Making the healthy choice the easy choice for our employees

Welcome to our culture of health and wellbeing

Nico Van Hoecke is planning a team meeting near his office in Switzerland. But rather than bring everybody together around a high-calorie meal, he is organizing a yoga session. Last week’s meeting involved an early morning run.

“Our business is all about promoting good health, and that includes supporting employees’ wellbeing,” says Nico, senior vice president, regional marketing, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMA).

Last year, Nico and other leaders rallied employees to take part in the Swiss City Marathon in Lucerne by providing activities to help them get in shape. Employees ran and trained together for weeks. “I was hoping to get 100 runners; instead, nearly 300 showed up from our company,” says Nico. “Many of them continue to improve their health through exercise and healthy eating.”

The holistic approach

When people feel their best, they perform their best, according to several studies. “And when individuals do not feel well, they miss work and deadlines, experience low morale and develop chronic conditions,” says Cathryn Gunther, associate vice president, global population health. “All of that can be costly for any company.”

To support employee wellbeing, our company launched LIVE IT in 2011.
This holistic approach focuses on four areas:



and Safety

Mental and
Emotional Wellbeing

Programs ensure that food vendors provide tasty, healthy options in our cafeterias and vending machines. Mindfulness workshops and employee assistance programs support mental and emotional health. Vaccination programs, health screenings and mobile mammogram services help prevent disease or catch conditions early. Fitness centers, walking routes and activity challenges keep employees moving.

As examples, in Canada, employees who have engaged in LIVE IT for several years have shown improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors. In the United Arab Emirates, LIVE IT programs have kept people active and contributed to fewer days of absenteeism.

Healthy behaviors have a social connectedness, and we’ve seen this among our employee populations in many regions of the world. Health is contagious, which is a good thing.

- Cathryn Gunther, associate vice president, global population health

She adds that our employees have an incredible work ethic. “Sometimes, that means sitting too long, eating unhealthy food on the run or skipping preventive care, like vaccinations. We’re working to change that by making the healthy choice the easy choice – and the valued choice.”

What other companies can learn

Achieving employee wellbeing requires “leadership support and an integrated, strategic approach that brings every functional area together to advance our culture of wellbeing,” says Cathryn.

Our company has more than 180 individuals who are our “champions” of workplace wellbeing and encourage others to take advantage of the many opportunities to improve physical, mental, and financial health and safety.

Nico in the EEMEA region is one of those champions.

We are doing what we can to maintain and protect the health of our employees. When our employees live healthier, they motivate their friends and families to do the same, which leads to greater wellbeing for everyone.

- Nico Van Hoecke, senior vice president, regional marketing, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa

Why build a culture of wellbeing?

A healthy and safe workforce can provide a competitive business advantage by improving performance and helping companies attract and keep the best workers. To learn more, read the case study authored by Cathryn Gunther and published in Population Health Management.

Recognition for our commitment to employee health

Our company has earned accreditations and received awards for efforts that support employee health and wellbeing, such as two National Business Group on Health Gold Awards, the American Heart Association Workplace Achievement Award (Gold) and the CEO Cancer Gold Standard Accreditation.

“We believe that the private sector can contribute to improving population health,” says Cathryn. “We are committed to employee wellbeing and strive to be an example for others who share a similar pursuit.”

Our company promotes a diverse and inclusive work enviroment that fosters employee development and prioritizes safety and wellbeing. Learn more