The Augsburg Journey – Seven Steps to a Healthy Business

Steinbeis experts provide support with the promotion of occupational health management

Healthy Work, the core competence center at the Institute for Effective Management, a Steinbeis Consulting Center, helps businesses of all sizes and sectors of industry with programs aimed at promoting the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of workers – a key factor in safeguarding the financial health of a business. To achieve this, a team of experts led by business psychologist Dr. Simon Hahnzog has had success using the Augsburg Journey, a process model for planning effective occupational health management (OHM).

The Steinbeis experts from Augsburg offer a unique blend of consulting skills, innovative digital training, and diagnostic solutions. These are aimed at supporting clients and their employees on every step of the journey toward introducing healthy work practices.

From responsibility to profitability: the process of designing a successful occupational health management.

Step 1 – take responsibility

The main idea of the first step is that senior management should take responsibility for the welfare of the business. Occupational health management must be acknowledged as a key ingredient of company culture and the business strategy – from top to bottom. People should be encouraged and supported, because this is one of the most valuable investments that can be made in safeguarding the future of a company. Assuming the company adopts the right approach to OHM, there are very few areas in business where a return on investment can be expected to achieve a ratio of 1 to 2.2.

Step 2 – expand competence

The second step of the Augsburg Journey is about expanding skill sets within the company. Ultimately, it’s not as if any company has never thought about occupational healthcare, otherwise they would have disappeared some time ago. For healthy working practices to remain effective in the future, especially in strategic terms, it’s important to train the people who will be responsible for planning, designing, and implementing OHM.

Step 3 – set up OHM

As soon as people have been identified to take responsibility for OHM and they have acquired new skills, a professional occupational health management system needs to be set up. In terms of processes, structures, and strategies, this will not differ from other management systems. It is therefore essential to draw on previous experience at the company.

Step 4 – sensitize workers

Once the OHM system has been set up at the company, it’s time to sensitize staff. You can’t simply order people to adopt healthy working practices. Instead, everyone has to work together in creating a healthy company. Aside from providing clear information, it’s important that everyone is encouraged to actively design healthy practices for themselves and everyone else at the company. The managers at the company play a key role in this respect.

Step 5 – assess stress factors

There are a number of reasons why it is important at this point for a healthy company to assess factors that create stress for people at work. Not only is this a legal obligation in  all EU Member States (Council Directive 89/391/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work), but also, much more importantly, to introduce OHM you have to know which measures will be needed in which areas to promote occupational health. Starting everywhere at the same time, like using a watering can, not only wastes energy, time, and money – more often than not it gets you nowhere.

Step 6 – introduce measures

Once both physical and mental hazards have been assessed, the first concrete measures for promoting occupational health can be introduced. These measures only achieve their full potential, however, if the company has also previously considered the other steps of the Augsburg Journey.

Step 7 – strengthen profitability

“If all seven steps are followed with the necessary conviction, and the company prepares, introduces, and implements OHM in the way described in the Augsburg Journey, it has an impact,” says Simon Hahnzog from many years of experience. When workers improve their health, they become more active in carrying out their work and they become more reliable, and this also improves the health of the company. A company can then also improve its employer branding, especially if it operates in a difficult labor market, and it will be more successful in recruiting personnel and improving loyalty. In addition, it will also meet compliance guidelines.

The portfolio offered by the Institute for Effective Management, a Steinbeis Consulting Center, includes the following consulting services, which are tailored to the Augsburg Journey:

  • A certification course on occupational health management, designed to prepare people responsible for OHM for the tasks they will be involved in.
  • Tangible support from the Steinbeis experts by working alongside clients and offering multi-professional experience in organizational development, change management, and innovation management. On request, the experts will also organize consulting to take place alongside health insurance partners such as Barmer or Techniker Krankenkasse.
  • There is an online video tutorial on healthy leadership for sensitizing managers. Participants are taken through practical instruction modules via a tutorial website called Career Training Online, offering a variety of tools and techniques for boosting knowledge in order to fulfill management roles – healthily and effectively.
  • Simon Hahnzog shows how to conduct a professional risk assessment of mental workload strain, providing clear examples in a video tutorial. The Steinbeis experts have also posted a video on the Career Training Online website for customers.
  • The Institute for Effective Management is also the first company to offer virtual “keep fit trails” in any chosen location. The Steinbeis Consulting Center’s solution, GEMARA, is based on Interest, the innovative learning app. Users are offered a selection of different “power journeys” using geotagging to promote their physical or mental health – without major effort – while taking a walk during lunch breaks.


Dr. Simon Hahnzog (author)
Academic Director of the core competence center for Healthy Work & Resilience
Steinbeis Consulting Center Institute for Effective Management (Augsburg)