“We will make a commitment to young people at the start of their working lives. We will provide information and support to help them take personal responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. For example, we will promote the importance of exercise, eating well, and good mental health; and we will help those that drink to do so sensibly and those that smoke to stop.”
The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.
What this pledge sets out to achieve, and why it is important
This pledge aims to promote a healthy working culture and lifestyle amongst young people, particularly those entering their first job. The workplace is an ideal setting for communicating messages about health and wellbeing. By introducing young workers to the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, they are more likely to maintain these behaviours throughout their working life and beyond, passing this knowledge on to future co-workers, friends and family.
Benefits to public health
Increasingly, evidence supports the view that work can be good for people’s health and wellbeing. By introducing young workers to the positive link between work and health at the earliest opportunity in their careers, employers can help to foster a healthier lifestyle that can be maintained throughout their working lives and beyond. This will help to keep them in work, maintain the overall health of the working-age population and contribute to reductions in health inequalities.
Benefits to employers/employees
It is even more important to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the working-age population during difficult economic times. Keeping workers happy, healthy and at work can have clear benefits for both the employer and employee. Employers that value and support their employees are more likely to see improvements in the quality of their work and the overall productivity of their business.
How you can deliver this pledge
Because the workplace is such an ideal setting for communicating healthy messages, employers have a central role to play in preventing ill health and promoting health and wellbeing. As employers, you can help to foster a working culture and lifestyle amongst your younger employees that promotes health and wellbeing. You can do this by developing induction programmes specifically tailored for young people that you believe are most appropriate for your organisation but could include, for example:
- The importance of eating a balanced diet, i.e. a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy bodyweight.
- Advice on lower risk drinking habits and the health risks associated with regularly drinking above the daily recommended levels.
- Promoting the benefits of regular physical activity including: reducing the risks of developing long-term/chronic conditions; helping people maintain a healthy weight; contributing to better mental health – helping to combat depression and lead to an improved sense of wellbeing; as well as helping to improve social interaction.
- Information on the dangers of smoking and the benefits of stopping. You should also include signposting to internal or external smoking cessation support and advice.
- General information on the positive link between health and work. This should include information on good mental health. Good mental health is linked to good physical health and positive relationships with family, friends and colleagues.
You may also consider appointing a mentor to support young people through the first few months/year of their employment.
Your pledge delivery plan
Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to. They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to. All delivery plans will be published on this website.
Reporting progress on your pledge
Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year. For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update. Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available. All annual updates will be published on this website.
We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.
Change4Life, Choose less booze – http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/drink-less-alcohol.aspx
The eatwell plate – http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Documents/Eatwellplate.pdf
Change4Life, Healthy eating – http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/healthy-eating.aspx
Change4Life, Be more active – http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/be-more-active.aspx
Local NHS Stop Smoking Services – http://smokefree.nhs.uk/ways-to-quit/local-nhs-stop-smoking-service/