QinetiQ’s effective wellbeing programme

    • The nature of ill health and work is changing and whilst many UK workers are not ill, they may certainly not be healthy. One in six UK workers is dealing with a mental health problem according to leading mental health charity Mind. Obesity is increasingly prevalent and Diabetes UK warns that five million people are expected to develop the condition within two decades.

      At the same time, the workforce is ageing, with the CIPD predicting that by 2020 over two thirds of the UK’s workforce will be over 50 years of age.

      Understanding the likely impact these changes would mean for managing employee health both now and in the future, QinetiQ was motivated to review its employee healthcare provision.

      Embarking on a new approach to health and wellbeing

      QinetiQ had an excellent health and safety programme that focused on helping to protect people at work and return them to work after absence. However, having a similarly structured programme in place which supported employee wellbeing through the identification and mitigation of health risks, was also of importance. The HR team wanted to develop a relevant health and wellbeing strategy which enabled QinetiQ to:

      • Identify the health risks within the organisation and implement services to mitigate those risks
      • Empower its employees to better manage their own health by providing access to relevant services and tools
      • Value from wellbeing investment
      • To be able to benchmark what good looks like
      • To be regarded as a good company to work for – both locally and in the defence technology industry

      Following a wider review of the organisation’s health services provision at the end of 2012, QinetiQ was able to reallocate funding released from the implementation of a new approach to delivering their occupational health services, into a comprehensive wellbeing programme.

      As the lead provider, AXA PPP healthcare supported QinetiQ’s HR team to shape their health and wellbeing strategy and implement the most effective service delivery model. The health and wellbeing strategy was submitted and approved by the Board and a wellbeing programme was implemented, at pace, in January 2013.

      Implementing the wellbeing programme

      Having established a health and wellbeing strategy, QinetiQ focused on implementing a wellbeing programme and making sure they had the capabilities in place to activate the programme.

      • The wellbeing service delivery model QinetiQ implemented included two core services: dedicated physiologist resource and an online health and wellbeing platform – the Employee Health Gateway.

      The dedicated physiologist service delivers one to one health assessments for QinetiQ employees at 17 sites throughout the UK, throughout the year. Details of the health assessments, including the schedule of site visits are hosted on a dedicated page on the organisation’s intranet. An online booking facility was also created making it easy for employees to secure themselves an appointment at a time most convenient to them.

      The health assessments take place in private rooms and include seven biometric tests, such as blood glucose and blood pressure and importantly, include personalised guidance depending on each individual’s results. The results of all health assessments are then immediately uploaded using iPad technology, into the employee’s personal profile on the QinetiQ Employee Health Gateway.

      • The Employee Health Gateway is an important service within the programme and gives employees access to a personalised health information and support depending on their individual interests or health risks. Employees can discover their health age and ways to reduce it, as well as using tools or accessing interventions to help them lead healthier lifestyles. The Employee Health Gateway is delivered over a multi-channel platform so not only can employees access it 24/7 from anywhere in the world, they can also access it through an iPhone App. Such accessibility was significant as QinetiQ was keen to ensure that the wellbeing programme was inclusive of all employees, regardless of job role or location.
      • Activation of the programme included a robust annual communications plan which was led by their internal communications team together with the support of onsite contacts at QinetiQ locations throughout the UK and AXA PPP healthcare. The communication plan consisted of a number of onsite and e-communication activities and used the Employee Health Gateway as a central platform to host all information about the support services available to QinetiQ staff through their wellbeing programme.
      • QinetiQ’s HR team also recognised that consultation and regular communication with employees would be critical to achieve high levels of employee engagement in a wellbeing programme. An Employee Engagement Group was established and gives employees an opportunity to give feedback about the wellbeing programme and share ideas for future development.

      Through Employee Health Gateway utilisation and health assessments results, QinetiQ are able to profile the health risks within their organisation and identify the types of risks that are prevalent.

      Management information is regularly reviewed with AXA PPP healthcare so that QinetiQ’s HR team can understand the risk profile of the organisation and make informed decisions to support staff and adapt the wellbeing programme to better target the risks being identified.

      The results so far

      Since launching the wellbeing programme in January 2013, QinetiQ have seen a growing and sustained use of its wellbeing services. After only four months, registrations on the Employee Health Gateway had reached over 24% of the employee population and this figure continues to rise. Fifty seven health risks had been removed from the organisation through intervention.

      After six months more than 600 employees had benefitted from a health assessment. Five have stopped smoking and many more have started to make healthy lifestyle changes, with some booking a second assessment with the physiologist to track progress and seek guidance for maintaining their new lifestyle.

      QinetiQ employees are engaged in the wellbeing programme. Through their internal communications and Employee Engagement Group, QinetiQ have received positive employee feedback which has included requests and suggestions for support with specific health issues including stroke and cancer prevention.

      There is recognition at Board level that, whilst in its early stages, the wellbeing programme is already starting to deliver what it set out to achieve.

      Who we are

      We are experts in defence, aerospace and security. We employ 5,000 people in the UK and more than 9,000 people worldwide, and our scientists and engineers solve some of the world’s most important problems.

      What we do

      We offer high-end technical knowledge underpinned by worldclass research and innovation. We supply advice, assurance, test and evaluation, engineering solutions and training.

      Why we are different

      Our customers face challenges that define the modern world. They know that we are uniquely placed to understand these issues and work with them to ensure the success of their mission. Our people make the critical difference to customers by providing unique answers which combine technical expertise, deep domain knowledge and rigorous independent thinking.