Employee Benefits Awards 2009: Most effective healthcare and wellbeing strategy (sponsored by Westfield Health)

Informa InformMyBenefits – Health and Wealth Programme

Informa reinvigorates its benefits each year. In 2008, the programme was transformed into one focusing on health and wealth. New benefits included health screening for partners and a bike-to-work scheme, to add to existing wellbeing perks such as private medical insurance, extra days’ holiday and financial education workshops. The benefits are relaunched every November, with fairs held in six locations. In 2008 staff were offered a Virgin boarding pass enabling them to enter a prize draw for two flights to the USA if they attended the fair. Attendance figures doubled.

The health part of the programme included a pilot of an absence management scheme in the company’s maritime and transport division, which has 300 staff. It reduced absence by 60%, equating to a £40,000 saving.

Informa has set up a triage system with Aviva that includes pre-employment questionnaires to help understand a candidate’s health; occupational support for staff by phone; and a doctor’s referral. The system has resulted in a 75% cost reduction in pre-employment referral costs.

‘Fitbugs’, launched in September, allows staff a five-minute health assessment in a hi-tech lab to measure body mass index, heart rate, and so on. Informa showed how walking and cycling not only makes staff healthier, it also makes them ‘greener’ by reducing their carbon footprint.

The media company also rebrokered all its risk benefits, resulting in a year-one cost saving of £100,000.

Pictured left: Linda Hilliard, UK reward manager at Informa, said: “This is very important to us. If the health and wellbeing of our staff is cared for then we should have a happy workforce.”

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  • The Authentic Food Company Authentic Well Being
    The company focused on the concept that small changes can made a big difference to employees’ lives. For example, it ran 40-minute wellness checks for all staff so they could “know their numbers”, such as blood pressure, and take action if needed. Staff also pay £1 a month to take part in activities, which the company subsidises to the tune of £10,000 a year. The number of staff with a low risk of heart disease rose from 62% in the 2005 tests to 70% in 2007.
  • Basildon District Council Absence Management and Wellbeing Strategy
    This entry was very focused, connecting well with the organisation’s needs. It tackled poor performance among staff and rewarded those who took no absence. A wide range of services is run by the council’s occupational health department, with the aim of shifting absence management to wellbeing. Absence dropped from 12.2 days a year per employee to eight days by 2008 (below the target of nine).
  • Nottingham City Council Health and Wellbeing for Work Strategy
    The council has a five-year plan, and part of the strategy is to focus on the 6% of staff who are regularly seen by the wellbeing team – to empower them to take care of own health. It also targeted staff likely to have health inequalities in their community, to educate them on diet, making informed choices, and so on. Council initiatives include stop smoking and “work your hours week”. It saw a 27% increase in staff taking part in wellbeing initiatives.
  • System Concepts Health, Work and Wellbeing
    This tailor-made strategy focused on dealing with workplace stress to improve staff wellbeing. Using good management practices that can be forgotten when focusing on wellbeing products, it clarified job roles, gave staff PDAs and recruited more staff, revised performance reviews to include key stressors and completed individual risk assessments. It set up a clear framework to measure results over the long term.
  • University of Bolton £1m Challenge
    The university used a £50,000 award from Sport England’s campaign to get staff active in the workplace. Using a traffic-light system to grade staff fitness, it offered different levels of activities. In the first year, 200 of the 600-strong workforce signed up. The project demonstrated the link between more physical activity and less sickness absence.