That's how many years of good health Norwegians can look forward to during their retirement. Germans, by contrast, can only expect seven years without physical ailments. According to The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the difference may be attributable to health impacts in the workplace.
In the year 2030, there will be about a third more people over the age of 65 as compared to 2008. 29% of Germans will be over the age of 65.
By 2030, the proportion of persons of working age - generally between the ages of 20 and 65 - in Germany will be about 15% lower than in 2008.
Welcome to the new world of work
New technologies, globalisation, demographic shifts - the modern world of work is subject to constant change. These developments present companies and their employees with many new opportunities - but also a great many challenges.
Digitisation, for example, is heralding an era of new work arrangements. Even now, 79 percent of all employees worldwide would be unable to do their jobs without the use of digital media. More and more companies are offering their employees flexible workplaces. Nowadays they can work from anywhere, whether from home, at the park or in the office - mobile internet and the wide availability of broadband make it possible. Many enjoy the flexibility of a work day unbound from the rigid 9 to 5. But being "always on" can also create new pressures, including the tyranny of continuous availability.
In the age of digitisation, national borders also scarcely play a role any more in the world of work. The world has grown smaller - which places new demands on employees, because transnational teamwork requires intercultural sensitivity and good communication skills.
The evolution of this new world of work is progressing at a rapid pace. People unaccustomed to such rapid change can sometimes feel quite dizzied by it all. Often these tend to be older workers, and there are more of them than ever before – particularly in industrialised countries. The result of this demographic change is that there are fewer young people on the labour market. So, there's a need to keep older workers on longer. This means that more and more companies are having to address issues such as lifelong learning and maintaining workforce employability into more advanced years.
New strategies are needed. This offers opportunities for everybody, because more flexible approaches to work and the shortage of skilled labour open up prospects on the labour market for those who have hitherto had a hard time finding work, such as well-educated immigrants or highly motivated parents interested in working part-time. A positive side effect is the increase in workforce diversity - a success factor for every modern business. This is because mixed teams generate demonstrably higher revenues and can respond more creatively to customer desires.
In 2016, the average age of our employees was 42, putting us roughly on par with other DAX-30 companies.
Fit for the future
The rapid pace of change in the work world and constant change in the marketplace - that's what’s on the minds of our employees. We take their concerns seriously and work together with them to develop solutions.
We take numerous measures to, for example, avoid anything in the workplace that could negatively affect the health of our employees. The healthcare systems in the countries where we operate may vary greatly. But the diseases that usually lead to inability to work tend to be the same: musculoskeletal disorders, mental-health problems and respiratory infections. Cardiovascular diseases and cancer also pose serious risks. Our company’s health policy focuses on effective prevention. And to make this work throughout the company, we exchange information across national boundaries and learn from each other’s experience.
We also do everything we can to prevent accidents at work. "Zero tolerance for accidents" is our guiding principle. We have introduced management systems for occupational health and safety that accord with international standards and norms. These systems allow us to implement occupational health and safety practices systematically, efficiently and effectively. How exactly do we go about this? By continuously recording key data on lost work hours as well as on accidents and hazardous incidents - which helps us in investigating underlying causes. This is followed up by a comprehensive risk analysis to find out where we need to step up our efforts and introduce preventive measures.
Colorectal cancer campaign
We can measure how well our health management system works by whether or not the information we provide on precautionary measures is actually getting to our employees. The high rate of participation in the nationwide campaign for colon cancer prevention and early detection in the autumn of 2016 demonstrates that our commitment is paying off.
During this campaign, our employees and their families were offered an immunologic stool test for the early detection of colorectal cancer. The response was enormous: 2,672 employees requested the test, and 73 percent of them submitted it for analysis. This is a very good response, as acknowledged by the Felix Burda Foundation, which is dedicated to the prevention of colorectal cancer.
In 2016, our workforce suffered 1.9 accidents resulting in loss of work hours out of an average of a million hours worked. One million work hours is the equivalent of about 520 people working full-time for one year.1)
1) assuming 240 work days a year and an eight-hour week
Achieving success through diversity
Whether woman or man, old or young, Catholic or Buddhist, with or without disability, homosexual or heterosexual, immigrant or native-born – we want every employee to feel welcome. Each of our employees has the same opportunities. Our job is to encourage and draw on individual differences. That's why we lend our employees support in a variety of ways, for example by:
- offering programmes specifically aimed at assisting women
- setting clear goals for supporting women in management positions
- creating networks and platforms that bring together like-minded individuals and facilitate knowledge-sharing
- collaborating with respected organisations; we are members of numerous initiatives committed to diversity
Our diverse workforce enriches us. It also makes us an attractive employer for job seekers.
There are 195 different nationalities around the world. 97 of them were represented in our workforce in 2016.
In 2016, the share of women in management positions across the Group stood at 19.6%.
Promoting professional relationships between young and old
There are lots of things that young people can learn from older co-workers - and vice versa. However, the greater the age difference, the more often their views and values differ. But we know that both sides can benefit from their differing experiences. All that needs to be done is to bring them together.
That is what we have been doing since 2016 through our Reverse Mentoring programme. The programme brings together younger and older employees in a professional relationship that allows them to engage in a regular exchange of skills and knowledge. It not only promotes understanding between the generations, but also networking. The programme started with a few "mentor pairs" and now brings together young and old in Germany, Sweden and the UK. Other locations will follow.