Workplace Wellness - Case Study I


IBM is one of the largest globally recognized multinational technology and consulting companies in the world, and is headquartered at the US. IBM has adopted its workplace health program as per a global framework that combines local innovation with the unified strategy-making processes of its globally-connected workforce.

This workplace health program is constantly monitored and evaluated, which allows it to become a centralized program with inputs from all the regional areas of operation. These programs are implemented in all the IBM workplaces around the world, such as India, Australia, China, Europe, Japan, South Korea, and North and South America.

IBM has timely invested USD $80 million in workplace health of its employees in a period of three years, which has helped it save more than USD $100 million on health-care costs.

Healthcare Costs

The IBM program covers key fields under its occupational health promotion by providing scope for physical fitness, reducing smoking, better weight management techniques and stress reduction. It also covers dental, mental, pharmaceutical and other health services. Their healthpromotion framework is built around −

  • monitoring health status of its employees and risk quotient
  • creating healthy workplaces which nurture healthy employees
  • providing good healthcare facilities such as primary care
  • implementing behavioral change programs

IBM’s global health-promotion framework is built around understanding employee health status, assessing their health risk profile, and directing employees to suitable health wellness programs. Some of them are −

  • Mechanisms to evaluate success of health wellness programs
  • Implementing smoke-free policies
  • Making healthy food options available in cafeterias
  • Promoting physical activity, such as using stairs instead of lifts, etc.
  • Providing Flex-time policies for more inclusive performance

IBM’s Health Plan support is aimed towards providing coverage for preventative health screening, other suitable immunizations, and prenatal care. It provides coverage for behaviorchanging issues like stress management, and nicotine substitute therapies. It helps in providing region-specific nutrition-related counselling to people. It promotes physical activity and health awareness.

Population-based approach

  • Reduce recruitment of high-risk employees and keep low-risk employees safe

  • Introduce policies that keep behavioral changes minimal and positive

Evidence-based approach

  • Conduct programs that have a proven track record of success
  • Use findings from previous IBM programs to finalize initiatives


  • Protect sensitive details and records about employees’ health

  • Compliance with law and order with data sharing and information-gathering


  • Levels of participation
  • Behavior change
  • Health status and risk improvement

The business impact through health-care costs, productivity, satisfaction, and brand value was seen in the changes in each IBM employee’s health over time. Even if the direct impact of workplace health programs cannot be detected, still there is a clear improvement in health status, and in the number of people at high health risk.