Assessing the Recovery of HR and Research Professionals

Success Story with HR4

HR4 – a company specialized in staff and customer experiences – wanted to support the well-being and coping of its employees. In September 2014, the company offered the staff an opportunity to take the Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment which HR4 is also offering to their own customers. HR and research professionals received information about their own recovery and the balance between working life, well-being and leisure.

“The employees were looking forward to participating in the Lifestyle Assessment. They were excited about the measurement because they got to test our own service”, says Kati Tuovinen from HR4.


HR4 is a strongly growing company specialized in personnel and customer experiences. Founded by four experts, the company has grown its operations to now employ over a hundred employees. The purpose of outsourcing customer and staff research, HR management consulting and
HR services is to enhance the customers’ experience.

“In spring 2012, our Management team tested the Lifestyle Assessment. We got inspired and started to ponder how to commercialize it as part of our service offering. In 2013, Firstbeat trained ten of our employees to be wellness coaches. I am a part of this group myself”, Tuovinen says.

As HR4 conducts Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessments, they arrange follow-up coachings to see the changes in health habits.

Reviewing the Balance between Working Life, Well-Being and Leisure

In fall 2012, Lifestyle Assessment was offered to the entire staff, of which 65 participated in the measurement. Financial support from a pension insurance company supported the project implementation. According to Tuovinen, the aim of the assessment was to support employee well-being through prevention and bring out factors that have an impact on coping.

“It is important that each person finds a balance between work, well-being and leisure. In addition to Firstbeat assessment reports, we organized three wellness coaching sessions after the measurement to ensure effectiveness. The coaching sessions were very popular”, Tuovinen tells.

Sleep and recovery, nutrition, and mindfulness were the topics of the wellness coaching sessions. HR4 typically holds 1 – 2 internal training sessions per month. Well-being was one of the themes of that year and continues as a theme this year.

How to Improve Recovery during the Workday

Work at HR4 varies a lot, depending on the task and time. For some, work includes travel during the workday and for others, the days include long periods at a computer.

“When measuring a large group, there is naturally a lot of variation in the results due to individual factors, such as personal health and life situation. In general, it can be said that at HR4 the staff is rather young and in good physical condition, although at the time the staff was under quite a lot of stress. The discussions brought out wellness methods that could be used to allow better recovery”, says Wellness Specialist Jaakko Kotisaari from Firstbeat.

According to Tuovinen, the results showed too little recovery during the day. Usually
recovery was only seen during sleep, and it was common that the sleep was not immediately restoring.
“In addition, physical activity was not practiced systematically; there were people on both ends ofthe activity scale. On the other hand, many gave us feedback that the three measurement days did not allow more than one exercise session. Many felt that the measurement could have lasted five days”, says Tuovinen.

The staff’s reaction to feedback was positive according to Tuovinen and the results contained no major surprises. The results were displayed in five group reports and a few people got a recommendation to do some follow-up testing. Those who wanted more out of the results were offered a possibility to discuss face-to-face with a Wellness Coach.




Various Sports Activities to Boost Well-Being

At HR4, feeling good at work is an important part of the company culture. Employee well-being is seen as an important factor in creating a good atmosphere, and therefore, it is supported in various ways. Everyone can join in sports activities that range from streching during the work day to different types of events, such as an Easter Egg Hunt or a spring run, and not forgetting the staff’s own ideas.

“Last year, we purchased a few electric tables and gym balls for posture support, as well as elastic bands and sticks for working out during breaks. Additionally, the staff can use the house gym for free and access an open snack bar of porridge, fruits and crackers”, Tuovinen describes.

Overall feeling and well-being are measured half-yearly with an HR research and Pulssi inquiry. Managers organize activities for employees weekly and traditional well-being indicators, such as time entries, sick leaves and health costs are monitored regularly. The plan is to launch a Lifestyle Assessment follow-up measurement, as many would like to know whether their own actions had a measurable impact on recovery.

“If the follow-up measurement is realized, I would like to include occupational healthcare in it. Previously they were left out to keep the results personal. In the new assessment, the results of both measurements could be sent to occupational healthcare in order to make the right kind of follow-up actions”, Tuovinen plans.