Act before employees are absent

Daliah Kremer, 16.09.2016

Stress at work, personal problems or financial problems: all of these factors can affect mental well-being, but how should line managers react? How do you identify health problems at an early stage? Helsana has developed innovative tools like StayWell and Leaders Care to support companies.

Psychische Gesundheit EN

It is important to take early action: this increases the likelihood that those affected will remain fit for work.

The same employee who worked reliably for many years and was almost never sick is suddenly absent more frequently. Or he makes mistakes, seems to lack concentration or becomes withdrawn. These situations can arise in any company. The earlier health impairments are identified and supporting measures are taken, the greater the chance that a person will remain fit for work.

In its capacity as a competent health partner with a wide selection of services, Helsana has been committed to the early detection of health problems since 2004. The Helsana Business Health (HBH) service is part of occupational health management. Improving employees’ motivation, health and performance is just as much of a focus as reducing absences and departures. “Supporting companies in their workplace health promotion is very important to us,” explains Eliane Stricker, Head of Health Management at Helsana. “Because if an employee’s health problems become chronic, everyone involved suffers.”

Preventing absences from work

Helsana developed the StayWell early detection tool with the support of renowned experts and industry partners. It is a Web-based survey which helps line managers and employees to identify physical and mental health problems at an early stage and to take appropriate measures. The tool is the only one of its kind and was already presented to trade representatives at the International Congress of Occupational Health (ICOH) in South Korea in 2015. “The aim is to prevent any possible chronification of symptoms and workplace absences with the help of StayWell,” is how the Head of Health Management sums it up. The early detection tool takes different areas of life into account (health, social, financial, personal, private and occupational), thus enabling a holistic analysis of the current condition of the person affected.

Solution for line managers and employees

StayWell comprises two platforms with different questions for line managers (third-party assessment) and employees (self-assessment). After completing the anonymous and voluntary survey, employees get the result in the form of an analysis of their personal situation and measures tailored to their current life situation. Line managers also get a personal analysis, supporting measures for their employees and an additional document with all the questions and answers, so that they can discuss the results with their employees. Helsana offers employees and line managers expert support should they need it.

StayWell assists line managers in their leadership duties and empowers employees to take personal responsibility for their health. In order to facilitate the integration of StayWell into companies’ own occupational health management systems, Helsana health managers monitor and support companies closely.

Award-winning training tool

Another online tool which belongs to Helsana Business Health is called Leaders Care. This is a practical training tool which raises awareness among line managers and HR professionals of the significance of mental health problems in the workplace. Another special feature is that line managers are taught in a playful way to be more confident in their actions. Leaders Care was jointly developed by Helsana and experts from Psychiatrie Baselland (the Baselland Psychiatric Service) and with the financial support of the Artisana Association. In the autumn of 2015, Leaders Care was awarded the Aargau Health Promotion Award for its innovative approach. This annual award is given to projects which contribute to physical, mental and social well-being.

“We always try to stay on the ball, to refine our tools and to offer companies even better support,” says Stricker. “After all, healthy employees benefit the company in every respect.”

Why early detection is important

  • Problems manifest themselves early on and frequently in interpersonal relationships
  • Interpersonal problems and changes in work behaviour or performance are better early indicators than absences are
  • The earlier health impairments are identified and supporting measures are taken, the greater the chance that a person will remain fit for work

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