Your 2017 workplace health strategy

We talk with Inga Vilkins our workplace health solutions manager to get her perspective on how Bupa can help organisations with our expertise and what’s going to be big in 2017.

When an organisation says to you ‘where do I start with my strategy?’ what do you tell them?

Before anything we need to ensure the organisation’s intentions are aligned. I’d firstly check that there are the appropriate stakeholders in the organisation on board with the idea of implementing a workplace health program. Without the endorsement and ongoing support of senior leaders who can influence investment and lead by example, we find that programs can struggle to achieve longevity. When an organisation’s leadership team are focussed on making the health and wellbeing of their employees a priority, the success of implementing can be great – you just have to have the right people in place to influence and engage your people.

A workplace health program is not a one-off initiative; it is a commitment to making a real difference to the lives of your employees and the development of a positive workplace culture where employees want to work and be productive. So I also check that there is intention to make this a long-term project.

Then you need to work out what health risks could  affect the people within your organisation.

How does Bupa help identify what health issues organisations should focus on?

Once an organisation is ready to take on a wellbeing program, we go into assess mode and use various tools to help review what health risks and factors could be impacting their people.

We do this by collating existing information on business drivers, and performance indicators such as absenteeism data, engagement survey responses, claims reports and feedback from management. It is also important to gather information on the work environment as well as employee health profiles.

We also collate new information via a survey which measures different group’s perceptions and expectations of health and wellbeing within the organisation. We conduct a gap analysis across the groups within four key categories or quadrants – minds, bodies, cultures and places.

Another important part of our assessment is encouraging individual employees to take our online health assessment. This is a 10-minute self-assessment which allows an individual to input some basic health and lifestyle information to receive a snapshot of some of their health risks and tips to improve these. At the organisation level, you can review the collated data from participants and get an understanding of the workforce’s health status and what health risks need attention relative to industry benchmark data.

How does Bupa put together a program?

We work closely with our client partners to develop a series of strategies and solutions to target key business priorities and risk areas determined by our assessments.

We have many solutions across our health and wellbeing quadrants that can cater for the individual or collective across different kinds of organisations – be that online articles and resources, personal health checks, education sessions, group activities and challenges. There are also different levels of intervention ranging from raising awareness to providing in-depth training. We will work with you to create a holistic program to help improve the health of your business.

What do you think are going to be the big themes organisations will focus on in 2017?

  1. Engagement– developing new ways to promote and effectively implement programs to increase participation, generate positive feedback, new wellbeing behaviours in the workplace which can lead to a healthier culture.
  2. Online portals– focus on improving access to quality health information, programs and benefits for dispersed and flexible workforces.
  3. Behaviour change programs– targeted and ongoing personal coaching to address key lifestyle changes such as weight loss, smoking cessation and stress management, be that via tele or virtual delivery modes.
  4. Financial wellbeing – linked to personal stress. Focus will be on providing access to information and advice on financial health to help improve literacy and preparedness for different life stages.

Inga Vilkins

Inga Vilkins specialises in ensuring that Bupa is at the forefront of workplace health trends to support employers with the most innovative, relevant and evidence based solutions for their workplaces. She’s worked with hundreds of clients, across a range of industries in the past 6 years. Health, wellness and fitness are more than just an industry to Inga; they are the foundations of her lifestyle.


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