At Vitality’s Corporate Wellness Breakfast Seminar, a Q&A session with 2014 Britain’s Healthiest Company winners provided an ideal opportunity to share best practice around workplace wellbeing.

THE PANEL

Greg Levine, Director of Corporate and Intermediated Business, VitalityHealth
Wolfgang Seidl, Head of Health Management Consulting, Mercer
Tony Cooke, Human Resources Director, Adidas
Leanne Willson, Global LifeWorks & Inclusion Manager, Discovery Communications

HOW DO YOU ENGAGE THE LARGEST POPULATION OF EMPLOYEES – THOSE WHO AREN’T PARTICULARLY HEALTHY BUT WHO AREN’T ILL EITHER? (PAUL HOLLINGDALE, MERCER)

Tony Cooke, Adidas
“We’ve introduced a confidential ‘triage’ system that assesses employees to find out what health support they need and how critically they need treatment.”

Wolfgang Seidl, Mercer
“We’ve found a ‘Know Your Numbers’ campaign, which measures factors such as blood sugar and blood pressure, to be effective. In one workplace, a guy had his blood sugar analysed and found out he had diabetes and was on the point of going blind. That case study inspired the whole company to get involved. We also need targeted programmes. Working with brokers in the City, we found health, wealth and addiction issues. They wouldn’t listen to a wellness programme; we had to create a competitive plan to engage them.”

Leanne Willson, Discovery Communications
“It has to be a holistic programme that speaks to employees from the bottom up, rather than being an HR imposition. We have advocates of different ages telling their own golden stories, and sharing their experiences and advice with their peers. We also have a menu of initiatives that will appeal to a range of people.”

HOW SHOULD HR ENGAGE OLDER WORKERS WITH A WELLNESS PROGRAMME? (REBECCA GOWLER, JOURNALIST)

Greg Levine, Director of Corporate and Intermediated Business, VitalityHealth
“Get them along to a wellness day, where they can join in a Know Your Numbers campaign, then segment the programme to provide for their needs. When we talk about wellness, we often think about the gym bunnies. But often the issues are around bullying or morale; we need to make our definition of wellness broader, in order to reach people of every age.”

Wolfgang Seidl, Mercer
“Health and wellbeing should be integrated into the strategy of the whole business. I worked with an engineering firm that depends on an older workforce. They were able to shift mature employees away from roles in heavy engineering to maintenance, where there’s a need for their experience. Job planning can be a part of workplace wellness.”

Tony Cooke, Adidas
“One, show them the scary numbers from their health assessment. Two, have case studies that demonstrate the benefits of healthier choices. Three, incentivise them. At Adidas, we might provide free trainers or lunch for two.”

Leanne Willson, Discovery Communications
“If you don’t have a big budget, food is always a good way to encourage engagement. When we carried out a Britain’s Healthiest Company survey, we offered fruit and smoothies to anyone filling out the questionnaire. And a corporate, top-down approach can put people off. Ask people’s opinions before programmes are launched.”

WHAT’S YOUR COMPANY’S NUMBER ONE HEALTH CONCERN; HOW DO YOU MEASURE IT; AND WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IT? (IAN EDWARDS, NOMURA)

Tony Cooke, Adidas
“Stress. We train managers to identify the signs. We measure how many people we are treating and how many people’s wellbeing we have turned around. We’re also aware of work/life balance issues in particular departments – the culprits are always marketeers and sales guys! We also ask employees to measure us are we expecting too much? Do you have the head count you need?”

Wolfgang Seidl, Mercer
“The most common issues are musculoskeletal and mental health. Companies tend to measure participation rates, not outcomes such as money saved on absenteeism.”

Leanne Willson, Discovery Communications
“Musculoskeletal problems come up a lot. We cross-refer services – health and safety, masseuse, physio – to help. People who deal with a broad geographic market also face challenges. They come in to work and face questions from Asia Pacific in the morning and queries from the US when they leave. We’re working on ways to support them better.”

HOW MANY OF YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED WITH YOUR WORKPLACE WELLNESS PROGRAMME? (IVELINA EMILOVA, TELEFONICA)
Tony Cooke, Adidas
“At Adidas, we have 350 employees and 75% are involved in wellness.”

Leanne Willson, Discovery Communications
“Discovery Communications has 900 employees; 60% are signed up to our Wellness Centre and 70% are signed up to wellness programmes. The figure is 85% overall.”

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