Corporate Health: A holistic approach to employee well-being and organizational success

On October 10, 2023, the Health Hub Vienna Meetup covered the topic of Corporate Health. The focus of Corporate Health has shifted from solely reducing workplace accidents to a more holistic approach. This transformation has been driven by the changing landscape of workplaces, particularly influenced by the rapid pace of digitalization.

Prioritizing employee health is more than a strategic choice—it’s a reflection of a company’s values. By sending a message that employee well-being matters, organizations cultivate a positive workplace culture that thrives on mutual respect, care, and support. This nurturing environment enhances employee loyalty, commitment, and a sense of belonging.

In an era where top talent seeks holistic well-being, offering comprehensive corporate health programs becomes a powerful recruitment and retention tool. Companies that genuinely care for their employees’ health create an appealing workplace that stands out in the competitive job market. Such efforts foster higher employee retention rates.

In his opening statement, Florian Frauscher, Director General for Economic Affairs, Innovation and International Policy at the Federal Ministry Republic of Austria Labour and Economy, pointed out the significance of corporate health for Austria, as sickness is costing approximately 2.2% of the GDP or nine billion euros. For a solution, he mentioned co-creation as a collaboration between corporations and startups for developing new ideas in the corporate health field.

Stefan Pohl, Head of Employee Experience and People Analytics, AOP Health, emphasized the importance of proactive corporate health initiatives. He argued that these initiatives are crucial not only for preventing health issues but also for managing health crises that may arise among employees. Communication is key for engagement in these initiatives.

Pohl advocates for hybrid health solutions that are easily accessible, available 24/7, and considerate of the needs of employees’ families. He suggests that a good corporate health offering can help differentiate a company in the market, thereby attracting and retaining top talent.

Silvia Geier, COO at Instahelp talked about the importance of mental health in the workplace, emphasizing that even small interventions can have a significant impact on daily lives. One of these interventions is ‘box breathing’, a technique borrowed from the Navy Seals that helps maintain focus during high-stress situations.

She stresses the importance of transparency and trust in mental health services. Companies can support this by communicating transparently about mental health and promoting a culture of acceptance.

Werner Wutscher, Founder and CEO New Venture Scouting discussed the concept of co-creation, emphasizing the importance of involving various stakeholders to find solutions. This is especially crucial in the health sector, which is often fragmented with a clear distinction between the customer and the payer.

Wutscher points out the necessity for corporations to be open to innovative solutions often offered by startups. On the other hand he emphasizes the importance of understanding customer needs – entrepreneurs can sometimes be too focused on their products and fail to align them with what the market requires.

Christoph Schnedlitz, Managing Director of Mavie Work GmbH, with experience as both a startup founder and a corporate employee, emphasized the importance of understanding customer needs rather than wants. He suggests that while customers may express superficial desires, the challenge lies in identifying the underlying need. This involves understanding technology and innovation, and not just focusing on the technology itself, but obsessing about the customer problem.

In the context of corporate health and co-creation, leaders are advised to be curious, and open to collaboration with a wide range of partners, from universities to startups. It’s crucial to build trust within these collaborations and to be bold in pushing the boundaries, to be flexible and quick to act. You will need to have a culture where mistakes are accepted and learned from. A structured yet open approach is recommended, rather than blindly following trends.

Five recommendations, given throughout the panel discussion:

  1. Corporates should approach collaborations with startups with an open mind, focusing on customer needs, and not strictly on predetermined outcomes.
  2. Startups need to understand the corporate environment and manage expectations appropriately. They should focus on delivering practical, fast, and trustworthy solutions.
  3. Corporates should measure startups with different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) than their usual suppliers, understanding that startups bring innovation and require a different assessment criteria.
  4. Corporates should incentivize employees to use preventive health measures by creating a healthy work environment and culture. This can be driven by the current war for talent, as healthy employees are more engaged and productive.
  5. Addressing different health needs of employees based on their individual motivations can lead to higher engagement in corporate health programs. It’s important to offer a variety of health activities to cater to various personas.


The organization of the event was supported by Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy


About Health Hub Vienna Meetups:

Health Hub Vienna meetup series is an informal, open forum inviting stakeholders, clinicians, selected start-ups, and partners to focus on the future and best practice in implementing solutions in order to speed up the adoption of innovation and, thus, change in healthcare.

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