Better together!

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Better together!: Industry & Social organisation: Enhancing mental health at work.

Hard & Feldkirch, AustriaHard & Feldkirch
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

"Better together" aims at providing a sustainable solution for mental health at work at the big industrial company "Alpla" (15.300 employees worldwide). It is an outstanding cooperation between an important social organisation in the region - Caritas - and an industrial player - Alpla. Social and business knowledge merge. The core: mental health evaluation for 800 employees. Prevention and early action is the key.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In most OECD countries, mental illness, mild to severe, is increasing. The consequences: loss of performance, productivity and employment, increased health care costs. Mental health - a key success factor for any company and national economy. In Austria, the mental health risks at work have to be evaluated by employers and they have to install improvement measures by law. But: mental health programs are not the core business for most. The HR department sometimes has not the specific expertise and/or resources requirede. For this, existing programs often aim at law fullfillment, but not at real employee support. "Better together" goes beyond: Early action and prevention, with a mental health expert team from the social sector (Caritas).

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Caritas - specialized in social casework. Integration and training of unemployed people. Counselling people with multiple health an social hindrances is a routine. This professional knowledge is transferred to the Alpla plant in Hard. -Evaluation of mental and social health risks at the plant. Participation of 800 employees. Scientific and validated questionnaire. 80 questions on health, team and leadership issues. -Group workhops - in-depth analysis of the problem fields -Solution finding process with employees, management, and company owners -Implementation of prevention measures
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

-We establish a monitoring system (evaluation, workshops, employee involvement) so that a lot of absence, illness, loss of performance and health-care cost can be avoided. -Our actions go far beyond law fullfillment. -We are equal partners and learn from each other: social and business are "better together" as we create added value by using the best experts and knowledge from both worlds -It is a bottom-up solution: Employees are deeply involved, participate in the solutions, they get individual counselling by Caritas, if necessary. -in-plant social casework can grant 100% confidentiality, because of the independent partner (Caritas)

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

-Best practice for other employers - "breaking the ice" -Many companies in the region will follow - Health programs and employee assistance will become a standard for all organisations in the region, in Austria, in the EU. - To attract the best people, companies will have to prove that they are good employers by having a professional health management. - Psychological health management is a normal requirement for companies, not a only a “fulfillment of the law”. - Our project will have found many followers in the region. - The EU countries have built up a reputation to attract best people and high potentials from all over the world because we have fair and good working conditions. - The EU uses it’s international influence to encourage other countries/regions to strive for fair and good working conditions.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

All organisations face the same challenge: Not only in Austria mental health problems/risks have increased severely in the past 10 years. Since the Austrian law for Safety at Work (2013) includes mental health, many companies find it difficult to comply, due to lack of knowledge and of experts. Many have opted for self-made solutions, some comply only on a minimum level. This means fulfilling the law, without really doing something for the employees. Without creating a healthier and more encouraging work place. "Better together" goes far beyond. It evaluates, it involves people, it prevents, it supports, it makes two very different partners learn from each other. As far as we know, we are the only project in our region, that has a strong cooperation between a social and an industry partner. Both partners have a strong involvment of ownership, top management and employees.


In the steering team, there are decision makers of both organisations. On the Alpla side, the owner, the Top Management, the Head of HR, the Trade Union Representative, the company physician, and the Human Resources Development are involved. On the Caritas side, there is the top management, HR experts, social workers, coaching/counselling experts. It is important for both partners that top management is involved. The management of Caritas is very fond of this new project and sees the big chance to work together closely with an international company.