a company with now more than a thousand employees, Amelia’s first response was to try to continue to provide opportunities for her team. After taking a few days to grieve, she launched into figuring how to adapt and overcome. The leadership team began looking at the resources they had. “We sent out a survey to our massage therapists and asked ‘What other stuff can you guys do?’ A lot of massage therapists have certifications in other things so — can you do yoga? Can you do meditation? Can you do remote energy work? Things like that… From there we came up with some ideas. Out of these things, what can be done virtually, and how can we make that into a digital offering rather than face to face?”
Virtual Stress Management For All
This quick pivot to offering virtual stress management services, and expanding the company’s offerings was something Amelia and the leadership team had always planned to do, but with COVID-19 they decided to accelerate their timeline, to create opportunities for their team of practitioners and stress management options for a workforce suddenly faced with all the stressors of remote life (not to mention a global pandemic!). Amelia said “We always planned on expanding our wellness offerings, finding a way to offer them to people in a virtual way was something brand new. Totally new muscles we were flexing.”
Amelia and Zenovate selected six initial practitioners as a pilot team for their new virtual stress management offerings. They began providing virtual services to existing clients almost immediately! Feedback was swift — this was something these clients needed! Amelia said clients expressed “A lot of concern around lack of employee well being… their teams felt really disconnected from each other and from the organization because everyone was working from home… So they were looking for solutions that could improve the connection that people had to each other.” And Zenovate’s new virtual stress management platform proved to be just that.
Virtual is Here to Stay
As states and counties slowly reopen, Zenovate has every intention of continuing to offer onsite chair massage. However, the new virtual stress management offerings are here to stay as well! Clients will simply have even more choices as to how they’ll provide stress management for their teams. Amelia states “The idea would be–if I’m a company and our corporate headquarters is here in Salt Lake but I have satellite employees at remote locations all over the US, we can still provide the same wellness benefits to all of our team no matter where they are.” This means companies can treat their employees with equity, whether they work at corporate headquarters, or a tiny satellite office in the middle of the countryside!
Guided Massage for Virtual Stress Management
Virtual guided massage is not a service that any other companies are currently offering, it’s unique to Zenovate. Guiding massage sessions isn’t new to Zenovate’s practitioners though. “[We’ve] always been really big into education for our massage therapists… we’ve been active in pulling our massage therapists into an education role where they can teach [their specialties] to each other.” Says Amelia. Since most of the US currently cannot go anywhere to receive a massage, people that are used to getting massages at work, perhaps receiving massage as treatment for chronic pain or headaches, have no way to get that treatment. Amelia says she thought “You know, I bet that people would want the tools to be able to massage themselves, or have someone else in their household massaging them.” After testing this out with their beta groups, they found the innovative idea to be very well received, and a powerful tool for virtual stress management.
Amelia explains the experience you might have while working with a practitioner via video, in a Zoom call “You’re able to see them and they are able to talk you through, give you verbal cues, and even show you an example of how to work specific areas. I feel like we are arming our clients with an amazing skill that will allow them to take control over their own health and wellbeing.”
Zen and Innovation Meet
As the company expands its offerings, it has also shifted its name to Zenovate, as its focus now goes beyond just massage to virtual stress management through multiple modalities. Zenovate offers a powerful platform for improving employee wellness and managing your stress virtually. Amelia says “Zen is the perfect word that encompasses all of those things. On the massage side the benefits are definitely pain management and reduction. Mindfulness and meditation are also really good for focus and relaxation. The ability to think clearly and self awareness.” These new offerings are available now, via live one-on-one or group sessions, or in Zenovate’s extensive content library of pre-recorded sessions.
An additional exciting shift in the company’s focus, is towards a more seamless technology platform. “We’ve definitely shifted from being just a services business” says Amelia “What I wanted to do was give companies very powerful actionable data that can really give insights into how their company is doing, and which categories of wellness they are struggling with (whether that be emotional, physical etc.)” Along with this data, Zenovate also provides recommendations to improve scores, and actionable ways to work on employee stress levels. “As an employer I can look at my data, and can see my data by department, so everyone gets an overall wellbeing score and then a breakdown by category.” This data helps companies spend their wellness dollars where they need it, improve company action towards employee mental health, and inform their choices when selecting virtual stress management options.
Currently, Zenovate is offering their pre-recorded virtual stress management sessions to anyone that needs them “Anyone can go online to Zenovate.com and sign up on our portal for their company and they’ll get access to two free content tracks which are the series of recordings with multiple sessions” Says Amelia, “Anyone can get access to those because we know that there are a lot of companies out there that are struggling with budget… but there is also a great need for mental health tools… There’s a lot of anxiety and depression out there right now.” For that reason, Zenovate is excited to offer something that will help the workforce cope with the current remote environment, at no cost.
With exciting positive responses so far, Amelia is excited to see how far Zenovate will go. Regarding their current client response Amelia says “Our main question was how do we provide value to our existing clientele, and solve a problem that they are experiencing in a new way? They are paying for something, and they have a need, so how can we help them? It’s been amazing to see, most of our clients that were on contract said absolutely, let’s do the virtual services.” The demand for virtual services is growing rapidly, and Zenovate is happy to be there to bring virtual stress management to employees — anywhere, anytime!