For a healthier working environment
The start-up DearEmployee analyses the company culture and derives recommendations for action
More and more companies are committed to creating healthier working conditions – faced with a shortage of skilled workers, they do so also to remain attractive. The Berlin-based start-up DearEmployee offers an ideal tool.
Looking at the data aggregated by DearEmployee across Germany, one can observe disturbing conditions in the labour market: In 58 percent of companies, employees are stressed by time pressure and, in 45 percent, by constant work interruptions. Fourteen percent of employees feel burnt out. On average, employees were able to name five job-related physical or psychological ailments, including sleep problems, back pain, or eye pain.
The findings are based on roughly 25,000 surveys from more than 200 companies. Customers of DearEmployee hope that they can better position themselves in times when skilled workers are scarce – by examining the central building blocks of a positive company culture: health, motivation, and commitment to the company.
Based at Charlottenburg Innovation Centre (CHIC), the start-up is not satisfied with simply taking stock of working conditions: “We take action based on the data,” says Amelie Wiedemann, scientific director, and co-founder of DearEmployee. While conventional analysis tools left their customers alone with the results, Wiedemann’s team prepares the results to provide immediate insight into how the physical and psychological working conditions of a company can be improved.
It starts with DearEmployee exploring the organisational structure and areas of activity of every company at so-called kick-off workshops. It is only then that a corresponding survey is set up. The key question components have been scientifically validated in cooperation with Free University of Berlin to make sure that data on relevant health-related aspects are also being collected. The issue of labour intensity, for example. To precisely capture this condition in the questionnaire, employees rate the following statement using a 1-to-10 rating scale: “I work under high time pressure.” Anyone selecting ten here is obviously under massive stress. Wiedemann says: “With normal questionnaires, however, you wouldn’t be able to understand where the time pressure comes from.” For this reason, the surveys of DearEmployee allow respondents to give reasons for their responses by clicking so-called tags. On the time pressure issue, respondents can choose between tags like “It’s too much work for one person” or “I am continually interrupted while working”. “This makes it much easier to understand the problem,” explains Wiedemann.
The tool then automatically analyses the data from the questions and tags. Using an online dashboard, the human resources department can see directly how employees are doing in terms of health, motivation, and corporate loyalty, and the specific risks they are exposed to. The survey results also provide direct recommendations for measures such as suitable apps for skills development, problem-related workshops, or, if necessary, the provision of immediate psychological help.
“Conventional survey tools try to measure and increase motivation in the company,” says Wiedemann. “But more is needed in times of a skilled staff shortage. You need to know: How do I make sure my people are willing and able to perform? And in your own company, if possible.” Finding this out takes 25 minutes using DearEmployee – and is highly effective. In the first year, customers were able to reduce the number of people at risk of burning out by an average of 32 percent.
Shea Westhoff for POTENZIAL