Employee well-being

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IBM’s culture of health reflects our belief that we are only as strong as our people. Our ability to better serve our clients and our communities depends upon employee well-being. Health and safety must span every aspect of our global business. Our systems and programs are widely accessible and reflect the changing needs of IBMers — how and where they work and live.

We continue to transform our total health management system to evolve with employees’ needs, global environments and technology advances to deliver demonstrable value to our employees’ lives. In 2015, we achieved this goal by adding new elements to established successful methods.

Supporting health through a cognitive experience

IBM became one of the first companies to offer wellness incentives to employees back in 2003, and has continued to devise novel ways to encourage IBMers to tackle their individual health goals with ease and convenience. In 2015, this commitment to innovative incentives took a leap into the cognitive era when IBM launched a new benefit option for U.S. employees: no-cost Apple Watches or Apple Watches at a reduced price, depending on the health plan selected, and two Watson-powered programs. The first, Welltok, has a Benefits Navigator tool for employees that is provided by Watson and allows employees to ask general questions about their benefit plan via mobile. It also provides fitness and nutrition navigation and recommendations for local activities. The second, Best Doctors, is a pilot program that allows employees and family members to ask health-related questions and get connected to second-opinion and expert physician services.

Cognitive systems like Watson are able to understand, reason and learn. Interactions with this Watson-powered app will grow smarter over time and become an invaluable personalized health resource.

— Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, Vice President and Chief Health Officer, IBM Corporation

India builds on a history of program excellence

IBM India’s large, dispersed population of young employees (average age of 28 years) operates in a unique growth market faced with issues such as road safety and infection prevention, rapidly increasing chronic disease and mental health needs. To address these challenges, IBM India has a multi-faceted approach to employee well-being. This strategy was a key factor in IBM’s recognition by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) for health promotion excellence in emerging markets. India’s programs include a wellness checkpoint, a driving safety program, stress management training, a maternity support program, biometric screening camps and wellness advisory clinical support.

Reaching IBMers globally

IBM’s Well-Being Management System (WBMS) reaches IBMers globally with coordinated and consistent delivery of health and safety objectives across all geographies and time zones. First implemented in 1999, this foundational architecture is framed around IBM’s corporate policy of responsibility for employee well-being and product safety. Following International Organization for Standardization (ISO) consensus standards, system components include proactive planning, execution excellence, measurement, and continuous improvement in the areas of employee health and well-being.

To address evolving business priorities, WBMS global objectives are reviewed as part of an annual strategic planning process. New objectives are distilled into initiatives that can be adapted to accommodate localized well-being and safety requirements. In 2015 objectives were implemented in two key areas including improved web-based delivery of employee-centric information, and the design of globalized, accessible training modules on health, safety and aspects of well-being.

Continued external certification of IBM’s WBMS through the Occupational Health & Safety Advisory Services (OHSAS) 18001 certification process has helped improve the quality and consistency of our global implementation of well-being. This global certification has also allowed IBM to fulfill marketplace demands and foster business opportunities through the ability to demonstrate a standardized approach to managing employee well-being to existing and potential clients.

Additionally, all of IBM’s hardware research and development operations in the United States were recognized once again as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Programs star sites. Designed to promote worksite-based safety and health, OSHA’s highest honor recognizes outstanding programs and results.


  • IBM received the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles Global Distinction award in the Emerging Markets category from the Global Business Group on Health (GBGH), and the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles.
  • The Workplace Safety and Health Council recognized IBM IPDL Singapore with the Workplace Safety & Health (WSH) Silver Award 2015 for contributions to exceptional safety, health standards and systems.
  • IBM Germany was awarded Germany’s prestigious Corporate Health Award (CHA) for the second time since 2012.