“Have a break, have a coaching”. Work related interventions in a large public organisation

by Lilly Werk, Nora Laskowski, Beate Muschalla, from Technische Universität Braunschweig

(Photo credits: Markus Hörster)

The intervention site Technische Universität Braunschweig (TUB) is a public university in Northern Germany. It contains about 6500 employees, i.e., 243 managers, 4678 subordinate employees in research and development, and 1497 managers, employees and trainees work in administration. The H-WORK team started offering three different needs-based interventions for all employees and managers up from spring 2021:

  • Job-related individual coaching: a coaching with three sessions in which individual work-related problems are worked on in a behavior-oriented way;
  • Mental health awareness training for managers: in this one-session training, managers are taught how to reduce employee’s psychological stress in the workplace by creating work demands fitting to the employees capacities (person-job-fit, Mini-ICF-APP);
  • Positive resources+ seminar: topics of this one-session seminar are mindfulness, positive mindset, and use of one’s own resources at the workplace.

“One size for all does not fit”

As employees and managers bring very different and individual work-related issues, the interventions must be chosen according to the individual needs. One size for all does not fit.  This became particularly clear in the job-related individual coaching. A mixture of group and individual interventions has proved successful at TUB.

However, the process of implementing the measures was not free of difficulties. Initially, many internal preliminary clarifications were necessary in our public institution. Such implementations must be presented in various committees and councils (data security, staff council), which is a high cost and time factor, and which needs to be considered when planning occupational health means in organisations. In retrospect, the difficult organisational implementation was worth it. Once all the bureaucratic hurdles had been cleared, the offers could be implemented very successfully, and are steadily used by employees.

A selected practical approach to improve the daily work

The individual coaching were perceived as helpful by the participants, as there are many other interventions in occupational health management at TUB in the format of group seminars. In the coaching in contrast, low-threshold individual contact offers space for personal topics. Participants end the coaching by carrying home one selected practical approach to improve their daily work. According to feedback, they benefit from these selected practical means. In the meantime, there are other employees who became aware of the interventions upon recommendation from other colleagues.

We look forward to supporting employees and managers with work issues with the H-WORK interventions again in 2022.