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‘Healthy culture drives healthy business’. SAP hosts good practice exchange event

On 13-14 September, official campaign partner SAP, a leading global software manufacturer, held a good practice exchange event at their headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. Several campaign partners came together to discuss the future of corporate health management and the impact of digitalisation on occupational safety and health (OSH) for a sustainable working life.


Dr Natalie Lotzmann, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of HR at SAP, kicked-off the event with a presentation of the key principles of Industry 4.0 and implications for HR leaders today. SAP puts people at the core of their organisation and, just like their software, the company wants to help people ‘run at their best’ and improve their lives. Their corporate health management strategy focuses on fostering a caring and healthy culture that helps employees reach their full potential and ultimately drives business success.

SAP knows the business impact of a healthy culture and has developed a Business Health Culture Index (BHCI) which measures the general cultural conditions in the organisation that enable employees to stay healthy and balanced, and the financial impact on operating profits. In 2016, for example, a 1% change in the BHCI could impact SAP profits by €80-90 million.

SAP also offers a broad portfolio of programmes to help employees and leaders, including the ‘Run Your Way’ programme which encourages employees of all ages to get active –to counter the negative effects of a sedentary life– using innovative technologies. SAP also takes a personalised approach in helping their executives understand the impact of a healthy culture with their unique one-day ‘Executive Health & Well-being’ programme.

The event continued with Dr Dietmar Elsler and Annick Starren from EU-OSHA, with Dietmar updating attendees on the cost and benefits of OSH project, and Annick presenting on new and emerging OSH risks associated with ICT and work location by 2025. Different scenarios were reviewed to describe how the future world might look like so we can prepare now for possible OSH-related difficulties that both workers and employers may face.

Annick’s presentation highlighted a number of opportunities for OSH in relation to technological advances, jointly with potential risks. For example, the uptake of robotics means that in the future fewer workers will be exposed to hazardous or dangerous situations. And, if well organised, robots may facilitate creating more enriched jobs, for example by automating monotonous or repetitive tasks.

Digitalisation also gives employers access to a more diverse workforce – workers no longer need to be ‘on site’ and it also provides for more flexible ways to combine work and private life which supports a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

On Day 2, a ‘Design Thinking Workshop’ brought participants to a deeper discussion on the future of corporate health management. Participants were split into three groups to look at the challenges from the perspective of employees, health management departments, and at management level. The groups concluded that considering everyone’s needs (employees, managers, customers, and partners) is crucial, along with the need to build trust and a solid business case for corporate health management. 

The event was one of many good practice exchange events that have taken place during the Healthy Workplaces campaign. Campaign partners Sofidel, Lego and Ideal Standard have all held similarly successful events. If you want your organisation to get involved in the campaign then you’re in luck! The European Week for Safety and Health at Work will take place on 23-27 October with hundreds of awareness-raising events taking place across the EU and beyond, organised by EU-OSHA’s network of national focal points, official campaign partners and campaign media partners. Be sure to check the events page to keep up-to-date on what’s upcoming.