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Example Cases

Valuable lessons can be learned from the following organisations:

Large Unnamed Organisation, United States
Wellness programme brings significant results

A large organisation in the United States put in place a comprehensive integrated wellness programme and found that employees often had multiple health conditions. The programme included a health risk assessment, health coaching and healthy living programs, 24-hour nurse triage, demand management support, and disease management. A culture of health was built throughout the organisation, using frequent health-orientated communications supported by senior management. After three years (2003 to 2005), significant results were achieved. Figure 3, see below, shows the percentage of employees that reduced their health risks over this period in the various categories listed:












Kaiser Permanente, Canada
Wellness programme leads to healthier staff


Kaiser Permanente used a behavioural-intervention programme, delivered by e-mail, to significantly improve employee diet and physical activity. This was achieved by helping staff to move more and make healthier food choices. During a 16-week trial, e-mails were sent to 351 employees (the intervention group) suggesting small, practical, individually tailored goals, including eating fruit for a snack or walking for ten minutes at lunchtime. A control group of 436 was sent limited information. At the conclusion of the trial, the intervention group was more physically active, eating more fruit and vegetables, and reducing its intake of unhealthy fats, compared to the control group. Workers in the intervention group, who were not previously regularly active, increased their participation in moderate-intensity physical activities by almost one hour per week; they also decreased their sedentary activities by two hours per week. These changes were still in place four months after the trial had ended. [14]

Bayer Canada
Wellness programme seeks to improve productivity

By focusing on healthy living, Bayer Canada believed it could help staff to reduce or mitigate health risks. Through a focus on broader wellness issues, Bayer sought to help its employees to become more productive. Programmes and initiatives concentrated on balancing a healthy mental and physical lifestyle. The physical dimension included fitness and nutrition. A free on-site fitness centre was available with access to personal trainers and sessions on healthy eating. Salespeople working in the field were given health subsidies to join a health club or Weight Watchers. Healthy food options were subsidised in the company’s cafeteria. The social dimension included group activities, flexible working hours and a quiet room for employees. A “life at work” committee sent communications to employees and used a page on the company intranet, which used employee feedback to improve programme offerings. [15]

Lincoln Industries, United States
Wellness programme reduces health care costs

Lincoln Industries’ wellness programmes included the following components:

  • Leadership: the Lincoln Industries management team set a good example by developing wellness in themselves.
  • Policy and practices: wellness objectives were tied to overall performance and pay.
  • Program offerings included: tobacco cessation training, weight watchers at work, a Words of Wellness newsletter, health education seminars, and gym activity/exercise equipment reimbursement. Wellness for the whole person was also encouraged.
  • Workplace safety was intentionally integrated into wellness programmes as part of Lincoln Industries’ three-year wellness strategy.
  • Metrics/deliverables/ROI: blood pressure, flexibility, body weight, percentage of body fat, tobacco use, and wellness goals/objectives were reviewed monthly.

As a result Lincoln Industries’ health care costs were between 30-50 per cent below comparative organisations, saving over $1 million per annum. Workers’ compensation medical costs in 2003 were $512,234 compared with $43,000 in 2009. [16]

Parcelforce, United Kingdom
Wellness programme improves bottom line

Parcelforce needed to compete more effectively; it chose to do so by improving quality and the health of its employees for improved returns. This had a dramatic effect on the organisation’s bottom line. When Parcelforce introduced on-site screening clinics, physical and lifestyle assessments, and a health education programme that covered nutrition and the effects of stress and smoking, sickness absence was reduced by 30 per cent; this saved 55,000 days and £5 million. The organisation also reported a 12.5 per cent increase in productivity, along with a 50 per cent improvement in customer services. [17]

Flight Centre, New Zealand
Wellness programme reduces staff turnover

Flight Centre’s award-winning wellness programme contributed to a 12 per cent reduction in staff turnover, creating significant savings for the organisation. Flight Centre believed that its employees should leave the organisation better off than when they joined, and put the emphasis on its staff’s physical and emotional well-being. The Flight Centre programme started with a lifestyle consultation; it was then up to the participants to work on whatever they desired, including diet, exercise, team challenges, weight loss, and stopping smoking. If people wanted to run their first half marathon or learn to swim, they were supported. A programme leader was charged with adapting the programme to meet local needs and to implement what was needed. Competitions were held amongst 300 Flight Centres worldwide, with New Zealand being in the top three. Exercise and healthier living helped Flight Centre staff to cope with the higher levels of stress associated with their jobs. [18]


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