The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and Deloitte have launched a new guidance to support the global business community in advancing workplace cultures that protect and nurture the highest standards of employee wellbeing. This new resource Healthy People, Healthy Business: Embedding a culture of employee health and wellbeing was developed in collaboration with more than 20 WBCSD member companies. It identifies key levers for businesses to maximize positive impacts across various dimensions of health and wellbeing for the individuals that sit at the heart of business operations. It provides a practical framework with tangible examples showing how businesses can accelerate efforts to embed employee wellbeing into organizational strategy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a sharp reminder of the critical importance of health and wellbeing as the bedrock for prosperous societies and economies around the world. It has also prompted much reflection on what can be done to promote and protect health more robustly and equitably moving forward, putting us on course to realize many of the ambitions laid out in Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing.
Against this backdrop, WBCSD launched the Healthy People, Healthy Business project in April 2021, which helps member companies follow the Health & Wellbeing Pathway laid out in WBCSD’s Vision 2050: Time to Transform. The project builds a cross-sectoral coalition of WBCSD members to identify private sector opportunities to drive health promotion and disease prevention, thereby transforming the health and wellbeing value chain as set out in WBCSD’s 2022-2027 Strategy.
The new guidance represents a first output from this coalition, and focuses on workplace wellbeing. It outlines the business case for realizing a culture of health and wellbeing and provides a maturity matrix as a practical tool for companies to assess at what stage of the journey they are to embedding a culture of health and wellbeing into their organizational make-up. The report then provides priority actions to enhance maturity, and outlines a five-step process for companies to realize these actions and progress in their health and wellbeing journey. The steps include to:
- Diagnose maturity
- Strategize to drive change
- Customize the approach
- Implement the right levers to drive change
- Evaluate and communicate performance
“Work is the engine at the center of our economies. We have to recognize that work can both negatively and positively influence health outcomes.” said Diane Holdorf, Executive Vice President Pathways at WBCSD. “By fostering safe workplaces and cultures that protect and nurture the wellbeing of employees, businesses have a significant opportunity to contribute to the realization of our vision of the highest attainable standard of health & wellbeing for everyone.”
The role of business in improving health outcomes is clear. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the workplace as one of the priority settings for health promotion in the 21st century, with an average person spending a third of their lifetime at work. Despite significant advances in health and safety in recent decades, the WHO and the International Labour Organization estimate almost 2 million women and men around the world still die due to work-related accidents or diseases every year.
This report underlines how embedding a culture of health and wellbeing throughout a company represents an important opportunity not only to contribute to the realization of a healthier, happier society, but also to significantly improve long-term business license to operate, innovate and grow.
“Business has the opportunity and responsibility to ensure that work, not only does no harm to employee health, but also nurtures it,” said Elizabeth Hampson, Director Health and Life Sciences Strategy at Deloitte. Companies are well-positioned to improve many areas of health and wellbeing, extending from traditional occupational health and safety dimensions into physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing.”
WBCSD’s Healthy People, Healthy Business project, involving – 3M, Abbott, Arcadis, Baker McKenzie, Biogen, Clariant, Deloitte, ERM, GSK, Guidehouse, Inter IKEA, Mitsubishi Corporation, Nestlé, Novartis, OCP Group, PMI, Reckitt, Solvay, Sompo Japan and Trane Technologies – will continue to explore opportunities to support companies on this journey moving forward and welcomes the opportunity for continued stakeholder engagement around this critical topic.