You are on page 1of 3

Published July 2010

Award Category logo

Unilever - Fit Business


Healthy Workplace Award 2010 - Highly Commended

Wellness and Engagement, Highly Commended

Unilever is one of the world's leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods companies. Unilevers Fit Business addresses health issues in the workplace, integrated with national public health campaigns and built on current good practice. Unilevers Fit Business pilot reached 2000 employees across two of their larger sites the UK & Ireland head office in Leatherhead and the North-West factory in Port Sunlight. The programme built on existing occupational health schemes, brought together health opportunities and advice in a compelling everyday way. Unilever provided nutrition information on the menus in their staff restaurants, aligned communications with Government campaigns on saturated fat, salt and physical activity (Change4Life). The business also introduced simple health checks and use of their foodservice chefs to give masterclasses on healthy cooking. Fit Business is about providing people with information they need to make healthy choices. It isnt about making decisions on their behalf.

More details on Unilever's global Health and Wellbeing initiatives

We know that our business is at its best when our people are at their best. This is fully recognised by the leadership of our business, and demonstrated by our continued investment in cutting-edge workplace health schemes such as our Fit Business programme in the UK.
Alan Walters HR Director, Unilever UK & Ireland

Unilever's Fit Business journey

Identify Unilever evaluated its UK sites in 2007 and found employees health issues were Metabolic Syndrome, Cardiovascular disease, Obesity and Hypertension risk. Fit Business has since addressed these health issues in Unilever workplaces, integrated with national public health campaigns and built on current good practice. Implement Unilever has split the programme into clear quarterly themes linked to external
http://www.bitc.org.uk/resources/case_studies/unilever_uk_ltd.html Created: 12/01/12

public health campaigns, and aligned its communication and on-site activities to these. Q1 Saturated fat Unilever included the introduction of GDAs in their catering offering to give their people information about what is in their food choices. This linked to and was endorsed by the Food Standard Agencys (FSA) Saturated Fat campaign. Q2 Move more By linking to their sponsorship of the Flora London Marathon Unilever got their people active with pedometers and local walking routes. This aligned with, and endorsed by, the Department of Healths (DH) Change4Life social marketing campaign. Q3 Heart Health Unilever offered employees health checks and directed them to Flora ActivHeart and HeartAge calculator. Some of their employees were referred to further health interventions where appropriate. This linked with the World Heart Federations World Heart Day. Q4 Salt Unilever held cooking workshops with low salt alternatives that still packed a huge flavour. This was aligned to, and endorsed by, the Food Standard Agencys (FSA) Salt campaign. Review The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) conducted an independent evaluation of the pilot. They explored any impacts on the actual health and health-related attitudes and behaviours of participants, and identified lessons learnt for future initiatives, including any relevant policy recommendations. This was published on 1 March 2010 and as a result of the survey, Unilever has started implementation of Fit Business at all Unilever sites across the UK & Ireland.

Fit Business- at the heart of Unilever's business strategy


Fit Business is a perfect fit with Unilever's business strategy. It supports its aim of Winning with People through promoting, maintaining and enhancing the health of its people so as to maximise their fitness to work safely and effectively. Fit Business was championed by HR VP, Alan Walters, and reviewed regularly alongside business performance - by the UK& Ireland Board. Having top level management supporting Fit Business really brings it to life, transforming it from what could be perceived as a stand-alone, central occupational health initiative into a company-wide programme where everyone is encouraged to participate. Fit Business aims to provide employees with the information and capabilities to lead healthy and active lifestyles, both at the workplace and at home. The strategy is designed to help employees to take small actions for big differences.

Impact
Business benefits Increased Engagement - agreement to the question I enjoy better health and wellbeing for being employed by Unilever, compared to another employer increased from 43% pre-Fit Business to 64%. Decreased Absenteeism - Unilever's Fit Business Pilot sites average absence fell by 17% in the same period. Financial Return on Investment- there is an overall Return on Investment from Fit Business in 2009 as measured by their own metrics, IPPRs evaluation and comparing to external wellness ROI calculators such as the BITCs HealthCheck tool. Unilever strengthened relationships with key external stakeholders by hosting peer forums to share learnings with several large companies in their industry and other fields. Health Benefits Weight loss - a 26% decrease at the factory and 9% decrease at the office in weight as measured by Body Mass Index.
http://www.bitc.org.uk/resources/case_studies/unilever_uk_ltd.html Created: 12/01/12

Raising awareness and changing behaviours - The proportion of respondents who reported taking salt into account in the food they bought increased by 10% at the office and 19% at the factory A reduction in participant heart disease risk for the highest risk group of 6% to 3% 44% of employees at the office and 30% at the factory felt that FIT Business had impacted upon the amount of exercise they took.

http://www.bitc.org.uk/resources/case_studies/unilever_uk_ltd.html Created: 12/01/12