Promoting the health and performance of employees more systematically – consulting with Swisscom AG

Multi-stage absence analysis at Swisscom AG

Client: Martina Novo, Head of Corporate Health Swisscom AG

Effective employees are absolutely vital for business success. Many companies have realized that occupational health management pays off. But where do you begin to promote the health of employees in a company? An analysis of health-related absences can shed light on the matter.

The challenge

Health-related absences are becoming more frequent throughout Switzerland (Federal Office of Statistics, 2016). Swisscom AG also faces this challenge, which is why the company hired Bright Answer:

  • to analyze the reasons for this development on the basis of anonymized personal data;
  • and to use the results of the analysis to propose areas for action, in order to systematically promote the health of employees.

It is usually difficult to estimate the costs of analyzing large volumes of data with relatively open questions. Moreover, the questions become more specific during the analysis process as more and more information comes to light. In these cases, the ‘bright answer’ is an ‘iterative approach’. In other words, we divide the analysis process into several phases – from an approximate overview to fine detail – while gathering feedback from the client on an ongoing basis.

The process

When clarifying the assignment, the actual question and iterative approach were specified with the client. This enabled both parties to set mutual expectations. Working with the client to determine the data pool was also another key piece of preparation. Here, it was necessary for Bright Answer to find out how the relevant metrics are implemented precisely in practice, in which quality the data sets are available and to what extent comparability can be maintained over time despite reorganizations and changes.

Bright Answer then prepared the data and analyzed them in several iterations. For instance, following an initial rough analysis, Bright Answer consulted with the client in order to decide which additional detailed questions were to be answered. The final results were presented in a clear manner, commented and reflected upon with the client in terms of specific areas for action.

The solution

The order clarification indicated that a holistic analysis of the data would almost certainly provide the right answers, but it would also be rather costly. However, it would have been too risky to only examine a few experience-based assumptions, since this would fail to uncover hidden issues. In this specific case, the iterative approach proved highly successful because it facilitated a healthy balance. The client had a good overview of the analysis process at all times and therefore clearly understood the findings. The analysis was able to reveal a manageable number of areas for action, which allow Swisscom to systematically promote the performance of its employees.

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