Our health & well-being programmes in action

Around the world, our programmes are addressing the health, well-being and sense of purpose of our employees.


Leading the way through Lamplighter

Lamplighter is our worldwide programme at the heart of our approach to employee health. In 2019, it covered 75 countries, reaching around 81,000 employees (see Targets & performance). Lamplighter provides structure and guidance to local teams on how to develop strategic initiatives around physical and mental health, and it has specific guidance for assessing and improving four modifiable risk factors – physical health, exercise, nutrition and mental resilience.

Programmes such as this have important short- and long-term health and business benefits. In the short term, we expect to see healthier, more motivated and more productive employees, with lower levels of sick leave.

The long-term benefits include a sustainable workforce with long-lasting good health, happiness and purpose. And for our business, we see lower healthcare costs, which in turn also contributes to reducing the burden on public healthcare.

Of course, employee well-being does not depend on a single programme. It’s fostered by a wide range of factors in our culture and workplaces. Making our culture a gender-balanced, inclusive environment through measures such as maternity and paternity pay, disability inclusion, agile working and fair working conditions are all essential, and our work in these areas is described in Advancing diversity and inclusion and Fairness in the workplace. We also have a longstanding programme to tackle HIV/Aids.


Lamplighter is a core part of our Well-being Framework. Its aim is to address local health risks and establish local and national health improvement plans. It includes guidance on managing long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, HIV and musculoskeletal concerns as well as a focus on improving mental health.

Our Employee Assistance Programme

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Support via our Employee Assistance Programme

We believe that everyone employed by Unilever should be just one conversation, one phone call or one click away from support. To meet this ambition, in 2017 we launched our global Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), delivering support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and accessible via telephone, text or web chat.

Our EAP programme provides a range of options which include access to counselling services, mindfulness-based stress reduction courses, life coaching, financial well-being and resilience training. These resources are also available to family groups as well as the individual employee.

We continue to work to raise both awareness and confidence in the service. We are pleased that in many countries, including the UK, Ireland, Canada, Denmark, Turkey and India, take up is above industry averages – showing that employees value this option. We’re encouraging more people to use these resources.

People with purpose

We believe that people perform better and unlock their full potential when they can live and work with 'purpose’. Defining a personal purpose helps employees see meaning in their work and home life and contributes to greater resilience and well-being, enabling them to perform at their best.

We also see purpose as a driver of an ‘owner’s mindset’. That means employees work with an entrepreneurial spirit and feel a strong sense of ownership of Unilever’s success. And we’ve found it builds empowerment and collaboration within and between teams, too.

In 2017 we developed our People with Purpose initiative and workshop to bring this potential to life.

'Discover your purpose' is driving transformation

Tim Munden

Tim Munden, our Chief Learning Officer.

“If we want to build a purposeful business with purposeful brands, we need to encourage everyone to bring their purpose to work.

Our data insights suggest that having a strong connection to purpose is a strong driver of growth and our 'Discover your Purpose' workshop gives people the opportunity to articulate their personal purpose and put it at the heart of their development and their career.

People who bring their personal purpose to the workplace also feel engaged and positive about their well-being and their development at Unilever. Since we launched our workshops in 2017, more than 51,000 people have discovered their individual purpose.”

Good health is good business

Euros money

Return on investment in our Lamplighter programmes for every €1 spent

We’ve commissioned multi-year studies to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of our health programmes. These analyses examined risk prevalence data across ten lifestyle-related risk factors over a decade (2008−2018). We also looked at data around programme participation, programme investments and median annual compensation. This data helps us determine the productivity savings associated with changes in risk prevalence.

Our aggregated results show that for every €1 we spend on Lamplighter programmes, we see a return of €1.49 – indicating that good health really is good for business.

Monitoring occupational illnesses

Our World Class Manufacturing and Occupational Health teams work together to make our factories and offices healthy places to work. Our programmes cover the prevention of work-related illness and occupational diseases, ergonomics, environmental health and protection from noise and enzymes. We track our progress via Occupational Illness Frequency Rate (OIFR) which measures the number of work-related ill health cases per million hours worked. See Monitoring our safety performance.