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October 8, 2008

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Progress on health and well-being agenda but room for improvement

Four out of five FTSE100 companies now report publicly on activities to improve the health and well-being of their employees — but too few are making tangible efforts to approach the issue strategically and measure progress quantitatively.

This is the key finding from the latest report by Business Action on Health — a campaign by charity Business in the Community (BITC). Research conducted by the campaign with FTSE100 firms shows that the number of companies that report on health and well-being commitments has risen from 68 per cent in 2007 to 81 per cent this year. Forty companies said they report on the health and well-being of their employees in their annual reports, and 65 companies include these details in their corporate-responsibility or sustainability reports.

However, an increase in the number of companies using such measures — up from seven last year to 23 this year — cannot disguise the fact, warns the charity, that companies still have some way to go in adopting quantitative indicators to measure progress in this area.

For example, while many companies measure absenteeism through line managers or self-assessment forms, fewer than half of companies collate these centrally. Furthermore, just under two in three of those reporting on health and well-being have set improvement targets, with under half of these employers reporting publicly on the targets set, and their performance against these targets.

Louise Aston, campaign director for Business Action on Health, commented: “Significant milestones have been reached over the past year and the issue of health and well-being in the workplace has, it seems, finally reached its tipping point. However, we still have a long way to go and ambitious targets to meet. We have committed ourselves to raising the proportion of FTSE100 companies reporting and measuring on employee health, using quantitative measures, from 23 to 75 percent by 2011.”

BITC chief executive, Stephen Howard, added: “The business case and return on investment for investing in employee health and well-being programmes is becoming more apparent — employers can reduce absence, recruitment, and retention costs, and increase employee engagement and productivity at work.”

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.

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