Marmot Review underscores role of Good Work in Good Health

Businesses can help heal the nation’s health and regional economies says a major new review of health inequities. Purpose-driven companies derive most benefit from productivity gains.

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Employers that support employee health benefit from a more productive workforce and business have a key role to play in building healthier societies concludes a major new review, published today.The Business of Health Equity: The Marmot Review for Industry calls for more employers around the UK to support employee and customers' health. The review connects ESG goals with wellbeing – key themes in Relocate Global’s upcoming Future of Work Festival, which features renowned workplace wellbeing and management expert Ian Hesketh – and calls for health to be explicitly called out post-Covid within a new ‘ESHG’ framework. 
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Linking levelling up and wellbeing

Professor Michael Marmot’s latest review, part of the UCL Institute of Health Equity’s partnership with Legal & General, connects workplace health to the government’s economic levelling up agenda. It shows that ill health is responsible for 30% of the shortfall in productivity in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ compared with the rest of England.While the review recognises that health is determined by the conditions in which people are born, live, grow, work and age – the so-called Social Determinants of Health – it shows how employers can help bridge the gap.Setting out three ways business can improve people’s lives by reducing health inequality, it provides a framework for how businesses of all size can become a partner in creating healthier societies by reducing health inequities, considering their products and influences as well as employees’ health. 

Three actions business can take to reduce health inequality

  1. Promote the health of employees through pay and benefits, hours and job security and conditions of work
  2. Support the health of clients, customers and shareholders through products and services they provide and investments they make
  3. Influence the health of individuals in the communities through investment influence, procurement, and supply networks.

Economic and health wellbeing

The report is published as the CIPD warns that that cost-of-living crisis is impacting employees’ wellbeing at work and as employers are looking to support employees more holistically as they return to workplaces, either hybrid or remote. “This report builds on the good practices of businesses that are showing the way,” says internationally renowned epidemiologist Professor Michael Marmot, who is Director of UCL’s Institute of Health Equity and author of the report. “It also shows that it is in the interest of business to have regard to health equity as well as to ESG, environment, social and governance. “More generally, it recognises that business can and should be responsible actors that can improve the quality of people lives, the environment, and as a result be forces for good in creating greater health equity.” “The Covid-19 pandemic made clear a failing economy damages health. Until now the social determinants of health equity have been the responsibility of government and civil society. Business can be part of the problem of health inequalities.“More positively, it can be part of the solution and has a key part to play in improving these social conditions that affect health and health equity: in conditions of work and employment; in goods and services; and in impact on the wider society and environment.”

Purpose, wellbeing and productivity

The review also highlights and reaffirms the links between purpose-driven organisations, employee wellbeing and productivity. It shows that businesses with a strong social purpose attract and retain the best employees, who increasingly seek more than just a paycheque.Employees who feel emotionally connected and understand how they contribute personally also have a stronger sense of wellbeing. Research shows having a sense of purpose in life is highlighted as a key feature for living to be over 100.It also shows that pockets of good work, siloed in ethics, corporate social responsibility or Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) teams, do not translate into healthy business practices.Sir Nigel Wilson, CEO, Legal & General,“Businesses and ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) investors are proving key to reducing carbon emissions. ESG’s 'E' is working, but the 'S' is further behind – the impact of corporate activity on population health and its associated costs is not currently adequately addressed. “Post-Covid, there is a strong case to consider health and health inequality as crucial to the 'S' of ESG – explicitly calling out health within a new ‘ESHG’ framework. “Reducing health inequalities is a key part of levelling up: literally a matter of life and death. Business can be a force for good in society if we work to identify areas where we can sustainably and positively impact people’s lives. That is the aim of this review and our partnership; for experts such as Sir Michael Marmot to help us and other businesses deliver better health outcomes.”

Read more about the Great Return and workplace wellbeing in the Spring 2022 issue of Think Global People.

To explore more widely the growing importance of wellbeing at work, why not join us on 9 June for the results of the Think Global People and Relocate Awards and the Future of Work Festival?

Read more global health and wellness news here.


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