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Oxford BioMedica case study: working with IHC and Bluecrest

Oxford BioMedica is a world leading gene and cell therapy company focused on developing life changing treatments for serious diseases. Delivering such an ambitious agenda requires a strong, talented and healthy workforce and when it comes to health and wellbeing, the company’s strategy is rooted in the belief that if employees are healthy in mind and body, sickness absence levels will reduce and engagement and productivity will be enhanced.

Here, Lesley Baxter, Head of HR at Oxford BioMedica, talks about their focus on health and wellbeing and why she believes prevention is better than cure.

“We offer a range of health and wellbeing benefits, including private healthcare insurance, life assurance, a childcare voucher scheme and a health cash benefit plan as well as an employee assistance programme and health screening. We have also aligned our training and development to health and wellbeing, delivering programmes of how managers can manage themselves and their teams.

“Health screening, which we offer to employees as a voluntary benefit, is available from Bluecrest. It’s an important element of our health and wellbeing focus and enables employees to be in control of their own wellbeing, catching any issues before they become a problem.

“We have actively promoted the service and to date approximately 5% of employees have taken up the service. A key factor that makes the health screening so attractive is the opportunity for employees to claim back part or all of the cost of the screening through the company’s health cash plan, which makes it a particularly affordable and accessible. They can also choose from a basic MOT or a more in-depth screening and the service is also flexible enough in terms of locations and appointment times to enable employees to fit sessions around their work and personal commitments.

“Bluecrest have also taken part on benefits days at the office, actively engaging with employees about what’s involved in a screening and letting people find out more about their BMI, for example. The first session we had was such a success that another was held at the end of July 2017.

“The health screening reports are very detailed and informative. I’ve had a couple of appointments myself and have found the information very accessible and my GP has even commented that the reports are user friendly!

“Anecdotal feedback from employees who have already used Bluecrest has been really positive; one reported that their screening had flagged up blood pressure issues and after seeing their GP and being referred to a specialist the issue is in hand. Another found out about a heart issue which, if undetected, would certainly have worsened. But by being identified in the screening, it’s now being managed.

“As an HR team we rely on our internal social media platform to promote the health benefits that are available to the workforce, as well as communicating the importance of them through our induction programme and our employee handbook.

“Looking to the future we’re planning more benefit days and internal training, as well as working with our benefits partners, such as IHC, to ensure we have the latest posters and programme marketing material to hand.

“Working with IHC has been a particularly important element of the development of our health and wellbeing strategy. We have a great relationship with the team there; if we call, they’re always on hand to support with advice or information on the products and services we have or are looking to introduce.

“I hadn’t worked with an intermediary before and was sceptical about the value they could offer. In the past I had been used to working with individual providers directly and negotiating contracts and terms, but as part of a small and busy HR team, it has been so much better to have IHC as part of our team to research and recommend the products, services and providers that are right for us now and in the future.”

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