Health as a Strategic Advantage
We have many programs and processes to ensure that our working environment does not damage the health of our people. A natural extension of this idea is to seek to enhance the health of our workforce, their families and the communities in which we operate. Good health contributes to well-being, longevity and productivity, among other benefits. And since families tend to share health habits – good and bad – promoting health among our employees can contribute to healthier communities.
In the U.S., where health care costs are a major issue for the Company, we have increased our emphasis on health and wellness programs. We are providing resources and tools to employees to help them make sound choices about health care services and coverage, and to help them understand the benefits of being a better health care consumer.
We are collaborating with communities and government agencies by:
- Promoting and investing in the adoption of health care information technology (HIT) through local initiatives, with funding assistance from government. HIT will enable physicians and hospitals to have access to all the information they need to provide their patients with the most appropriate care.
- Participating in regional health care quality measurement and public reporting initiatives, with potential data-sharing and funding assistance from government.
We also provide health programs to our employees and their families in varying forms in many other countries. We are working to ensure that all of these programs are designed and administered in a way that delivers optimum health results. In addition, we are implementing a comprehensive global health strategy to ensure that our efforts are targeted at local health priorities and that our people receive quality health care when they need it. Working with employees to identify and modify their personal health risk factors is a core element of the strategy. We are also working to leverage our global strengths by improving the way we share and coordinate our health promotion programs. We developed and published a global set of standard employee health indicators to be used to assess the health of our workforce and track the results of programs aimed at improving it. Examples of the metrics include smoking and obesity prevalence, rates of diabetes and hypertension, and the number of employees whose diabetes or hypertension is successfully controlled.
Elements of health and wellness programs around the world include health screenings, education and promotional campaigns. For example, Ford of Brazil implemented “Programa Viva Bem,” which promotes health campaigns in areas such as weight control, stress management, nutrition, diabetes prevention, breast cancer prevention and flu vaccination. These campaigns reduce absenteeism while reflecting positively on Ford’s social commitment. Ford of Mexico developed programs at its facilities targeting similar issues. Health strategies vary by region and are flexible, in order to be tailored to local needs.
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