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Cereals and snack foods manufacturer Kellogg’s established its Fit for Life campaign to encourage employees to understand more about the importance of physical wellbeing, eat better and take appropriate exercise. A healthy and balanced lifestyle is the central pillar of the Kellogg philosophy, with cereal and snack products providing energy for consumption, balancing energy expended through exercise. The programme’s key stakeholders included the Corporate Responsibility Manager and the occupational health, nutrition and communications teams, with additional support provided by the Sports Councils of England and Wales and local leisure and health organisations.

Sugar, cereal sweeteners and starches producer Tate & Lyle shifted the focus of its occupational health provision from a workplace ‘surgery’ to health and wellbeing following a 999 review. The goal was to improve the health and safety of employees in order to reduce costs arising from workplace sickness and absence, ill-health retirements and insurance claims. The key stakeholders for the programme include the human resources, occupational health and health & safety teams as well as the senior executive team, and other key influencers in the workforce, supported by partners Neylon Occupational Health and City Physiotherapy and suppliers of private health care and employee assistance programmes. A healthy eating initiative was instigated in partnership with the occupational health, human resources, health & safety and catering teams.

Foods, home care and personal care products manufacturer Unilever (UK) established its Vitality in Action programme in alignment with, and inspired by, Unilever’s mission to ‘add vitality

to life’. The programme was developed by the occupational health team to identify health risks and needs, to provide all opportunities the opportunity to engage in a Vitality initiative, raise awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and educate employees on health risks. A healthy eating initiative was launched alongside the VIA programme to promote healthier meal choices during the day.

Understand why healthy eating is important to your business

Companies establish healthy eating initiatives for a variety of purposes ranging from responding to the occupational health needs of employees to improving business productivity.

Here are some of the reasons which Steering Group companies gave for establishing their own health and wellbeing programmes and healthy eating initiatives:

“To get a clear understanding of issues; help people stay at work. . . skill shortage means we need to build more value with existing employees”

“Contribute to our high performance culture by improving the health of our workforce; enable employees to achieve a healthy balance between work and other commitments; improve morale”

“Although we stood for health in the eyes of the consumer we were not consistent internally on health. So we introduced a health and well-being programme that was consistent with our business mission”

“To provide a more pro-active and holistic service to our employees rather than to address any particular issues”

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Understand the business context

Understanding the context in which your initiative must work is vital to its success. Wider business strategies and ongoing activities which impact your workforce, such as restructuring, will impact upon its design and timing. Getting ‘buy in’ from key stakeholders

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    including employees – is essential.

According to our Steering Group, these stakeholders can include:

Board Directors; Managing Directors;

Directors, managers and other specialists from occupational health, human resources and corporate responsibility teams;

Employee ‘ambassadors’ who are interested in, and support, the programme or initiative.

Create the project team

Your project team needs to include representatives of all your key internal stakeholder groups. For Steering Group member companies, project roles for HWB programmes tended to be assigned to staff members of occupational health, health & safety, human resources and corporate responsibility teams. However, support was also provided by specialists in communications, nutrition and physiotherapy. One company recruited “Active Health” employee Ambassadors and another appointed a national Employee Health and Vitality Manager, supported by two regional health enhancement advisors, to help deliver their HWB programmes.

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