Unilever made savings of £300,000 over the last two years after as a result of a health and wellbeing programme that was designed to improve nutrition and fitness of employees.
Addressing delegates today at Employee Benefits Live 2009, held at the Business and Design Centre in London, Breckon Jones, health and vitality manager for the UK and Ireland at Unilever, said that the firm’s campaign Fit Business, which is board-owned and sponsored, significantly reduced short-term sickness absence.
Improved absence levels were achieved by engaging employees in health and wellbeing initiatives such as blood pressure and cholesterol checks and making healthy food more widely available in its onsite canteen.
All meals in the canteen were given labels so employees could see the levels of fat, calories and salt present in food served at the canteen.
The Fit Business initiative, which cost £35,000 to pilot, mirrored Unilever’s commitment to reduce the salt and fat content of its food products for customers. Meal deals were also introduced to encourage staff to opt for healthy foods in the onsite campaign.
“Because we are a foods company we have a duty not only for our customers but also for our employees to be right at the top of our game when it comes to promoting messages about food,” said Jones.
In addition employees could discover what condition their heart was in by using a ‘heart age’ calculator – a national campaign linked with Unilever-brand Flora, which aims to get one million people to use the tool across the country.