In 2013, Arogya World committed to implement a pioneering Healthy Workplace Awards program in India, to help prevent non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, in the workplace setting. The purpose of this commitment is to prevent chronic diseases for working professionals in India by transforming workplaces to become health-promoting environments. This commitment will provide an opportunity for the private sector to demonstrate leadership in preventing NCDs.
Through this commitment, Healthy Workplace Awards will be given to 100 organizations in India before December 2016, contributing to improving the health of 1,000,000 employees. Given annually around World Diabetes Day (November 14), these awards (Bronze, Silver, or Gold) will provide an external score-card and incentivize companies to invest in workplace wellness. Site visits by a 3-person assessment team will confirm award levels. A full-page ad in newspapers around the country will promote the winners and this program to motivate more companies to join in subsequent years.
The criteria for the Healthy Workplace Awards were developed in 2012 in India, with Indian experts and multi-stakeholder input. The criteria were released in November 2012 to a gathering of Indian and global stakeholders from government, medicine, public health, and industry.
Joining Arogya World in this Commitment as partners are the Public Health Foundation of India, Aon plc and NationWide. Arogya World will also be collaborating with the Department of Health & Family Welfare, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and the Government of India on this effort.
During the first stage of this commitment, Indian companies will be invited to apply for Arogya World's 'Healthy Workplace Awards' and to benchmark their wellness programs against Arogya World's 'Healthy Workplace' criteria. Each company that applies will be visited by a three-person assessment team, including one medical professional, an industry expert, and an Arogya World representative, in September/October of 2013. This team will evaluate each company's wellness programs and policies, such as tobacco-free worksites, the availability of healthy foods, management's embrace of a healthy workplace culture, access to gyms, and the efforts the company is making to promote work-life balance for its employees.
Based on the 'Healthy Workplace' criteria, developed in 2012 with input from Indian experts and multiple stakeholders, the assessment teams will assign each company an award level. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, additional application/assessment cycles will be conducted to identify more Healthy Workplaces in India.
An award event with 50-100 high-profile stakeholder invitees, and media, will be held each year in November, to honor the award-winning workplaces and distribute trophies. Newspaper ads will also be run after the award ceremony, to promote the winning workplaces.
In subsequent years, more companies will be invited to apply for the 'Healthy Workplace Awards' through business development efforts, Arogya World's website, and partnerships with other organizations engaged in corporate wellness programs.
The Healthy Workplace Award process has been established based on the insights from members of Arogya World's India team, who have the experience of building Quality Awards to the national stage in India.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and chronic lung diseases, are one of the biggest health and development challenges of the 21st century. According to the WHO and the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Report, NCDs kill nearly 2 out of 3 people in the world, with 80% of the deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. India has a high burden of NCDs, and in particular, of diabetes. In India, 60 million people live with diabetes, and the disease kills 1 million Indians per year. On average, Indians are diagnosed with diabetes in their 30's and 40's - approximately 10 years earlier than people in the West. Yet, there is hope. NCDs are largely preventable; the World Health Organization notes that 80% of diabetes cases, 80% of heart disease, and 40% of cancers can be prevented through behavioral changes, such as avoiding tobacco, eating healthy foods, and increasing physical activity.
Recent studies from Harvard and reports from the World Economic Forum have indicated that employers can expect a return on investment of $3.47 from every dollar spent on employee wellness. Workplaces in India are a particularly attractive platform for NCD prevention because 50% of the population (i.e. > 500 million people) is under 25 years of age and hundreds of millions are working professionals.
We need financial support to help us hire people to engage more companies in the Healthy Workplace process. What we have started is something worthwhile in India. Much needed financial support will help turn our program team into a well-oiled machine that can provide great impact and value.
And media articles featuring the best practices of Healthy Workplaces could influence the dialogues on workplace wellness in India. And help establish us as thought-leaders as well as help us raise funds.
Our network of Healthy Workplaces in India is infrastructure that we have built and supported and which we can leverage to help other organizations wishing to do research, or deploy their programs and services. For e.g. we are getting a grant from the Gl