Aon Health Solutions Award for Managing Health at Work

This award recognises organisations that have adopted a proactive approach
to improving the health of employees. The judge looked for a clear explanation
of what action has been taken, who was involved, how and why. Entrants
demonstrated a range of positive outcomes for their organisation, including
reduced absenteeism, improved morale and changes in workplace culture

Category Judge

Dr Noel McElearney is a consultant occupational physician with a long track
record in blue-chip organisations. He has worked for Guinness, British Airways,
the Wellcome Foundation and Marks & Spencer.

He was appointed director of group health, safety and environment at
Scottish and Newcastle in 1999, holds fellowships of the Faculties of
Occupational Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in London and Dublin,
and has an MA in occupational health.

He is a past president of the Society of Occupational Medicine and is
chairman of its education panel.

West Bromwich Building Society

The team

No. in People Support team 9, 
including payroll. Staff responsible for 750

Julie Malpass, People support officer
Matthew Lutz, Recruitment officer
Jacqui Cunning, People support manager
Kelly BuncePeople, Support assistant
Tracey Hinton, Payroll officer
Clare Riley, Assistant people support officer
Bina Desai, Senior people support assistant
Amanda Esprey, People support adviser
Paul Turner, General manager, People Division
Nancy Waite, Compensation and benefits analyst

People support division

About the company

West Bromwich Building Society was formed 154 years ago, making
it one of the UK’s oldest building societies. It employs 750 staff and has 49
branches, mainly in the West Midlands. It is the ninth largest building society
with assets of around £4bn

The challenge

To raise health awareness among employees, and reduce sickness
absence levels at the same time

What the company did

– Developed health awareness programme to improve existing
healthcare benefit provision

– Introduced new benefits through local providers, reducing
costs and helping to build links with local communities

– Developed the project in-house for the first two years,
saving on consultant costs

– Developed the software needed for the surveys

Benefits and achievements

– Sickness absence reduced from more than six days a year to less than four

– Introduced gym membership, flu vaccinations, alternative
therapist, health assessments, employee assistance programme, occupational
health service

– Employee satisfaction increased

– Improved employee morale

– Improved People Support team’s profile within the business

– The programme is regularly communicated to employees via a variety
of media, including the intranet, e-mails, benefits statements and newsletters

Dr McElearney says:
"Recently voted69th in The Sunday Times’ Top 100 Best Companies to Work
For list, the West Bromwich Building Society presents thecase for doing more of
what you do well. If you could bottle enthusiasm, it could sell this as well.
This case study provides quality evidence that aligning health benefits to the
needs of your employees brings a rewarding return on your investment."

Standard life healthcare

The team

No. in HR team 14

Staff responsible for 730

Vince Mewett, Head of human resources
Audrey Russell, Facilities administrator
Julia Wellard, HR consultant
Sarah Smithers, HR administrator
Chengetai Bobo, Personnel officer
Kim Beaven, Recruitment officer
Ian McClelland, Health and safety adviser

SLH Human Resources

About the company

Standard Life Healthcare is the UK’s fourth- largest private medical
insurance company

The challenge

To increase market share from 6 per cent to 15 per cent over five years
through improved staff performance

What the company did

– Introduced initiatives to improve staff engagement, including coffee
mornings, learning resource centres and a culture change programme

– Implemented Vielife Online to provide a benchmark of overall health and

– Actioned the results of the initial health and well-being assessment –
initiatives included: on-site health fairs, seminars on nutrition, free fruit
days and fibre bar days, and heavily subsidised back, shoulder and head

Benefits and achievements

– New business up by 26 per cent

– Customer retention up by 2.2 per cent

– Staff turnover cut by more than 60 per cent since launch of focus on
health and well-being,

– Vielife Online, first adopted internally by HR, has been integrated into
the Standard Life Healthcare core private medical insurance product offered to
new and existing clients

– Improved employee nutrition by more than 35 per cent

– Staff have started to introduce their own well-being-based initiatives
including on-site fitness classes and a slimming club

Dr McElearney says: "Sometimes the needs of others are also your needs,
and likewise with solutions. Standard Life Healthcare tried a solution and
liked it so much, it went into partnership with the supplier, and now markets
this to its own customers. This case study shows the benefits of not being
afraid to try new ideas. "

Severn Trent Water

The team

No. in HR safety team 12

Staff responsible for 4,500

Neil Budworth, Principal safety
Jane Carter, Alyson Thomas and Gill Glenny Safety advisers
Clare Read, Senior safety adviser
Deborah James and Jane FordSenior administrators
Anthony Haynes, Safety adviser
Jane McFarland, Principal safety adviser
Paul Traynor, Head of health and safety
John Hollis, Safety adviser

Health and Safety Team

About the company

Severn Trent Water provides water and sewerage services to 8
million customers in the Midlands, operating more than 1,000 sewage and 20
water treatment works

The challenge

To reduce the cost of manual handling injuries and better manage
associated risks.

What the company did

– Researched and developed a seven-step approach to managing
manual handling: assessment of the activity; medical assessment; staff
training; introduction of a monitoring/coaching and data gathering
system; fast-track referral system; return-to- work plans and dealing with
design issues

– Developed a multi-team approach involving HR, health and
safety, networks team and external experts

– Developed a solution for hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS),
including partnership with Private Health Care to develop a HAVS clinic

Benefits and achievements

– Initiatives in line with the organisation’s moral values of

– Savings of £8,200 based on days lost in one county over a six-month

– Improved quality of life for staff using vibrating equipment,
cut insurance claims costs

Dr McElearney says: "How
do you supervise the health and safety of so many remote workers? The
innovative answers that Severn Trent Water has developed relate to managing
risk in the field: by empowering its employees with a new approach to manual
handling and by introducing field-based screening for HAVS. STW faces these two
interventions in quite different ways. One releases expert knowledge from the
job, the other applies expert knowledge to the job."

Aon Health Solutions is the UK’s
leading provider of cohesive employee risk services. Our propositions include
occupational health services, general practice, health assessments,
physiotherapy, private medical insurance consulting, employee risk consulting
and organisational measurement solutions. We help our clients reduce the cost
of employee risk by helping to ensure their workforce is healthy and productive

To book your table at the HR event of the year go to or
phone Jacqui Winn on 020 8652 3304

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