How to ensure health screening at work reaches all staff

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Employers need to ensure wellbeing programmes and health screening at work are relevant to all employees, argues Lee Gruskin. The solution for Capita was a health and body “MOT”, he explains.

Research has shown that employees typically spend an average of 11 minutes each year in making choices about their flexible benefits options. The danger is that the non-financial benefits, perhaps the less obvious and those that seem more “worthy”, get forgotten in the rush to get the admin completed.

At Capita, the business process management and outsourcing solutions organisation, the sheer diversity of employees, in terms of roles and geographical locations around the UK, creates challenges for providing benefits.

Seventy per cent of staff come from acquisitions and outsourcing, meaning an ongoing stream of new faces.

There are people working in a huge variety of roles, from construction, facilities management and nursing, to call centres, consultancy and senior business management. It means a very broad spectrum of expectations and locations for delivery.

First of all, Capita wanted to ensure its people were more aware of the health and wellbeing issues and opportunities involved, and the importance of early detection of conditions. The company wanted to motivate more staff to select a health screen as part of their flexible benefits option than had done in previous years.

A particular challenge was the need to ensure the screening offering would appeal to the full range of Capita employees – those looking for a lower-cost option as well as staff expecting a premium service.

Health screening at work

The main objectives of the health and body “MOT” engagement campaign were: to provide a range of screening options suited to different employee groups (age, gender, family background); offer easy access to screening locations across the UK; deliver enhanced communications, levels of awareness and understanding; and ensure the full context of a health screen was understood in terms of enhanced convenience, locations and value for money over previous options.

We needed a partner able to deliver high-quality health screening at work for anyone, at any level of earnings, and at many locations across the UK – something that many traditional providers of screening weren’t able to do. Bluecrest Wellness was selected to replace an existing provider, and to put in place a radically different solution.

The firm’s mission fitted with our own ethos – making high-quality and comprehensive health screening a viable option for all employees, not just a perk for the few, making this a truly whole workforce offering. The screenings are provided at 1,700 locations around the UK. Bluecrest had the flexibility and access to the latest tests and technology, as well as being able to get directly involved with promoting the service, be on the ground meeting people and talking them through the offerings.

The health and body MOT campaign included roadshow events at key locations, giving employees the opportunity to take part in mini-checks and challenges. This was backed up by regular email communications, a campaign website, competitions and more traditional, paper-based information sources in offices.

Rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach, Capita staff are given a range of packages to suit age and gender for their MOT, access to a free, 24/7 private GP helpline, and detailed, jargon-free health reports, which are available online and can synchronise with health apps.

The costs of “on the ground” communications over online has meant many health-related benefits providers – for example, private medical insurers – have been pulling back from delivering roadshows and events to the organisation. But a key part of the success of the campaign was the openness and honesty of the roadshows. In the healthcare sector there really needs to be the personal contact – it can’t just be done online. It is important to show people how the screenings work, which would be the most relevant to them as individuals, and explain the value.

There has been a sharp increase in engagement. As a result of the four-week health promotion and roadshow events, 882 Capita employees signed up to receive the ongoing communications and reminders around health and wellbeing – an increase in engagement among employees of more than 200%.

More employees than ever before have been signing up for the health screening benefit as an option – a 17% increase in uptake (in the previous year, 382 employees selected a health screening benefit, which has immediately risen to 446).

The scheme has reached new groups of employees who had not considered the option before.

The lower costs involved and the number of locations for screening mean many more employees have seen the opportunity to take advantage of private healthcare. In some offices there had been low levels of uptake, and here the rise was 30-50%.

The work has been important to the business in terms of health awareness and better management of any health risks that could have a detrimental effect on the organisation. Equally, it has been an important employee engagement tool. We can offer a service that they cannot get from the NHS, or that some employee groups would not normally be able to afford.

While take-up has improved dramatically, and we are seeing the impact of peer recommendation as more people try the offering, the aim of the organisation is to keep the same focus and build engagement to high and sustained levels over the coming years.

Lee Gruskin is principal consultant (Health Management) at Capita.

2 Responses to How to ensure health screening at work reaches all staff

  1. Avatar
    Damien Cominos 14 Jul 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    FAO: Lee Gruskin

    Dear Lee,
    I think you really need to ask whether the health assessments you refer to in this article are carried out by qualified and registered healthcare professionals. As a qualified and registered healthcare professional myself I believe I can speak with some authority – it’s not just a case of somebody performing a test – so much background knowledge is needed – why is the test carried out? What are we looking for? What are the risk factors of the particular health issues we are testing for? How can we spot a false result? And, so many more. It is important to say if things are missed health outcomes can be disastrous.

  2. Avatar
    Paul D'Arcy 8 Aug 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    Health improvement initiatives generally reach those with reasonably healthy lifetyles, good work and easy access to these screening benefits. I would be interested to know the demographics of those engaging with this versus the demographic of the workforce and whether efforts were made to target health inequalities across the workforce rather than using generalised measures of uptake or engagement as indicators of success.

    If longitudinal data on health gains are measured it would be great to see an update in the future

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