This month’s Case Study features Be Well, Royal Dutch Shell’s global health promotion/workplace wellness program for employees. Workplace wellness is a top priority for GBCHealth members: 70 percent of GBCHealth members surveyed recently indicated that “comprehensive wellness” was either “very important” or “important” to their organization. Similarly, a 2011 study conducted by the consulting firm Towers Watson found that 75 percent of survey respondents believe that employee health will be a top priority for their company.
Comprehensive workplace wellness programs typically focus on health promotion and disease prevention and management. Programs aim to reduce the risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases by promoting physical fitness, good nutrition and smoking cessation. Preventive care and screening for chronic diseases is often an element of such programs, as are mental health supports and work-life balance approaches.
Companies choose to implement workplace wellness programs for a variety of reasons, including commitment to employee well-being, reduction of health care costs, enhancement of company reputation, assistance in attracting top talent and a desire to reduce absenteeism and improve workforce productivity.
The Be Well program seeks to reduce the risk of chronic diseases by addressing risk factors and encouraging lifestyle adaptations. We hope this case study will help other companies engaged in workplace wellness efforts. Future case studies will showcase other members at the forefront of the movement to address employee health. We will also further explore this topic during a panel session at our annual Conference and Awards Dinner in May.
About the Program
Shell’s global health promotion program for employees, Be Well, aims to reduce the risk of chronic diseases by addressing risk factors and encouraging lifestyle adaptations. Shell recognizes that in order to reduce the incidence of chronic disease, a long-term commitment to changing lifestyle behaviors is required. Longevity, steady growth and adaptation are central to the Be Well philosophy, strategy and program design.
Employee participation in the Be Well program is on a voluntary basis. Participants have the opportunity to take a Personal Health Risk assessment and to take part in a variety of health events and interventions. Be Well offers interventions that focus on nutrition and diet, physical activity and smoking cessation, custom-tailored to the specific health needs of each country’s employee population. For a sample of Be Well interventions from participating countries, click here.
Be Well is being rolled-out over three years, with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measuring access to and active participation in the program. From 2009-2011, employee participation increased from 14,000 to 45,000. Be Well is collecting data to create a global biometric baseline which will be used to measure reductions in the program’s five risk factors – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, overweight or obese BMI and low intake of fruit and vegetables.
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Critical Success Factors
Leadership commitment: Visible senior leadership support for the program has been key to success at both a global and country level.
Country specific programs: The program’s global governance structure and KPIs provide a framework to underpin the delivery of quality interventions and program metrics, while also ensuring the country health teams have flexibility to design interventions that are relevant to the different cultures, lifestyles and health needs of employees in each country. This clear central structure combined with a country-based, employee-focused program design, has been key in ensuring Be Well’s success to date.
Employee involvement: In addition to participating in the program, employees are involved in building and delivering Be Well initiatives. This is facilitated differently in each country. In some countries employees take part in location-based Be Well Committees; in others they have the opportunity to develop and run their own sports clubs, or to train as peer educators or Be Well Champions.
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Develop strong, simple global governance structures and KPIs, and empower country teams to develop interventions to meet local employee needs.
Leverage partnerships. Health insurance providers, public health teams and local NGOs provide services, interventions and information which can be used to develop country level programs.
Expect different levels of engagement and participation in participating countries. This is influenced by factors such as differences in corporate and employee culture, the level of development of public health services and the availability of health information within each country.
Design country-specific incentives, engagement and promotion vehicles into the program, to deliver a lively culture of health within each country and to encourage long term employee participation in interventions.
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Join GBCHealth for Lost in Translation: Defining and Delivering Wellness in the Global Workplace at the GBCHealth conference in May. Senior experts behind best-in-class global wellness programs, including Royal Dutch Shell's Rob Donnelly, will share their insights on the issues that every health director is facing: How do companies define “wellness” in the absence of global standards? How do effective global programs translate from corporate headquarters to successful local applications, in vastly different markets? Read more
CDC Healthier Worksite Initiative The CDC offers toolkits for workforce health promotion. Read more