Thursday, May 29, 2014

We, the customers

We, the customers, are giving us as employees a hard time. This thought crossed my mind during the closing event of our Business & Society seminar at the University of Zurich. This year, the students conducted qualitative research projects on corporate health management. Besides discussing the benefits a company can attain by keeping employees healthy (achieving a return on investment), the discussion also addressed the limits of such measures. On the one hand, employees have to take  responsibility for their own health, thus the influence of the organization on their health is limited. On the other hand, another issue was raised: The closer a department is to the customers, the more pressure there is and the smaller the possibility of reducing the workload (an often mentioned stressor). The customers, in a competitive environment, determine their expectations towards a company. These expectations can be quite high and are only rarely met with a normal volume of work. As a consequence, corporate health management faces resistance as well.