Health Programs

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Please send me a list of the worlds top 10 health incentive programs along with there unique selling propositions and there reported effectiveness

SAP, Baxter International Inc., Monash University, Unilever Brasil, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), du, and Kern Pharma provide some of the top health incentive programs, globally. These companies offer incentives to their employees that include tracking their health and exercise activities, smoking cessation, walking programs, health assessments, and friendly competition. While the reward for most of these programs is improved health and job satisfaction, a few programs offer discounts and other benefits. The results of these wellness programs are often reduced absenteeism, fewer health risks, and increased employee satisfaction.

Since analyzing all corporate wellness programs, globally, to identify the top programs would fall outside the scope of a single Wonder request, I have relied on precompiled lists of companies that are considered to have the best programs. I identified top companies by finding those that have won awards for their health incentive programs, usually referred to as wellness programs. I was able to gather the requested data for seven companies within the constraints of a single Wonder request.

The Global Centre for Healthy Workplaces has compiled case studies of best practices gleaned from award-winning or finalist companies in their Global Healthy Workplace Awards. As this source provides a global view of corporate health incentive programs, I have used it as my primary data source. I then searched for additional resources regarding these programs. I've ranked them according to employee numbers.

Other lists tend to focus primarily on US companies. Total Wellness, a US wellness service provider, has compiled information about ten of the best corporate wellness programs. The full eBook version of their report can be downloaded here. Fortune magazine has also evaluated some of these companies for their successful health incentive programs. The Best Employers for Health Lifestyles program also focuses on US companies.


For each company listed, I have included a brief overview of the program's unique selling proposition (USP) and its reported effectiveness. Identifying programs that specifically reward employees for maintaining or improving their health proved more challenging than anticipated. In many cases, the reward for participation in these wellness programs is improved health, rather than monetary or tangible rewards, though some do note access to discounts or other benefits. Where available, I have included information on these benefits.

• SAP, 85,750 employees
Serving over 85,750 employees, a unique feature of SAP's People Sustainability employee wellness program is its Run Your Way program, which rewards employees with subsidies for buying activity trackers. They can connect their devices to the company's Fit@SAP activity platform, which allows them to track their progress, challenge their colleagues, and create support groups. Other programs include the Corporate Oncology Program for Employees (COPE) health benefit for employees battling cancer and “Lighthouse” Program, which employees developed to support one another through difficult situations. The USP is the Business Health Culture Index (BHCI), which is calculated, based on employee surveys, to measure program success. The BHCI for 2016 was at 78%, compared to 75% in 2015.

• Baxter International Inc., 48,000 employees
BeWell@Baxter is a wellness program that offers employees assistance with weight management, counseling, eldercare assessments, legal and financial help, and smoking cessation. It assesses health risk through a Personal Wellness Profile, which aggregates results to set program initiatives and goals. Its USP is that it uses Local Champions who share metrics from their local programs to help guide the Steering Committee. The company's 48,000 employees are surveyed annually regarding psychosocial work issues with the goal of improving worker engagement, retention, and performance. The successful program has seen participation from employees worldwide with 80% of participants being from outside the US. They have also seen their employees' low lifestyle risk factors increase by 8%. In 2016, over 14,000 employees participated, logging 165,000 exercise hours, a 29% increase from the previous year. More than 32% of global employees completed their Personal Wellness Profile, giving them access to health advice and lifestyle advice.

Monash University, 15,000 employees
Monash University's Staff Wellbeing Activity Program (SWAP), or the Wellbeing at Monash program, serves up to 15,000 employees. In 2010, the SWAP program had only 60 participants, but that increased to 1954 in 2015. Its 10,000 steps program increased from 800 to 2700 participants, while its online mindfulness program has over 135,000 participants. With 15,500 subscribers to its monthly wellbeing newsletter, the university would appear to reach even beyond its employees. The unique selling proposition of the 10-year-old wellness program is that it provides a variety of programs that can be tailored to employee group needs. It rewards employees with discounts on health programs and memberships. Their wellbeing key performance indicator (KPI), based on participation, has risen from 26% to 36% over five years.

• Unilever Brasil, 14,000 employees in Brazil
Serving over 14,000 Brazilian employees, Unilever Brasil's Lamplighter program has been developed with the help of employee committee. Based on the Global Medical & Occupational Strategy, the global program reaches 83,000 employees in 70 countries. The program's USP is its focus on the individual employee with health assessments, nutrition and exercise coaching, and regular six-month check-ups. Participation has grown each year, reaching 80% participation and reduced health risks, including a 50% reduction relating to cardiac risk. With an ROI of €4.82 per €1 invested in the Brazil program and €2.57 for every €1 invested globally, the program is quite successful.

• Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), 7,371 employees
Launched in 2006 and updated in 2010, the Ghana Revenue Authority's Employee Wellbeing program began as a public-private partnership among GRA, the Ghana Community Network Services Ltd. and the GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) to focus attention on HIV/AIDS. Over the years, it has evolved to encompass broader health issues. Serving 7,371 employees, the Employee Wellbeing program's USP is that it extends to employee families, ensuring they enjoy "full social protection, financial counseling
and an improved access to treatment and care facilities that were related to infectious and noncommunicable diseases." The addition of "an electronic Health Management Information System" has expanded its ability to track employees' health and evaluate the impact of the program. Program goals were to improve employee satisfaction by 30% and reduce absenteeism by 20% over three years. To date, the program has experienced 32% success across four years.

du (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company), 2000 employees
Based in Dubai, du's wellness program is a central milestone within its HR department. The unique selling proposition of the program is the "company clinic with its two branches and staff of one doctor and two nurses." Serving 2000 employees, the program includes challenges and competitions, a mobile app, wellness campaigns, and healthy food offerings. In return for participation, employees enjoy access to sports clubs, such as soccer, cricket, and yoga. Results of the company's wellness program include a 20% increase in wellness campaigns and a drop in medical claim costs. The program also rewards employees through their participation in competitive programs, such as its Biggest Winner Weight Loss Challenge. In addition, the company recently added a new gym facility that caters to female employees.

• Kern Pharma, 750 employees
Serving a total of 750 employees, Kern Pharma's "Feel better to work better" program sees participation from 280-300 employees in the company's production plant. The employees participate in a 10-minute program of stretching and other warm-up exercises every day. Benefits include access to medical services and diagnosis of potentially problematic disorders. Results include a 37% decrease in absenteeism in one year, saving approximately €180,000. The program sees an ROI of €2.04 per €1 invested.


In conclusion, top global health incentive programs include SAP, Baxter International Inc., Monash University, Unilever Brasil, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), du, and Kern Pharma. Program incentives range from exercise tracing and smoking cessation to health assessments and monitoring. Most programs see improved health as the reward, but a few of them offer discounts and other benefits. Program results include reduced absenteeism, fewer health risks, and increased employee satisfaction.

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