Marks & Spencers
M&S decided to introduce a fast track policy for physical therapy for those employees affected by musculoskeletal health issues, recognising that the NHS process was overburdened. A three-month trial demonstrated an 8% reduction in employee sickness absence for musculoskeletal issues. Other benefits cited were improved morale and improved customer service.
Rather than just focus on the sick, companies are now beginning to focus on the prevention of absence by targeting all employees in a targeted health programme. This can work in a small or large company as the following examples show.
Scotia employed 17 staff. It focussed on introducing a number of small initiatives which added up to a powerful well-being package. This included:
- Displaying wellbeing information throughout the company.
- Regular wellbeing topic meetings.
- Allowing employees to attend external wellbeing courses free of charge.
- No smoking and healthy eating initiatives - e.g. a juicer and full kitchen facilities.
- Access to health services that Scotia provided to clients.
It was reported that profits were up and that they had no retention problems. They felt that this was to do with their core values of treating staff and clients the same.
The Prudential is a great example of a large organisation focusing on not just providing healthy living opportunities, but also focusing on improving the employee take up of those benefits. It covered far more areas than just health insurance or subsidised gym membership and involved other topics such as nutrition, stress management, and sickness prevention. Their ‘Feeling Good’ approach underpinned their view that the health of the workforce was ‘potentially the biggest untapped source of performance and competitive advantage’. 80% of the staff registered for the health programme which resulted in an 11% reduction in short-term absence and turnover down by 3%. An amazing outcome!
(CIPD Report ‘What’s Happening with Wellbeing at Work’? 2006)