EXCLUSIVE: Legal and General reduces sickness absence after piloting health programme

Legal and General has reduced its sickness absence figures by 15%, with cost savings of almost £70,000, after piloting a preventative health programme.

The insurer reported that, between November 2010 and April 2011, sickness absence figures were 15% lower across the pilot group of 1,000 staff, compared to the same period in 2009/10 and 13% lower than in 2008/09.

Working in collaboration with Serco Occupational Health, GetFit Wellness and charity Stand To Reason, Legal and General was able to plan and launch a workplace wellbeing programme to the pilot group, while returning £2.47 in cost savings for every £1 spent on the programme.

Employees were asked to take part in an online confidential questionnaire and answer questions relating to lifestyle, health risks, medical history and work.

Participants were then sent a summary of their health, which was flagged as either green, amber or red. Employees could set health targets or goals, depending on their results.

Managers at Legal and General were provided with training as part of efforts to assist them in supporting their staff with low levels of emotional wellbeing, including stress, anxiety and depression.

Meanwhile, an early intervention programme, called Beating the Blues, gave employees with mild or moderate depression the chance to refer themselves for online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Employees, however, were screened to ensure CBT was the right treatment for them.

Nicky Richards, HR consultant at Legal and General, said: “While Legal and General has some good processes and management information, and managers that were actually managing absence, I concluded that there were some hot-spot areas around the organisation.

“In some areas there was above average levels of psychological absence. The third thing was that we did not have any proactive wellbeing intervention.”

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