Is the international business community a key to better global health?
The answer is yes, judging by the overwhelming response by companies
vying for recognition at the inaugural Global
Healthy Workplace Awards and Summit to be held in London April
10-12. The search for the healthiest workplaces in the world is
sponsored by the Cigna
Foundation and hosted by the Global Knowledge Exchange Network
(GKEN) together with International Health Consulting and i-genius, whose
common goal is to promote awareness of emerging better practices in
health promotion and wellness in the workplace.
Global corporate giants together with small and mid-sized companies from
28 countries submitted workplace programs for consideration among the
world’s healthiest workplaces. The submissions were reviewed by an
international panel of public health experts from five continents who
judged the workplace programs – for the first time – through the lens of
the World Health Organization (WHO)
Healthy Workplace Model for Action. The WHO has identified the
international business community as a vital component of developing and
maintaining healthy communities around the world. Employers heeded the
call and have developed far-reaching programs to help their employees
and the communities they serve maintain good health.
“All industrialized nations are faced with the same workplace health
challenges: escalating health care costs, aging populations, a dramatic
rise in chronic disease, public expectations and limited resources to
meet those expectations,” said David
Guilmette, President of Cigna's Global Employer Segment. “Each
business – and each nation – is working to constructively tackle these
challenges, but imagine the power of collaborating to address these
challenges together. That’s the reason we’re all coming together in
London for the Global Healthy Workplace Awards and Summit.”
Dame Carol Black, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, and Expert
Adviser on Health and Work to the Department of Health, England, will
serve as keynote speaker for the Summit, joined by distinguished
speakers including Evelyn Kortum, Technical Officer of Occupational
Health for the WHO. The Summit has attracted more than 100 employers of
all sizes, health system leaders, universities, NGOs, world-renowned
and speakers – along with six companies representing award finalists
in three categories. Here are the finalists.
Johnson & Johnson first set health goals 30 years ago and
has continuously improved its employee culture of health to reduce the
risk of chronic disease, promote well-being, and sustain employee good
health through 12 programs spanning becoming tobacco-free, HIV policy,
employee assistance, physical activity, stress management, cancer
awareness, healthy eating, return-to-work, travel health and more.
J&J's average annual per employee savings was $565 in 2009, producing
a return on investment equal to a range of $1.88-$3.92 saved for every
dollar spent on the program.
Alexandra Health Pte. Ltd of Singapore implemented a workplace
health strategy built on its “5 Pillars of Health” culture and
designed to keep Singaporeans healthy and out of the hospital.
Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises
Technica International of Lebanon, a family business of 140
employees, incorporated all of its health, safety and environment
initiatives under its Employee Satisfaction Program. Technica has
shared its expertise with 32 other companies in Lebanon.
Toyal America, a self-insured company, launched the “Changes
that Last a Lifetime” program in 2009 to improve employee health and
reduce health care costs. Toyal reversed a multi-year trend of
increased health insurance premiums and lowered its workers
compensation experience through multiple safety improvements.
American Express launched its Healthy Living program in 2009 in
the United States and now offers it to employees and dependents in 13
countries, with the United States, India, UK, Mexico and Singapore
being the mature markets. The company offers global innovation grants,
which includes, in the UK, installing exercise bikes in a gym that
generate electricity to power mobile phones.
Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands and UK created the Global
Resilience Program in 2011, which goes beyond existing stress
management programs into positive psychology and personal development.
The in-house program is run by 1,132 trained facilitators and is being
fully integrated into leadership training and managers’ annual goal
setting with individual Shell employees.
The award finalists will present their programs amid a two-day Summit
agenda packed with information on emerging and better practices for
promoting workplace health, from addressing the aging employee
population to protecting workers’ mental health and fighting chronic
disease among the world’s workforce. The award winners will be selected
at the Summit and announced at the closing lunch on April 12.
“Together, we’re all searching for the healthiest workplaces in the
world, and this event is an important step in helping us learn what it
takes to create a healthy workplace and how other organizations can do
the same,” said Jon
Comola, executive director of GKEN. “Through sustained global
communications to large, medium and small businesses, we will enable
organizations around the globe to replicate these better workplace
practices. The Summit and follow up communication program will encourage
employers to further invest in the health of their employees and
champion the mantra, ‘Good Health is Good Business!’” Comola said.
For more information, go to www.globalhealthyworkplace.com
About the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation is a private foundation funded by contributions
from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna
Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing
the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their
communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna
employees live and work.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company
dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense
of security. All products and services are provided exclusively through
operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut
General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company,
Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company
of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of
health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy
and vision care benefits, and other related products including group
disability, life, and accident coverage. Cigna has sales capability in
30 countries and jurisdictions, with approximately 75 million customer
relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®,
including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.