AstraZeneca shows off health strategy

AstraZeneca has been developing its health and wellbeing reporting strategy in recent years because it wants to show investors the support it gives employees to remain healthy.

The disclosures also help the organisation maximise its score on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, a benchmark for investors that integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios.

Sue Connelly, global health and wellbeing lead at AstraZeneca, says: “We took the proactive elements of health and wellbeing away from occupational health in 2008/9 and moved it into HR to align with engagement and productivity.

“Occupational health can often be seen as reactive, making sure people are not exposed to harmful elements in the workplace, whereas what we are doing is more proactive.”

There are three pillars to the health and wellbeing strategy the firm introduced last year: personal energy management, health screening, and a set of six essential health activities: physical fiitess, healthy business travel, workplace pressure management, tobacco use cessation, healthy eating and general health promotion.

AstraZeneca aims to have the six activities in place in more than 80% of its 60 global sites by 2015. Tools, such as workshops and access to fitness activities, are in place to help each site achieve this and results are monitored via an internal tracking system.

Connelly says: “We review progress on an annual basis and do a gap analysis, and we support areas around the globe that are not quite meeting that target to ensure that, by 2015, they have all six. We have a glidepath, so in year one we wanted one of the core activities to be in place; this year we want two in place, and so on.”

Each locality decides which activity it wants to introduce and when, as long as it meets the long-term objective by 2015. Connelly says there are many benefits in formalising a health and wellbeing strategy, one of which is a better relationship with the organisation’s finance team.

“We have looked at the scientific evidence for introducing certain aspects of the health and wellbeing strategy and have put those into place,” she says. “Reporting on it enables employees and managers and marketing companies [to understand] what health and wellbeing means for us and how we are meeting our targets.”