Reducing Sickness Absence and Improving Productivity




In an effort to reduce sickness absence, improve employee engagement and help staff to enjoy healthier, more fulfilled lives, L&G partnered with Stand to Reason, Serco Occupational Health and GetFit Wellnessto design and implement a pilot wellbeing programme. The pilot had to show quantifiable results and demonstrate both health improvement and cost savings. Clear objectives were mutually agreed and a programme designed to meet them.

Initially, the programme was offered to two divisions of the company, one located in Cardiff and the other in Hove; some 1,000 employees in total. In the year before the pilot, sickness absence rates across this pilot group averaged 4.45% and 4.65% respectively with annual costs of approximately £500,000 per site.

Using the results from the GetFit Wellness “Health Manager” a confidential online health risk assessment it became clear that 44% of the work force were suffering with low (23%) or very low (11%) emotional wellbeing. A further 20% were  suffering from stress with combined loss of productivity from these scores resulting in time lost per day from 16.6% to 27%.

Using the baseline level of 14% productivity losses and an average annual salary of £23,500; a conservative estimate of the cost of lost productivity from only those participants that completed their Serco Health Manager assessment (606) amounted to £2 million per year.

However, because L&G’s three of the six largest organisational health risks related to emotional wellbeing and can all be reduced by engaging staff in positive health behaviour change, it was possible to achieve substantial cost savings by targeting them with Stand to Reason’s Line Manager programme. Sickness absence reduced by 15% during the pilot programme after adjustment for seasonal variation.

The programme met or exceeded all objectives set at the outset while returning £2.47 in cost savings for every £1 spent. As a result, L&G is now in the process of rolling the Line Manager Training and Health Manager programme out to 6,500 staff throughout the entire organisation following the same successful mplementation and support plan.

Pilot Objectives

Engage >30% of the pilot group in health and wellbeing.

Identify the health needs, issues and opportunities of the workforce.

Measure the impact of health on productivity in the workforce.

Improve health behaviour of participants.

Reduce Sickness absence.

Improve productivity.