NEW YORK, Oct. 11, 2012 – 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, A Xerox Company (NYSE: XRX), 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,” complements the trends identified in Buck’s Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies to uncover proven strategies that can benefit companies seeking to globalize workplace wellness programs
The report identifies eight critical success factors for organizations implementing global health promotion, based on the major commonalities uncovered among the 13 participating companies, including:
• Focus on value: Articulate a value proposition that has sufficient emphasis on health and well-being factors, in addition to the financial business case. A successful global health strategy recognizes that employee health and wellbeing is a desirable corporate asset – one that impacts everything from recruitment and retention to engagement and employee productivity.
For example, Intel has correlated worker productivity with health metrics such as weight and blood pressure. As a result, their employee health and wellness programs are increasingly designed to focus on addressing these health factors.
• Communicate goals and benefits: Spend adequate time and effort explaining to employees the reasons, goals and benefits for providing a health promotion program. Recognize that not every employee accepts the notion that their employer should be concerned about or involved in their personal health and lifestyle, especially in countries where health benefits are provided by the State.
For example, Novartis avoids references to diseases, and instead focuses on positive health behaviors such as exercise, diet, and avoiding tobacco. They believe that this “de-medicalized” approach is more readily accepted by employees, because they are less likely to feel that the company is prying into their personal health data.
• Leverage personal connections: Engage local resources for cultural adaptation and implementation. Success requires a balance between global strategy and local autonomy. Programs managed by local staff with personal connections will outperform programs that are activated through central corporate offices.
For example, Chevron has “cardio champions” in West Africa – union or general employees who function as ambassadors for the company’s wellness programs by educating their co-workers and encouraging them to participate.
“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 at Edward.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.
About the Research Partners
Buck Consultants, A Xerox Company, is a leader in human resource and benefits consulting with more than 1,500 professionals worldwide. Founded in 1916 to advise clients in establishing and funding some of the nation’s first public and private retirement programs, Buck is an innovator in the areas of retirement benefits, health and welfare programs, talent and human resources solutions, compensation, and employee communication. News and other information about Buck Consultants are available at http://www.buckconsultants.com.
With sales approaching $23 billion, Xerox (NYSE: XRX) is the world’s leading enterprise for business process and document management. Its technology, expertise and services enable workplaces – from small businesses to large global enterprises – to simplify the way work gets done so they operate more effectively and focus more on what matters most: their real business. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., Xerox offers business process outsourcing and IT outsourcing services, including data processing, healthcare solutions, HR benefits management, finance support, transportation solutions, and customer relationship management services for commercial and government organizations worldwide. The company also provides extensive leading-edge document technology, services, software and genuine Xerox supplies for graphic communication and office printing environments of any size. The 140,000 people of Xerox serve clients in more than 160 countries. For more information, visit http://www.xerox.com, http://news.xerox.com or http://www.realbusiness.com. For investor information, visit http://www.xerox.com/investor.
Wolf Kirsten International Health Consulting (IHC) is an independent consultancy with locations in central Europe and the United States that helps organizations with the development, implementation and evaluation of workplace health promotion programs, specializing in global strategies and culturally-adapted programming for multi-national companies.
Integrated Health, a Pfizer Solution, is focused on improving patient health and reducing wasted costs for payers, employers and healthcare providers. Integrated Health builds on Pfizer’s legacy of health system innovation to deliver new customized prevention and disease solutions, patient engagement and behavior modification programs and real world analytics and outcomes measurement offerings to improve global health through integrated care.
Ed Gadowski, Buck Consultants, A Xerox Company, +1-201-838-7262, Edward.Gadowski@buckconsultants.com
Nicole Pavlas, Text 100 for Buck Consultants, +1-585-697-2620, firstname.lastname@example.org
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