Helios Ambassador Program

Case Study
Kulturwandel und das Denken in Rollen

Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was of the opinion: "If you have visions, you should see a doctor". Perhaps there is some truth in that.

Challenges in focus

The big question mark

Helios not only employs many doctors, but also has a clear vision: "We give people a life worth living. For a lifetime." This sentence is underpinned by mission and guiding principles. But how can these initially theoretical considerations be anchored in the behavior of all employees at the hospital sites?

Stefan Möslein, Leiter Interne Kommunikation und Unternehmenskultur

"Corporate culture is like the shadow of an organization. It is simply there. For better or for worse. With our measures for better collaboration, respectful cooperation and cooperative leadership, we want to strengthen solidarity within the company."

Anamnesis - initial situationMedical history - initial situation

In terms of the number of employees and sales, the Helios Kliniken Group is one of the largest providers of inpatient and outpatient care in Europe. In Germany, Helios has 87 clinics, 120 medical care centers (MVZ) and ten prevention centers.

In order to anchor the vision and guiding principles at the hospital sites, local people are needed to make them known at each site and translate them into site-specific terms. To this end, the Internal Communications and Corporate Culture team launched the Helios Ambassadors:inside program at the beginning of 2023. The aim of the program was to generate energy for change that would enable changes at the interaction and behavioural level at the sites. After a one-day kick-off at the beginning of 2023, the ambassadors worked together in digital meetings every 2-3 months and were provided with a method kit and a digital organizational location, the myhelios intranet, by the Internal Communications team.

Diagnostics - hidden pathology

In January 2024, another face-to-face meeting was planned, where the goal was clear: to share best practices, encourage each other and gain even more momentum. During the preparation process, it became clear that a key challenge was to clearly define the roles within the program in order to strengthen internal trust.

"The BarCamp was an experiment. This unconference gave us an even better understanding of where our ambassadors' shoes pinch, what they need and where they are already making an impact."
Stefan Möslein, Leiter Interne Kommunikation und Unternehmenskultur
A glance at the key figures
Clinic locations
Helios Ambassadors
Participants at the BarCamp
clear roles

Treatment plan - how to absorb the energy of change

First of all, a distinction had to be made between position and role, so that the framework was set within the program so that medical directors, nursing directors, nursing staff, press spokespersons, administrative staff or works council members could work together on an equal footing. After all, being an ambassador is an additional role to the day-to-day position for which each person was hired. It was important to clarify the responsibilities of the people who take on the role.

Differential diagnosis - what exactly it was about

Not only the role of the ambassadors had to be defined, because we are all connected in organizations. The positions of the hospital management and CHRO also form an important basis for change with their behavior. The role definitions in the ambassador program, which are linked to these positions, ensured that the ambassadors had the support and backing they needed.

"We are convinced that working towards a better corporate culture is not just a management task. That's why we initiated our Helios Ambassadors:inside program. Because culture is created by the employees."
Stefan Möslein, Leiter Interne Kommunikation und Unternehmenskultur

The special feature of the role definitions lies in the organizational structure of Helios. On the one hand, the Group is hierarchical and provides the sites with a vision and mission or structures for the Ambassadors:inside program. On the other hand, Helios is decentralized in many areas. The ambassadors themselves fill their role with measures on site and each hospital management team also has a great deal of decision-making freedom. This means that Helios needs the ability to implement guidelines on the one hand and negotiate tensions and ambivalences on the other. By defining the three roles around the program, it is possible to manage this area of tension.

"Our ambassador network stands for the cultural change at Helios. We sense a vital corporate culture, also due to the pressure for change from outside and the growing willingness to change from within."

Treatment successes - the internal BarCamp as a highlight

The most important takeaway of the day for all participants was that they themselves can become effective ambassadors every day by sharing positive things and naming the glittering moments of the day in order to finally get out of corona fatigue.

Over 60 participants dared to address ambivalences and actively shape the future at the Helios Ambassadors:inside BarCamp in January 2024. Participants were encouraged to share their own sparkling moments and actively participate in shaping the corporate culture, which helped to generate energy for cultural change.
CHRO Corinna Glenz also fielded questions from all participants and encouraged active engagement with ambivalence, with four times as many topics coming out of the topic pitches as we were able to discuss. The topics ranged from retaining older employees to identification with the location compared to Helios as a whole. The topic of roles was also in demand and could now be clarified in such a way that the newly created clarity provides sufficient certainty that the ambassadors can become even more effective.

Impressions of the Ambassador BarCamp in Frankfurt

Final conclusion on the course of treatment

The Helios Ambassador:inside program has proven to be an effective tool to spread the Helios vision and mission throughout Germany and to drive a working environment in line with the Helios-wide guidelines. Through clear role definitions, internal encouragement and participative formats such as the BarCamp, change energy can be generated that brings Helios one step closer to its mission every day. The support of managers such as CHRO Corinna Glenz is crucial to the success of the program.