Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been named Britain’s Healthiest Company and recognised as having Britain’s Healthiest Workforce which following the UK’s largest wellness survey, whose findings were validated by a research team at the University of Cambridge.
The Healthiest Company award recognised the healthiest workplace and employees overall, whilst the Healthiest Workforce award considered factors such as such as environment, employee engagement and participation, and company culture. Johnson & Johnson’s entry covered all three of its business sectors based in the Thames Valley area.
The awards, which are now in their third year, are a joint initiative between VitalityHealth, Mercer and the Sunday Telegraph, to find and celebrate UK organisations demonstrating best practice and innovative approaches to looking after the health and wellbeing of their employees.
To find the healthiest company, employees of the participating organisations took part in a survey that looked at a range lifestyle, behavioural, environmental and clinical risk factors such as diet, exercise, smoking, stress, cholesterol and blood pressure.
To find the healthiest workforce the initiative looked at factors such as environment, employee engagement and participation, and company culture.
The results, together with the corporate policies, practices and facilities each company has in place, were then used to evaluate the effectiveness of workplace wellness programmes and the health of the employees. The findings were validated by a research team at the University of Cambridge.
Johnson & Johnson has developed a company-wide health and wellbeing strategy, including a number of programmes and practices to help its people feel as healthy good as possible during work and at home.
These include encouraging employees to measure and monitor their current health status and lifestyle practices. The ‘Make It Count’ programme empowers people to manage, monitor and understand their blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol. The ‘Energy for Performance in Life’ programme encourages employees to learn how to manage their energy levels efficiently to tackle challenges in their work and personal life.
In addition, Johnson & Johnson offers employees in the UK a range of policies and benefits including: private health care; flexible working; ergonomic workstations; the option to buy up to five extra days of annual leave; on-site fitness centres; and the provision of free fresh fruit and filtered water.
Johnson & Johnson recognises that there are many other ways to support the wellbeing, health, energy levels and sense of work-life balance of its people. These have all been captured in the company’s ‘Little Book of Wellness’ which is distributed to all UK employees across the three sites.
Alison Yates, HR Director for the medical devices sector commented: “We are extremely proud to be named Britain’s Healthiest Company and Workforce. As a healthcare organisation we aim to advance the health and wellbeing of people across the world, and focusing on the health and wellbeing of our employees is a priority. Over the past few years we have worked hard to ensure that a range of benchmark programmes, employee benefits, and facilities are available for our employees in the UK, and to be recognised for these efforts demonstrates that we are making tremendous progress.”
Each company that participates in Britain’s Healthiest Company receives a detailed report, as well as unique benchmarking information, that can be used to inform future HR and People strategies.
Angela Hamlin, HR Director for the pharmaceutical sector commented: “Our work doesn’t stop here. We will build on the success of these awards and use the information from this survey to guide us as we continue to support our people and their families to live longer, healthier and happier lives”.
Johnson & Johnson claims to be the largest single investor in life sciences in the UK, supporting more than 17,000 jobs either directly or indirectly. As an industry leader in health & wellness, their ambition is to have the healthiest workforce in the world. It believes that a happy and healthy workforce will help achieve its mission to help people all over the world live longer, healthier, happier lives.
For the award of Britain’s Healthiest Company 2015, participants included 112 companies and data from 32,500 employees (up from 38 companies and 9,500 in 2013)
According to Dame Carol Black, chair of the BHC advisory group, the increase in participating companies is ‘great news’ because it shows that a growing number of companies in the UK are taking the health and wellbeing of their staff seriously.
“They’re prepared to submit their organisation to scrutiny to sharpen their practice and improve standards,” Dame Black said. “A healthy workforce is productive and happy. That’s good news for employers. And it’s good news for the country, because it helps the economy and improves the population’s wellbeing”.
‘A healthier workforce means less pressure on the NHS, a more vibrant society and a stronger economy. At an individual level, it also means fewer people battling with physical or mental health complaints, because they are nurtured and well looked after.’
At Johnson & Johnson, there’s a combined approach to flexibility, according to HR director Claire Sicklen. “There are formal HR policies and benefits, and an informal, personalised approach that acknowledges that different requests for flexible solutions come at different life stages.”
“The obvious example is a new mum,” says Sicklen, “Aside from traditional maternity leave, we also offer a flexible transition back to work, which we find really helps new mums and supports them with some of the emotional aspects of returning to work. We also have flexible working policies such as part-time working and job sharing.”
The approach clearly works – around 90 percent of women return to work after maternity leave. New mums are not the only ones to benefit at the company. “Some of our employees have ageing parents who may need to be cared for” Sicklen says. ‘In these situations, the possibility to change hours or work from home more can make a real difference.”
“As the returning mums of Johnson and Johnson show, flexibility breeds loyalty, which makes business sense.”
‘We found a very strong relationship between the culture of a company and its productivity (Shaun Subel, director of strategy at VitalityHealth) ‘and what’s important is the employees’ perception of the company culture, not what the employer says it is doing.
We found companies with the most supportive cultures had the lowest productivity losses. In fact those with the strongest health and well-being cultures had a 45 per cent lower cost of lost productivity compared with those that had the worst cultures.
There’s also a very clear relationship between culture and investment. The more a company invests in health provision and promotion, the healthier the employees perceive themselves to be and in most cases, the healthier they are. They healthier they are, the more productive they are.’
‘Johnson & Johnson offers ergonomic workstation assessments to help ensure employees are correctly positioned at their desks, thus minimising the risk of repetitive strain injury and injuries caused by poor posture. It also- like Adidas ((UK) and Microsoft – has on-site physiotherapy services that means minor problems can be diagnosed and treated before they escalate into issues that can mean someone is signed off sick for weeks.
And while you can’t stop workers picking up coughs and colds, encouraging healthy eating to boost immunity by offering free fruit, as Lindt, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi Pasteur do, is a start, as is offering flu vaccinations.
Prevention (mental health)
When it comes to mental health, minimising work stress by having an environment in which stress can be managed, and issues such as anxiety freely discussed with management is crucial, But beyond that, Johnson & Johnson offers massage therapists as part of its stress management programme.
Speaking in parliament last year, Norman Lamb, then UK minister for Care and Support, said that at least one in four people would experience a mental health problem at some point in their life and that the average cost of poor mental health to business is just over £1,000 per employee per year, or almost £26 billion across the UK economy.
Little wonder that Britain’s healthiest companies make stress and mental health such a priority.
UK versus Europe
Trade Union Congress statistics show that workers in the UK currently work the longest hours in Europe, take the shortest lunch breaks and enjoy the fewest public holidays. Recent YouGov stats show that many UK workers do not take their full holidays allowance and allow their work to bleed into holidays. Johnson & Johnson offers long-service annual leave awards and allows staff to buy and sell holiday.
“We recognise that a work-life balance is a key aspect in an employee’s overall health and well-being,” says Clare Sicklen, HR Director.