Occupational Health Awards 2008: Award for Health Promotion and Wellbeing

Shortlisted teams

DB Apparel UK

About the organisation: The company is responsible for major bra brands including Playtex. There have been major changes including the offshoring of manufacturing and a workforce cut from 2,000 to 300 in the UK over the past decade.

The challenge: After a period of downsizing, the company needed to raise morale and tackle employee uncertainty. Data showed that 49% of staff were not exercising, and diet was also a concern.

What the organisation did: With the help of external consultants the company developed the Beyond the Moon programme, including a range of fitness classes and educational nutrition and wellbeing workshops. After a year, 84% of staff had participated in the scheme, and the Woking office saw a 60% reduction in cholesterol and blood pressure.

Judge’s comment: “The company is famous for the annual Playtex Moon Walk and introduced a health and wellbeing programme – Beyond the Moon. Working with external partners, managers developed an exceptional programme with high participation and evidence of positive behaviour change and measurable results.”

Gwent Police

About the organisation: The force employs 1,500 officers and 1,000 support staff across 70 sites.

The challenge: Four years ago, Gwent Police had one of the worst sickness absence levels in England and Wales, with 13.7 days lost per officer a year.

What the organisation did: A new HR strategy and relaunched OH service led to the introduction of a branded health campaign, Corporate Health, and an internal website to promote health. A wellness survey has also been introduced, along with a wide range of activities. It subsequently received the Welsh Assembly Government’s Corporate Health Standard Gold Award.

Judge’s comment: “Gwent Police identified low morale and high sickness absence as a major issue. Improving wellbeing became part of the solution – the Corporate Health programme. The force relaunched the OH service and refocused on improving health and wellbeing. They used excellent communication and rebranding to engage all staff. They have demonstrated the programme’s effectiveness.”

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)

About the organisation: HIE is responsible for economic development across half of Scotland and employs 400 people in diverse and sometimes remote locations.

The challenge: The enterprise needed to tackle insecurity and stress caused by changes to structure and services.

What the organisation did: After a restructure which made many staff feel uncertain, a holistic approach was introduced to involve staff in wellbeing activities. An OH service was introduced in 2005 and promoted through health events. The organisation overcame initial resistance to achieve survey results showing that 60% of staff are satisfied with their work-life balance, and 75% have made changes to manage the pressure of work.

Judge’s comment: “Through its hard work the HIE has met the challenge and reached out and engaged staff across the whole organisation. Its innovative and effective programmes using teamwork and an approach that is “owned by staff” has successfully made health and wellbeing a visible part of the organisational culture.”

The judge: Dr Les Smith MBChB MRCGP MFOM MIOSH MISMA CAvMed, managing director, Health and Wellbeing UK

Dr Les Smith has worked in occupational health for more than 20 years. He is a member of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine and the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, and is a former GP. Previous positions include chief medical officer to Scottish Power Group, medical adviser to EonUk (Powergen), and head of employee health services for Pfizer. He is an OH tutor at Manchester University and lectures at Kent, Birmingham and Surrey Universities.

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