Key topics | Health management

How to implement health management

Approach to health management

You’re looking to implement a health promoting culture successfully and sustainably into your business? Proceed systematically using a five-step management cycle. Note: Following the steps in their consecutive order is highly recommended.

Structural Anchoring 01

Structural Anchoring

First of all, the topic of health must be structurally integrated into the company. Form an effective working group, appoint health ambassadors and clarify potential cooperation with internal and external partners. You can also include health as part of your corporate mission statement or in your leadership principles. All this supports awareness raising on the topic and stimulating a health-promoting corporate culture.

Analysis 02


Create the basis for a targeted approach and analyze the current situation as your second step. Important information on the causes of many problems can be found in Employee Surveys or Psychological Risk Assessments. Employee interviews also provide valuable information (e.g. Performance and Development Dialogues, team and reintegration interviews). In addition, you can use a number of other key figures, such as age structure, fluctuation, absenteeism, accidents at work, productivity or participation figures in existing health services, resources and programming. It is often advisable to refer to existing reports (e.g. from health insurance companies, company physician, social counseling or occupational safety) and compare the figures with other industries or other departments. After the key figures have been prepared and possible anomalies identified, you can begin to derive your fields of action. 

Action Planning 03

Action Planning

Once the current situation has been analyzed and the fields of action identified, it is time for step three: set priorities, derive measures and start concrete planning. The following questions can assist you.

  • What is your overall purpose? What are your milestones and indicators?
  • Which stakeholder groups need to be involved?
  • Who is the target group? How do you reach them?
  • Where are the best starting points for change?
  • What are the greatest challenges? What are the possible hurdles?
  • What is the budget? Are financing resources available?
  • How do you communicate and market the measure?



Implementation 04


In the fourth step, your planning can be put into practice. The success of your measures will increase if employees are informed about the goal and its benefits: What do you want to achieve? Use every available opportunity to draw attention to your actions and their intended purpose. At this stage, it is important that you keep an eye on the milestones and adjust goals if necessary. If the measures are more extensive and long-term, you should write interim reports in order to make course corrections if necessary. 

Success Evaluation 05

Success Evaluation

The fifth step, the evaluation process, is used to assess the effects of the implemented measures and comparing them with the original purpose and its stated goals. It is important not only to evaluate the achievement of objectives, but the process itself to derive your insights. Ideally, the analysis of step 2 should be repeated to obtain a before/after comparison. It is then a good point for decisions to be made on continuing existing measures or making changes to them. Raise awareness on your success and complete reporting. Optimally, step 5 should be followed with the stocktaking of step 1 for subsequent projects.

Success factors: What makes it work!

At Bertelsmann, comprehensive and effective health management is based on eight key success factors:

  1. Anchoring the topic of health in the corporate culture
  2. Top management support for the health strategy
  3. Healthy leadership (read more).
  4. Healthy working conditions and processes
  5. Result oriented approach
  6. Communication to all relevant stakeholders
  7. Empowerment and strengthening of all participants
  8. General communication
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Overcoming typical hurdles

When introducing a sustainable health management system, hurdles and critics are not uncommon.

  1. You don’t feel like it? That would be a shame. Good health management pays off – especially in the long term. And it’s been proven in numerous studies. Inform yourself about the advantages here.
  2. No money? Good health management doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. Additionally, financial and tax incentives are available in many places.
  3. No time? Don’t see the topic of health as an additional task. The best projects are the ones that are integrated into everyday business.
  4. No personnel? Reach out for external support (e.g. through health/accident insurance, consultations) and give an internship to students in the field, which can make the start easier. And you’ll frequently find internal groups of committed employees ready to take on the project.
  5. No participants? This is often the result of unclear objectives and / or a lack of marketing. Project participation is only as good as its communication! 
  6. No idea? This website is a first way to find out more. You can also get in touch with other Bertelsmann managers, other companies and experts.
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