JP Morgan overcomes challenges to win finance director buy-in

JP Morgan is well known for its extensive health and wellbeing strategy, Wellness Works, which includes information on improving staff health, weight loss programmes and fitness challenges.

But when Adam Brooke, vice-president, employee benefits (UK), set out to introduce the initiative in 2010, he faced the same challenges many benefits professionals encounter.

JP Morgan

“We had always offered health screening to employees over the age of 40, but we wanted to open this up to all employees,” he says. “This would be a significant expense to the business, and we had to justify why we wanted to do it.”

To build a case for the investment, Brooke pulled together data from JP Morgan’s existing screening programme, occupational health and medical insurance to show how early detection affected other benefits.

“We were able to demonstrate that where screening picked up health conditions early, there were significant savings as well as improved outcomes for employees,” says Brooke. “Treatment costs would be reduced and, for some conditions, lifestyle changes would be sufficient to prevent it developing further.”

Brooke also spoke to the organisation’s screening provider, Nuffield Health, to gain further support for the plan. With more employees having health screenings, it would be possible to have a full-time physiologist providing an on-site service, helping to reduce the cost per employee.    

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There was also an element of good fortune, says Brooke. “We invited a member of the management committee to chair our wellness committee and the finance director for the EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa] region offered to do it. We were really lucky this happened because he was able to see exactly what we were trying to achieve.” 

Even with the finance director’s support, Brooke says the early meetings were fairly intense. “We had weekly meetings during the initial six months where we would be grilled on everything,” he says. “It’s much more relaxed now, but we still run things past finance. It takes time to build the trust, but it’s worth it.”