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Company News, 2011-11-04, 09:00 AM

Second “Corporate Health Award” for ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG: Steel producer sets new standards in health management

For the second time in a row, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG has won Germany’s leading prize for health management: the “Corporate Health Award” run by Handelsblatt, TÜV SÜD Life Service, and EuPD Research. The prize is awarded to companies with outstanding health management schemes – of the 237 companies that entered the competition this year, only eleven winners were chosen. Explaining the judges’ decision, EuPD stated: “ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG has received the Corporate Health Award in recognition of its innovative and holistic approaches to raising health awareness and maintaining good health among its employees. Health management is an established corporate value and is promoted through a wide range of actions. The health management system is supported by an outstanding demography project.”

Recognition for sustainable health management

Dieter Kroll, CHRO ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe, collected the award in the “Heavy industry and engineering” category last night in Frankfurt/Main. “I’m delighted that our company health management system has again received such public recognition – what is particularly remarkable is that in our category we were ahead of entrants from the auto industry,” said Kroll. “At the same time I’m proud that ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe has defended its position as best in class – this year and last year’s awards confirm that we are on the right track and our health management is truly unique. Ideally it will be copied all over Germany – because demographic change with an aging workforce is a societal issue for which industry must find solutions.”

Award for health shift, health officers, and health report

What exactly did ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe receive the award for? “The award recognizes a large number of innovative programs and projects focusing on sustainable health promotion in the company. The basis for this is an internal company agreement of 2008 which implements the health management system as a long-term corporate strategy,” explains Dr. Werner Mölders, head of the corporate department health management at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe. “The main elements are our health shift, the nomination of health officers, and our interdisciplinary health report.”

Health shift: Since summer 2010 over 2,000 enthusiastic employees have taken part in a very special kind of health day during working hours. The health shift comprises mandatory modules on particularly relevant medical issues such as back problems and nutrition, in addition to which the employees can choose from a number of optional modules focusing on different health issues. The company-wide roll-out of the health education program means that it reaches all employees regardless of their previous access to health topics. All participants undergo a checkup to assess their risk profile and their capacity for work. To help them achieve the health goals they set themselves, they receive coaching by phone after three months and after six months they visit the company physician for a further checkup and a personal consultation. The program is now being run on a permanent basis, with around 200 seminars a year; every employee is expected to sign up for a health shift every three years. An evaluation is carried out to precisely identify the economic and health benefits.

Health officers: These are specialists who are specially trained for this role. They are generally graduates with degrees in for example psychology or sports science, who subsequently undergo further medical and epidemiological training. The work of the health officers supplements that of the company doctors and safety officers. As part of their wide-raging activities they monitor the health situation at the company on the basis of performance indicators, identify the need for action and develop suitable measures.
Interdisciplinary health report: This is a report that each of the 439 team leaders at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe receives once a year. It contains accurate and easy-to-understand information – for example on sickness absence, risk factor data, numbers of participants in health promotion measures, etc. – for each team leader’s area of responsibility. The reports naturally meet all requirements under data protection laws. The advantage of this interdisciplinary health report over a company-wide presentation is that each team leader can immediately compare his figures – against the company, his own department and other teams. This means that supervisors can see straight away – without specialist advice – what needs to be done and take action to promote the health of the employees.

Programs tailored to specific needs and target groups

“Sustainable health management needs visions and visionaries who are at the same time rooted in working life. Only then is it possible to tailor the company health management process to specific needs and target groups. One aspect of sustainability is providing evidence on the basis of performance indicators that company health management pays – also from a business angle,” says Kroll.

The 2011 Corporate Health Award is presented in eight categories for specific sectors and three special categories. The winners are selected by experts in the field in a multi-stage assessment system. 237 mainly large corporations entered in 2011, including numerous companies listed in the DAX 30 index. The Corporate Health Award honors sustainable company health management programs in the German-speaking area.

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