Key topics | Health management

Why health management pays

“For us, when it comes to health, it’s not just a matter of reducing absenteeism. More importantly, we want to create an environment that’s fun and interesting and motivates our employees to further develop Bertelsmann”

Bernd Hirsch | Chief Financial Officer, Bertelsmann

“We can no longer afford to develop activities in an uncoordinated manner: Health must be a top priority at Bertelsmann and everyone has to pull together to ensure that employees can do their jobs in a healthy and motivated way.” 

Kai Brettmann | Chair of Group Works Council, Mediengruppe RTL Germany and the European Works Council, RTL Group

“The pressure to perform is increasing in all areas. We have to enable our employees to stay healthy because we need them. Health management isn’t a luxury for a company, it’s an economic necessity.”  

Elke Schanz | Chair of Group Works Council, Gruner + Jahr

The changing economy and society

Today’s challenges, which also affect media, services and education industries - and therefore, Bertelsmann - make it increasingly important that investments in employee health are made.

How we work together is changing, e.g. due to new technologies, international competition and the request of completing tasks in a faster work pace with a minimum of resources at the same time. This also influences the well-being of our employees. In addition to the changed working conditions, demographic change and an ageing workforce are particularly prevalent in the industrial nations. Bertelsmann also faces the challenge of keeping its employees healthy and productive until retirement age. In addition to economic and social changes, the change in the spectrum of illnesses also plays a role. Whereas infectious diseases once dominated, today's chronic diseases, which are attributable to our modern lifestyle, dominate worldwide. Companies then have to deal with diseases of the musculoskeletal system, psychological illnesses, as well as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. 

The worsening shortage of skilled employees is, at the same time, making it increasingly important to be an attractive employer to new employees as well as existing qualified employees. Health-promoting working conditions help your company recruit and retain qualified employees.

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Workplace health management: A classic win-win situation

In our changing world of work, a well-functioning health management system is a decisive success factor. The benefits are obvious:

Employees are a company’s most important resource. To remain successful, healthy, motivated and efficient employees are essential. The situation is comparable to team sports: if the majority of your team is injured, you’ll rarely win.

Health management can contribute to a good working atmosphere, communication and teamwork and in doing so, promote job satisfaction and general well-being. If employees feel comfortable, performance and motivation increases. Employees solve problems and carry out tasks more effectively, make fewer mistakes, have fewer injuries and work more productively. Using a systematic action approach, illness-related absenteeism and fluctuation, along with the corresponding costs, can also be reduced. Additionally, such efforts can improve the company's image: well-trained specialists feel valued and remain loyal longer - especially as their ability to work remains strong until retirement. And while all of these are great advantages for the company, most importantly are the benefits to the employee who spends a large part of her or his life in the workplace. Workplace health management is thus a win-win situation for everyone.

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Business factor health: The numbers

Workplace health management pays off – also financially. This is, what the German Health and Work Initiative (iga) regarding to its evaluation of around 2400 studies concludes in its latest report.

According to the study, companies can save 2.70 euros for every one euro they invest in the health of their workforce by reducing absenteeism alone (iga 2015). But it is not only lower numbers of days of work incapacity that demonstrate the payoff: satisfaction, motivation, productivity, working atmosphere, employee recruitment and retention is also positively influenced (see section above). Although the overall level of the cost-benefit effect depends on various factors of the company and health management, it averages 1:4 (iga 2015). This means that you can save four euros per euro invested. Prevention is therefore worth four times as much! Investing in healthy work is therefore not only a question of social responsibility - it is also a financial necessity and the basis for the long-term competitiveness of the company.

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