GSK Health and productivity – Preventive health strategy to effectively target HR and OH resources

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a world leading research-based pharmaceutical company. Headquartered in the UK and with operations based in the US, the new company is one of the industry leaders, with an estimated seven per cent of the world’s pharmaceutical market and has 24000 UK employees across 21 locations and a very diverse work force. GSK proactively manages the health of their large employee population using a highly targeted and focused approach. It has gained an understanding the health status of its employees having collected health data from over 60% of its workforce using a health risk appraisal (remote health profile questionnaire). The health data has then been used for strategic decision-making, resource allocation and to measure change. GSK has effectively engaged employees in active health, resilience and work-life balance programmes to support health enhancing behaviour through remote and onsite programmes that are measurable and quantifiable. It also has been able to understand the future work patterns and needs of  GSK employees through a work life balance assessment so as to manage employee engagement and productivity

Approach

GSK collaborated with Mark Holt-Rogers to deploy a methodology that would engage as many of the 23,000 employees in a manageable, measurable way.  The methodology used was Population Health Management:  a large-scale process of measuring current health of each employee, then targeting interventions that are specific to their health needs with health programmes, and to track and measure the outcomes. The methodology engages individuals remotely (email or telephone), encouraging them to firstly be measured (via a validated health risk appraisal) and then to participate in a sequence of remote programmes targeted to each and every individual’s health status.

GSK’s approach also includes on-site health enhancement, resilience and work-life balance programmes, delivered through Employee Health Management and the wider HR community, and signposting community services.  Validated programmes on smoking cessation, weight management and physical activity are run with high take-up. All activities are tracked for participation – and outcomes.  The resultant reduction in overall numbers of health risks are measured. This is a programme of enhancing success, performance and productivity both in and out of work.

Client comments

“GSK operates in a competitive business, and has always gone the extra mile to recruit and retain the best people.  We wanted to find new ways to support employees so they could perform at their optimum. We were making a decision to not just address existing issues around physical health and wellbeing, but to go further and take proactive action on health, well-being and work-life balance.”  Sue Cruse, Employee Health Management, GSK

Wylfa Power Station – Health and Stress with the effect of reducing absence

Wylfa power station is part of BNFL the group. As with most power stations, Wylfa’s health provision consisted of a full time Occupational Health Nurse, supported by a company MD. Absence management has always been a strong point of the Personnel Department, with attendance records and management being one of the most effective in the UK. However, Wylfa wanted to deal with the underlying causes, not just monitor it. Wylfa wanted to learn if there was a correlation between people that are often absent and lifestyle, stress and overall wellbeing, and armed with this information become more proactive about treating the underlying causes. Relationships, organisational climate, recognition and workload problems were associated with those who were off work more. Also, inactivity, musculoskeletal problems, smoking and sleep were correlated with poor absence.

Mark Holt-Rogers worked with Wylfa over a 12 month rolling programme  and absence reduced.

“We’ve learned a great deal from the project. It has definitely helped me do my job better. It’s highlighted health and pressure issues in a way that people understand. It’s made them realise they need to look after themselves.” The key achievements have been:

  • Knowledge of peoples health and wellbeing allowed me to target resources where needed

  • Raised health awareness and morale

  • Everybody knows WELL

  • Less sickness absence relating to Cardiovascular issues

– Sue Hill, Occupational Health nurse

Meat Hygiene Service – Health and stress in an organisation going through change – absence and turnover key issues

 

Given limited resources MHS decided the most effective strategy was to understand and support their managers as key assets, and who were shouldering much of the responsibility throughout the organisational restructure.  MHS decided they needed to have evidence of what the underlying causes of work life balance and restructuring issues were before tailoring or developing their current work life initiatives.  MHS wanted to address staff turnover, absenteeism and low morale, but first needed evidence of the underlying issues. Using Businesshealth’s health and pressure assessment tools, With 86% completing the assessments, Businesshealth and Meat Hygiene Services were able to deliver an accurate analysis of the true pressures senior managers were under. 

Barriers overcome

Culture – through a culture of change, MHS were concerned about launching an employee Wellbeing scheme at this time. They thought people would not be interested. Mark Holt-Rogers managed the programme and ensured that the scheme was communicated as a personal benefit to the individual and also so that they can contribute to the “Moving ahead project”

TrustMHS wondered if people would be open and honest with their profiles and in their focus group workshops. This was overcome by MHS making quick small changes as a result of any recommendation. One large scale initiative was a two day “Moving ahead “ which was a major communication exercise and also gave people the opportunity to attend work life balance workshops. Home working – due to employees working remotely,

  1. Reduced absenteeism (self reported) – 17.7 days in 2001-2 to 8.4 days in 2002-3

  2. Improved morale – the percentage of people with morale levels low enough to be potential leavers has reduced from 19% in 2001-2, to 11% in 2002-3

  3. Risk management – managers are able to carry out risk assessments for stress

  4. Capacity to deliver – managers understand the relationship between health, stress, lifestyle and key performance indicators such as absence and staff turnover; therefore can increase the organisation’s capacity to deliver.

  5. Performance – healthy people who are less stressed, sleep well, have higher energy levels perform at higher levels. Managers needed to be resilient. The influence of health and wellbeing on performance over the last 3 months was reported to increase 27%

  6. Organisational data – as a large number of managers within an organisation were profiled for health and pressure, the organisation was able to utilise the data generated to monitor performance and morale.

  7. HSE guidelines – the programme enabled managers to understand HSE guidelines and through participation, the managers were themselves risk assessed

“We were concerned about morale and had an idea of the causes. The pilot has confirmed our thinking on a number of areas, but opened our eyes to others. The group report of our organisation enabled us to identify key areas and deploy resources in a cost effective manner. We are now aiming to involve all employees in this process.”

Steve Benn – Human Resources Manager