GMHBA, an Australian not for profit health insurance and care company, is committed to their ‘Healthier Together’ mantra, which considers the health, wellbeing and safety of its 400 employees in shaping the workplace’s culture, policies and practices, and activities.
To achieve a well-rounded and healthy workplace, GMHBA joined the Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program in 2013 and has delivered the Life! program to eligible employees.
About the Achievement Program and the Life! program
- The Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program, a free health and wellbeing membership program, offers a framework to help workplaces achieve targets for key health areas. This results in healthy changes to the physical work environment, policies, practices, activities, and the workplace can receive Victorian Government recognition.
- The Life! program is a free evidence-based healthy lifestyle program for Victorians at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. With a state-wide workforce, the Life! program can be delivered in any Victorian workplace and tailored to suit an organisation’s needs.
GMHBA has achieved four out of five health areas in the Achievement Program – mental health and wellbeing, physical activity, healthy eating and smoking. The organisation has also delivered two Life! program group courses for its eligible employees.
The two programs complement each other, with the Achievement Program supporting overarching change and the Life! program helping individual employees.
Completing the two programs has helped GMHBA make many healthy changes including:
- New policies and action plans, endorsed by the leadership team, which embeds workplace health and wellbeing. GMHBA drew on the expertise of the Achievement Program team and used the templates available.
- Established an intranet site to house staff health and wellbeing information. This was branded with GMHBA’s own wellbeing program called ‘Healthier Together + Us’.
- Healthy behaviours such as walking meetings, walking groups and active transport are promoted, with storage space for bikes and change room facilities available.
- Lunch & Learn sessions and fortnightly webinars are on offer to improve staff’s health awareness.
- Onsite health checks are provided to all staff at various workplace locations.
- The Life! program delivered two healthy living sessions for all staff, which shared information about healthy eating, physical activity and stress management. Employees also completed a type 2 diabetes risk questionnaire which determines a person’s level of risk in developing type 2 diabetes over the next 5 years.
- Eligible GMHBA staff took part in the Life! program which consists of 7 sessions over a 12-month period. In addition to food and nutrition sessions, delivered by a Life! nutritionist, participants also learnt more about physical activity, stress management and overall wellbeing. These sessions offer practical tips including recipe ideas, a deep dive into the nutrition content of supermarket products, nutrition label reading and much more.
For GMHBA, a key outcome has been the change in the decision-making process, with occupational health, safety and wellbeing at the forefront of decisions. The new initiatives and involvement in both programs have been rewarding experiences and have improved staff health awareness, leading to healthy behaviours.
One GMHBA employee who took part in the Life! program healthy living session said, “I’m sure I speak on behalf of the whole group when I say that the session has had such a positive impact on all of us.”
According to Claire Walker, staff health and wellbeing coordinator, receiving Victorian Government recognition for the healthy efforts in the Achievement Program provides an opportunity to reflect on the amazing initiatives and healthy changes made.
“It’s incredibly satisfying to participate in both the Achievement Program and the Life! program, knowing that the health and wellbeing initiatives provided to our staff are evidence-based and have already delivered such positive outcomes,” Ms Walker said.
GMHBA will continue improving and expanding its health and wellbeing initiatives and is close to achieving all health areas in the Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program, with Alcohol and Other Drugs being the final health area.