Global Update on Health Promotion – May 2015

Who Will Win the 2015 Global Healthy Workplace Award?

This year’s applications for the Global Healthy Workplace Awards were the strongest yet. Especially encouraging was the fact that numerous enterprises reapplied this year with stronger programs compared to previous years. Applications came from a variety of sectors such as oil, shipping, mining, service, pharma, health care, representing more than 20 countries (with all continents represented), many applicants representing leading enterprises in their given country. While the overall quality of featured programs has increased many enterprises are struggling to cover all components and criteria requested in the application. In particular, addressing the psychosocial work environment with programs and policies is often misunderstood or shied away from. In light of the growing number of countries legally requiring employers to assess psychosocial factors and intervene where there are gaps (most recently in Chile) the need for a heightened focus on this area exists.

This year’s six finalists will bring an accomplished mix of enterprises to the Global Summit in Florianopolis. The multinational enterprise category will be lead by GlaxoSmithKline from the UK and Chevron from the US, both major global corporations with a long history of promoting the health of their employees. GSK has recently introduced a global leadership expectation to release energy, which directs all leaders to accomplish their objectives in a way that fosters healthy, energizing, and inclusive ways of working that do not compromise well being. Chevron has excelled at integrating their occupational health & safety programs with the health and wellness initiatives representing a total worker health approach.

The two large enterprises which qualified for the finalists stage are Unilever Brasil and Vanderbilt University in the US. Unilever Brasil is making strides implementing the global Unilever strategy and has achieved impressive results with regard to high participation, decrease in health risks and a positive return-on-investment (ROI). Vanderbilt University’s Health & Wellness program is at the cutting edge as it is currently working to pilot telemedicine modalities to reach their population in extended locations. Furthermore, behavior change technologies are being tested as a new form to deliver health promotion programs including the use of gamification.

Last but not least two highly interesting case studies round out the finalist group with Lan Spar Bank from Denmark and Naya Jeevan from Pakistan in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) category. Both illustrate the potential advantages of SMEs in creating healthy workplaces: strong active leadership support and direct employee involvement. Lan Spar Bank places high emphasis on the involvement of their line managers, e.g. all line managers are certified coaches. Naya Jeevan is unique in terms of integration their employee health and wellness program with they mission of providing low-income families in Pakistan with affordable access to quality healthcare through insurance. This had led to the replication of the health & wellness program by 112 other organizations.

As you can see, the five distinguished judges will have a hard time picking a winner on May 19. We encourage you to come to Florianopolis and find out!

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