It’s a long-term, sustainable response
I think you’ve got to enter into it with a medium- to long-term view and you need to be confident that the program can deliver what it will. I was promoting the program because I did talk to a number of other users before we made that commitment. We had the confidence to enter into it with an expectation of a medium- to long-term association with Move 4 Life. Also, the quality of the trainers is really important. Plus, you then need the commitment of the line leadership to enable people to be released.
I think the value in having everyone from the CEO to the line managers doing the program is that they see the benefit of it so they’re more encouraged to release their staff.
People still get niggles and problems but what we do is we intervene quickly and use the Move 4 Life terminology as part of the process with the employees. I might come up to you and say, “I see that you’re not using your fish wings or you’re not using your power fingers to do that task,” and so we reinforce some of the concepts along the way and encourage people to remember to use them.
We get a lot of that Move 4 Life terminology into our observation processes which happens at a peer-to-peer level on the shop floor where we encourage people to politely pick one another up and then take ownership of the issue.
I think the best thing is that it’s really simple in terms of the concepts that it teaches. It’s different to the run-of-the-mill manual handling or ergonomic type training that you might get; and it’s also applicable in every working environment as it is at home.
From the moment an employee joins Bega Cheese, they’re introduced to Move 4 Life and it just gets embedded straight away as part of the culture and the expectation. Employees know about it. They’re interested in it. They take some ownership of it. So we’re looking after people at work much better, we’re providing them with some skills and abilities even outside of work, sport or leisure, stuff they can pass on to their family, and we’ve been able to channel a lot of the financial savings back into other on-site programs which actually add value to the employees.
Return on investment is strong
Looking at the overall Move 4 Life investment, and the return that Bega Cheese gets for it, I don’t think we’d be here now if there’s wasn’t a return. We’re ten years down the track, we’ve seen sustained gains from the financial performance and Move 4 Life is a key element of that. Millions of dollars we’re talking about over the course of those 10 years, definitely.
We absolutely know that things like our lost time injury frequency rate, our severity rate, our worker’s compensation premiums, have all gone in the right direction. Big time.
Equally, if not more important to us of course has been the fact that we don’t have the human cost of debilitating injuries which some of those issues or chronic injuries were. And we’ve been able to channel a lot of the financial savings back into other programs which actually add value to the employees.
Over the last 10 years our worker’s compensation premium has dropped from 7% of our wages, to about 1% of our wages. Move 4 Life has transformed a number of our employees and is highly regarded within our business as a really fine initiative that engenders a good spirit in the organisation.
It’s not a huge amount of money for the return that we believe we get from it. It’s one of our better efficiencies that we gain in terms of value for money so it’s been a winner!
It creates a lot of goodwill because the company’s investing in a program that is pretty holistic in looking after an employee, not just at work. And they enjoy it. Some of our people have gone home and they share it with their family and their kids and that’s nice too. The leverage and the value that we get from it is probably not really reflective of the modest amount that we need to invest.