Managing our health management activities
While Group divisions are responsible for the local implementation of health management within their organizations, cross-divisional health-related issues are discussed and agreed centrally by the Board of Management. The Board of Management is kept informed of and is advised on these matters by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), who is in direct dialogue with key health institutions and organizations. The CMO also provides guidance regarding potential crisis scenarios, such as epidemics and pandemics. At the same time, the CMO also consults at the local, operational level, advising the business on new workplace trends, such as new technologies designed to prevent occupational or work-related disease or make jobs easier to perform.
The CMO also heads the Group’s ISO 9001 certified occupational health services in Germany, which includes a staff of some 90 occupational health physicians nationwide. Our health promotion system in Germany is managed by the Central Health Working Group, which is chaired by the Board Member for HR.
Health as a management responsibility
Our managers play an important role in establishing a culture of health and well-being across the Group. We offer them training and other targeted measures to sharpen their awareness of this responsibility and to strengthen their commitment to health management. Well aware of our responsibility for both the physical and mental health of our employees, our executive education program includes a web-based training module called “Leadership and Mental Health”. The training, which is available to all managers across the Group, provides basic knowledge on mental health, stress, and the correlation between leadership and health, and provides managers with solutions for strengthening their own personal resources and protecting their employees from harmful stress. It has already been recognized as best practice in managing mental health risks.
Additional health insurance benefits
Approximately 300,000 of our employees – more than half of our workforce – work outside of Germany. Many of these employees live and work in countries that do not offer sufficient social health coverage. Because we believe that every one of our employees should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, we have established a Group-wide Employee Benefits Program that provides insurance coverage to numerous employees and their dependents where there is a need to supplement social healthcare or where no statutory health insurance exists. Our ability to maximize and control funding efficiencies around the provisions of our insurance program allows our employees and their families access to affordable healthcare coverage.
Global program, local solutions
Our Global Health & Well-being Program offers a global strategy with tailored local solutions, meaning that our health and well-being initiatives and campaigns are specifically designed to address country health concerns. We do this by systematically monitoring health risk indicators around the world, which are then used to develop tailored measures to mitigate the underlying drivers by country. Based on this data, for example, we have increased the focus of our health initiatives in Mexico on combatting hypertension, which is widespread in the region. By contrast, in China our measures focus more on respiratory ailments.
Special attention is given to preventing chronic illnesses that according to the World Health Organization are the cause of 60-80% of deaths worldwide. The WHO has also identified mental illness, especially depression, as a leading cause of disability and a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. In response, we have increased our efforts in the area of health management to combat mental illnesses and depression. In Germany, China and the US, for example, affected employees are provided support through dedicated occupational health experts and employee assistance programs.
Global IT platform rolled out
Central to our Global Health & Well-being Program is the exchange of best practice initiatives and measures across the Group. Our new dedicated Health & Well-being platform, which was rolled out in the reporting year, provides a standardized mechanism for collecting, monitoring and measuring the impact of the various activities being undertaken by our entities around the world. The system is also used to rank measures, which are categorized and awarded points based on our Four Pillars of Health. Business units can accumulate points across the pillars to qualify for discounts on Group-sponsored insurance coverage, freeing resources to be used to further benefit our people and their families locally.
The platform also serves as a go-to reference for information on current health issues and trends, providing access to the most up-to-date articles, studies and research in the areas of health and well-being. This system enables HR managers not only to track the progress of their initiatives and measures but also to see what is being done to deliver health and well-being to our employees in other areas of the Group.