FAN - More health desired - whole company changed

2009 – FAN, Freien Alten- und Nachbarschaftshilfe (Company for Free care for elderly and in the neighborhood) is a private healthcare company in Ennepetal, Germany that supplies  care for elderly and nursing, home help, meals service and advice regarding housing in the region. They have 95 employees.

Workplace innovation
In the period summer 2009 to summer 2010, in response to high levels of absenteeism, several innovative measures were taken based on a Potentialberatung (competence consult).
The board was expanded from one to two people and the middle management was strengthened as well. With all the staff there was an agreement made about  what his or her area of responsibility is; in this area the employee has to solve the problems that may occur. There were created new supportive  jobs such as ‘the caretaker’ that relieve professionals of tasks that can be performed by non – skilled workers; in other words: job differentiation. Within the teams is recorded  what is whose responsibility. Measures have been taken to strengthen the team spirit. And regularly there are discussions about joint clients who for example are cared for by the team of nurses and by the team for domestic help as well.
The communication has been improved including the introduction of ICT systems; patient records are now available for all employees and in all locations.
Now they do even more training. There are two mentors appointed who should encourage and monitor to the professional development of their colleagues. For older nurses this provides an opportunity to do less demanding work. To encourage taking courses a bonus system was introduced; if an employee does more than the two required courses he or she receives bonus points that can be converted into cash at the end of the year, depending of the results of the institution.

In the near future the company wants to develop further  the care-concept and organizational structure. They are now working on the transition from functional care to patient-centered care. And they want to introduce flexible working hours. This is a sensitive issue for the employees that is difficult to solve at the same time because the company provides services 7 x 24 hours.

The immediate reason to seek advice and to implement major changes in the organisation, were the high absenteeism among staff and at one point even the illness of the director.

In the 90s the company has grown rapidly due to the  increase of  the demand for health care and the support of many grant programs. And the competition increased as well. By this evolution the company felt  the inadequacy of a business driven by ideals only on the one side and the need for a commercial and professional sound business. This has led to a great time pressure and workload for management and staff.
In addition, in the first decade of the new century, the quality requirements greatly increased as well as the required technical skills. And there is a great shortage of trained professionals in the labor market which implies that there should be a good working environment  to maintain good skilled workers and attract new ones.

In 2009, the company sought and found help in the form of a Potentialberatung (competence consult),  a subsidy of the country North Rhine Westphalia and co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF). With this grant a consultant could be engaged.
There were done an age-structure-analysis and a survey. It emerged that the absenteeism did not correlate with age but with the length of service. There were also identified friction and competition between departments and teams and in one team there was lacking confidence in the leadership.
For these employees ‘healthy’ means: fit, employable and active.
All employees participated in workshops to find solutions for  the problems that they had identified.
The Quality Circle already set, in which all sectors and departments are represented, was appointed as a steering committee for the implementation of the measures. 

Absenteeism has become much lower in 2010, there are at the end of that year, no long-term sick people. The atmosphere in the company  has been improved and there is no more high turnover. The employee satisfaction and communication have improved.
The director has time for activities where he is good at: commercial and socio-educational activities and negotiating.
The staff have become more versatile, because they know better of each other what they do.

Krupop, Frank Stefan: Mehr Mitarbeitergesundheit gewollt – gesamtes Unternehmen verändert…. Potentialberatung bei der Freien Alten- und Nachbarschaftshilfe (FAN), in Ennepetal (More health for employees required – whole company changed … Competence consult for  Free care for elderly and in the Neighborhood, FAN, in Ennepetal, Germany.). Heft 3/2010. The article (in German) is given in the Annex.
For more information about the instrument ‘ Potentialberatung’, follow the link:

Topics : Talent development, Teamwork , SMEs

Sector: Life sciences And Health

Source: Case