The way citizens around the globe live and work is rapidly changing. In the developed regions of the world, three main trends are driving change: continuously increasing economic integration, the development of new technologies - particularly in the field of communication and information exchange – and the demographic ageing of most societies.
In Europe, communities are also faced with relatively low average employment rates and high long-term unemployment – a huge challenge for the sustainability of our social protection systems.
Globalisation requires rapid responses from companies and workers. With most sectors of trade and industry under transition towards a knowledge-based economy, competitiveness and survival in the markets depend increasingly on the capacity to be able to manage innovation – both technological and social innovation.
Economic and social changes offer new opportunities for prosperity and welfare, however they may also lead to new risks for those who are not able to adapt to the manyfold challenges. Individuals increasingly are in need of employment security rather than job security, as few will have the same job for life. Healthy employability requires continuous learning of new competencies and skills including taking on responsibility for a healthier lifestyle. Business can play a major role in creating a supportive working life which combines flexibility and security.
Ageing populations, resulting from low birth rates and increasing longevity, are now widespread. According to European forecasts, by 2050 the number of people in the EU aged 65+ will have grown by 70%. The 80+ age group will have grown by 170%. The increasing pressure on the labour market created by an ageing workforce will make it necessary for companies to retain employees at work for as long as possible and to invest in more attractive jobs of high quality.
Health plays a vital part in meeting these challenges. A growing number of companies have recognized this fact and are responding proactively by investing in workplace health and its underlying organisational drivers such as people-centred leadership practices, constructive industrial relationships and corporate policies and values which acknowledge the contribution of workers to the success of business.
"Achieving Business Excellence - Health, Well-Being and Performance" was the subject of a European Management Conference which was being organised by the Network Enterprise for Health (in co-operation with GlaxoSmithKline) on October 30 – 31 in London.
The conference was a European platform for enterprises which combine health, employee participation and corporate culture with business excellence as integral elements of their company policies because they are convinced that long-term business success depends on the interests of all stakeholders being taken into account in a well-functioning community.
The conference was aimed at decision-makers and practicioners - personnel management and production managers alike - and will also attract experts from occupational health and safety and training.
With the participation of practitioners, experts and decision-makers from European enterprises this conference identified and exchanged strategies with which the common vision, 'healthy enterprises in an economically and socially healthy Europe', can be achieved.
The keynote speakers:
The conference venue was GlaxoSmithKline's headquarters in London.
"The Employers Forum on Age" (EFA), United Kingdom, the German demographic network "ddn" and the "INQA", the new quality of work initiative - a joint project of the German federal goverment, federal states, social partners, social insurance institutions, foundations and committed enterprises.