Hertfordshire health champions share their successes

Qualified workplace health champions convened to share their knowledge at the first Workplace Champions’ Network gathering which took place on 22 April, Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

The Champion training was invaluable to our staff, its really given us a great foundation to be able to support the wider workforce to improve their wellbeing, we’ve even involved our students in a food labelling initiative to create more healthy eating awareness for our staff.

- Claire Woodhams,
Head of Student Services at North Herts College

With UK employers losing an estimated £13 billion from 172 million lost working days due to sickness absence in 2013 alone, there is a strong case for businesses to build an in-house team to reduce sickness levels and support local wellbeing strategies.

The delegates, who have been trained by the Royal Society of Public Health as accredited workplace health champions, exchanged best practice and were introduced to the newly launched public health offer from Hertfordshire County Council.

There are now nearly 60 of these workplace champions across the county who have expertise in: tackling health inequality, how effective communication can help others improve their health and the key factors that can impact on health and wellbeing.

At the event Joe Capon, Hertfordshire Sports Partnership, talked through the workplace challenge portal and demonstrated the benefits of employees participating in a mini-MOTs. He also covered the role champions have to sign-post staff to their GPs for further advice and a free NHS health check if they were over 40 without an underlying medical condition.

North Hertfordshire College talked about its nine champions, and how they had supported a variety of health campaigns in the last few months. Champions shared their in-house newsletter which showcased individual employee case studies on their success with a variety of wellbeing activities.

With 30 trained champions, Hertfordshire County Council shared its good practice supporting activities such as lunchtime walks and developing an online blog to help champion wellbeing knowledge.
SME Serviceline shared its progress and challenges in reaching its workforce across its offices and its UK-wide drivers hoping that a new IT system would support improved communications.

Renewable energy company, RES, talked about its champions’ positive experience of promoting mini-MOTs and opening the doors to mental wellbeing.

Delegates also looked at a variety of resources available to support health initiatives such as Mental Health Awareness week and Men’s Health week.

Download resources from the day: