Legal & General is set to “significantly reduce” absenteeism and increase productivity across its entire workforce, following the launch of a successful health and wellbeing pilot initiative.
The company has reported a 15% improvement in sickness absence, amounting to a cost saving of nearly £70,000 and a 14% reduction in productivity loss across those employees taking part in the pilot, developed and rolled out in conjunction with Serco Occupational Health, Stand to Reason and GetFit Wellness, part of Ultrasis, a provider of interactive healthcare services.
More than 600 Legal & General employees across two of the company's sites in Cardiff and Hove took part in the pilot programme between November 2010 and April 2011, which reported the prevalent health issues, including poor emotional wellbeing and stress that were the most significant factors contributing to absenteeism at the company.
Key components of the initiative were an online health and wellbeing behaviour change programme, used to engage staff in tackling their health priorities as well as provide key stakeholder reports into the health priorities of the workforce including measuring the impact of sub-optimal health on the productivity. In addition, line manager training workshops on emotional wellbeing were delivered by Stand to Reason.
The company also identified a 12% productivity loss through presenteeism, which relates to those at work but impaired by their health. Based on these findings and the company's average annual salary, Legal & General has estimated that the cost of this lost productivity relating to the  pilot participants is £2 million per year.
Legal & General has also introduced a British Heart Foundation, Get Active team challenge at its Cardiff location to counter low levels of physical activity and offered stop smoking support groups to smokers.
It is also using Beating the Blues, an online and telephone supported cognitive behavioural therapy service, also developed by Ultrasis to treat mild to moderate depression and anxiety, for those who are not absent but may be struggling and in need of some specialist support.
The health and wellbeing programme is now being rolled out across Legal & General locations in an effort to change the health behaviours of its employees, whilst generating major costs savings for the business.
Nicky Richards, HR consultant for Legal & General said: "Legal & General is committed to investing in the health and wellbeing of its workforce.
"The aim of the initiative is to change the behaviours of our staff so that they can enjoy healthier, more fulfilled lives at home and in work, which in turn, improves our outputs as a business, and ultimately the service we can provide our customers. As the pilot has proved, it will also support a healthier financial performance for our business going forward."
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