Unilever is committed through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to protect its employees from work-related hazards, as well as to promote their health so that they can enjoy fit and healthy lives, both at work and at home.
In order to address the top health risks the company has identified across its business – mental health; lifestyle factors (e.g. exercise, nutrition, smoking, obesity); chronic conditions (hypertension and diabetes); ergonomic factors (e.g. repetitive strain injury) – and has developed a global health and wellbeing framework. This is the Lamplighter programme, in which employees are individually coached on their exercise regime, nutrition and mental resilience. An initial check-up is followed by a six-monthly or annual visit where progress is monitored.
The challenge is to encourage employees to change their behaviour and sustain new habits, through regular exercise, better eating habits and managing pressure. It has been shown that if the motivation is kept during the first six months, positive changes are likely to remain.
Results so far have been impressive; by the end of 2014, across the world there were 70 participating countries, with over 90,000 employees taking part in the Lamplighter scheme. In Europe, 16 countries and over 11,500 employees are participating and the programme will be further expanded.