Promoting Global Workplace Health: 13 Companies that Get It

  • Oct 11, 2012

Workplace Health and Wellness StudyNew Study on Global Health & Wellness

According to a new report, for workplace health promotion and wellness programs to succeed globally, senior management must be convinced that these programs provide value to the business, such as boosting productivity or improving safety, in all regions of the world. Although such programs  are rapidly growing worldwide, lack of employee trust and buy-in are among the greatest potential impediments to global success.

Released today, the new report is from Buck Consultants,  which partnered with International Health Consulting (IHC) to complete the research with support from Integrated Health, a Pfizer Solution. It delves into some of the most successful multinational workplace health promotion programs, profiling 13 large multinational employers, such as Intel, Novartis and Chevron, collectively representing over one million employees.

“Wellness programs cannot survive in today’s economy without a strong linkage to business goals, and high levels of employee participation and engagement,” said Barry Hall, principal, Buck Consultants. “Although many organizations have achieved some success with single-country programs in the United States or elsewhere, the challenges of globalizing these programs are significant, due to differing cultures, attitudes, regulations and business practices around the world.”

The new report, “Winning Strategies in Global Workplace Health Promotion: A study of leading organizations,”  identifies eight critical success factors for organizations implementing global health promotion, based on the major commonalities uncovered among the 13 participating companies, including eight commonalities required to achieve success in global health promotion.

They recommend employers address each of these themes within their global health promotion strategy.
1. Establish a shared global value proposition, in alignment with key business goals. Ensure metrics are globally consistent and locally relevant.

2. Articulate a value proposition that has sufficient emphasis on health and well-being factors, in addition to the financial business case.

3. Spend adequate time and effort explaining to employees the reasons, goals and benefits for providing a health promotion program.

4. Drive a global strategy through a central or corporate function that provides guidance and technical support to local sites and business units.

5. Engage local resources for cultural adaptation and implementation. Actively utilize local health professionals to help drive strategies regionally and function as a link between corporate and local sites and business units.

6. Provide global access to a core suite of health promotion programs and policies.

7. Establish a healthy workplace index and/or menu of services toward which all sites should strive, and eventually be held accountable.

8. Analyze and address the psychosocial working environment, as well as how work is organized, in order to improve mental health and well-being of employees. Mental health and well-being is one of the most significant health promotion challenges of the 21st century.

“The research also revealed that each of the organizations profiled had senior-level support that served as a strong organizational driver in their health promotion strategies,” said Wolf Kirsten, president, IHC. To illustrate this point, the report highlights the commitment of several of the companies’ senior executives who strive to lead by example, such as the Novo Nordisk CEO who participates in an annual 105-mile bike ride with a group of 20 employees selected by lottery each year.

Additional research in the report looks at regional and cultural challenges, employee communication strategies, the use of technology in wellness, the influence of corporate culture, motivating and measuring employee participation, tracking global program metrics and scorecards, and emerging areas of focus in global health promotion.

The full report is available to the media at no cost by contacting Ed Gadowski atEdward.Gadowski@buckconsultants.com. It is available to other interested parties for $200 from Buck’s Global Survey Resources, and can be ordered online at http://www.bucksurveys.com.  In addition, results from Buck’s Fifth Edition Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies are expected in Fall 2012.

Here’s to a healthier workforce.