TALK | Petra Mühlbauer, Director of Human Resources at Edenred Germany: “I wouldn't want to work in a company like this!”

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TALK | Petra Mühlbauer, Director Human Resources at Edenred Germany:

Edenred Germany was recently voted one of the top 100 employers in the Great Place to Work award for employee engagement. The second part of the interview is about sports, healthy eating - and about that Company should not interfere too much in the health of their employees.

Petra Mühlbauer is Human Resources Director of Edenred Germany. After studying in the hotel industry in Austria and Asia, she studied psychology and education at Hagen University and worked as an HR consultant. Since 2011, she has been responsible for personnel management at Edenred Deutschland GmbH, which specializes in state-sponsored employer grants in the form of food vouchers and credit cards for employee retention. She is responsible for 100 employees at the Munich, Wiesbaden and Hamburg locations.

Here writes for you:

Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


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Mrs Mühlbauer, what about the ergonomics of workplaces?

We already thought about the ergonomics of the workplaces when we moved into the building. For this purpose, lamps with daylight lamps were installed, organic swing chairs and height-adjustable desks were purchased, and our screens are adjustable with eye-friendly ”resolution.

We regularly provide information on the ergonomically correct workspace so that the employees also know the angle at which they should adjust their desk.

For departments, which make a lot of calls, there are special noise protection measures. We are currently in the process of increasing the number of green plants in order to improve the indoor climate.

In addition, we bought a massage chair, which stands in the resting room and which the employees can always use in between to relax and afterwards again fitter and motivated to go to work.

Do you have your own sports facilities?

No, but in the neighboring building is a gym. The office area has a swimming pool and we have a separate shower. This allows employees, for example, to get to work by bike.

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And the pool is used?

Yes, in the summer, some employees jump into the lunch break. After work, some of them pass by with their children to swim here.

How do you deal with the smokers in the company?

Smoking rooms are not available. Smokers go for fresh air.

Google or Facebook are known to offer employees free, healthy food - what about Edenred?

Employees will receive a tax-privileged menu check with the value of 6,00 Euro per working day. These ticket restaurant vouchers can then be redeemed at nearby restaurants, supermarkets and bakeries. Our employees are free to choose what they want to have for lunch.

We are, however, browsing the menus of the restaurants and giving tips on healthy eating. To this end, we work together with external, certified nutrition consultants.

Once a year, at the 16. October, the World Food Day, a nutritionist comes to our company - an action that we carry out throughout the Group. We try our employees then, for example, with a quiz playful approach to the topic and thus eg to sensitize for ingredients and nutritional value of food. We also provide guidance and guidelines for correct BMI measurement.

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We also have a communication platform called E-Lunch. Our managing director invites employees or teams to cook together once a quarter. In the process, joint projects are discussed and questions of employees are answered in a casual conversation. Again, we try to bring as healthy food on the table.

At the same time, various US IT companies were also criticized because they even interfere with the family planning of their employees - keyword social freezing. Do you see a danger that companies could interfere too much in the health of their employees?

I do not see any danger. We do not write to the employees. There is, of course, a certain group dynamics, and everyone has to think about the extent to which he can be involved here.

Employers should provide advice and action when employees need it, no more and no less. Companies need to be flexible to approach employees when they ask for support. Therefore an open corporate culture is important, which promotes the coexistence.

However, I oppose ready-made corporate programs that dictate or even monitor employees' food and health-conscious behavior. In addition, that would certainly be a problem with German labor law.

But also in Germany, the first health insurance now monitors health-conscious behavior with smartwatches ...

If a company starts with the attitude that it should only work with young, dynamic, lean non-smokers, then I wish the company a lot of success, but do not believe that such a position is to be held permanently in the market. I would not want to work in such a company.

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For example, we have a trainee with a physical disability who is fully integrated. If we plan trips and activities, then only those in which they can participate. Employees are looking for the employer and also talk about what happens in the company - that's where we come back to employer branding. That's why it's so important to be an employer here.

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