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Wissenschaft/ Studien Mindful Leadership

Effectiveness of mindfulness techniques
Work context

Prof. Dr. Esch,

University of Witten/Herdecke

"Effectiveness of mindfulness techniques

in the work context"

Search Inside Yourself


is a leadership program originally developed by Chade-Meng TanGoogle developedwoulde and is intended for thatt to make people more mindful, effective and happier.

It aims to bring people into the here and now, into presence and responsiveness to others - in order to make them better leaders and generally happier and more successful. The program was developed specifically for the corporate context; the exercises it contains are very low-threshold and lead to quick success. To date, SIY is by far Google's most successful program.

Companies around the world are increasingly implementing programs to promote mindfulness.The benefits of mindfulness have been proclaimed for some time.

Mindfulness has been proven to help reduce stress, increase concentration, manage emotions, increase productivity, and more.

The practice of conscious meditation, once considered "too esoteric" for the business world, has now become an important part of employee development in many Fortune 500 companies. These include companies such as Google, Nike, General Mills, Aetna, Apple and Loyalty.

In his book Mindful Work, David Gelles explains that Aetna has seen productivity gains of approximately $3,000 per employee since implementing a mindfulness program. This represents a return on investment of 11 to 1. Additionally, significant healthcare cost savings were achieved and employee stress was reduced.

The mindfulness programs at SAP

In 2013, SAFT, a leading software company, conducted mindfulness training. In an ever-changing industry with many unpredictable challenges, the company seized the opportunity to help employees improve their well-being, manage stress, and moreto face new situations with an open mind.

The course has evolved and is now a two-day seminar at 48 company locations worldwide. It aims to improve employee productivity, leadership skills and well-being. According to an article by SAP published on September 3, 2018, over 7,000 employees attended the seminar, which is reinforced by other activities such as afternoon mindfulness sessions, online sessions and shared lunches.

How mindfulness works

Mindfulness training helps people focus their attention on the present moment and become aware of sensations, emotions and thoughtsken who experience them without devoting judgment. Meditation helps manage stress and allows people to organize their thoughts to respond appropriately to situations. Mindfulness also helps increase energy, clearer thinking and increased creativity.

As SAP's partner website says: "If you do too many things at once, you won't get any of them done right and you'll end up feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. So what can you do when it feels like a tsunami "Stop over you for five seconds, close your eyes, take a deep breath and slowly focus on exhaling."

A key benefit of mindfulness training is building emotional intelligence, which is crucial for collaboration and diversity.

Scientists at Harvard University have also found that meditation positively changes the structure of the brain. A Harvard Business Review report explains that mindfulness training changes the operating system in the brain. Instead of activity in the older, reactive part of the brain, such as the limbic system, it favors the prefrontal cortex, the more rational part of the brain.

The evaluation at SAP

To determine their impact on the UnTo quantify company awareness, SAP initiated a survey of 650 employees who had participated in the mindfulness program. Four weeks after completing the seminar, respondents reported a 6.5% increase in overall happiness and well-being, a 7.7% improvement in sense of purpose and satisfaction, a 10% increase in concentration, and an improvement in mental clarity and creativity by 7.4%. They also reported a 5.2% reduction in feelings of stress. These numbers continued to improve even six months after the seminar.

The results that employees experienced correlated with improving business performance and company bottom line. Peter Bostelmann, director of global mindfulness practice at SAP, reported that the company saw a decrease in employee absenteeism and an increase in the Employee Engagement Index. An increase of one percentage point in the index resulted in an increase of between 50 and 60 million euros. In addition, an increase in the business health index of just one percentage point can increase profits by 85 to 95 million euros.

Money is not the motivation

"Our goal is crystal clear: to improve the well-being of employees in the workplace," says Bostelmann, "SAP benefits most when everyone is fully present at work." A program that empowers people to feel good, increase their concentration, and be more empathetic benefits everyone.

This even extends to some of SAP's customers who are also struggling with technology overload. Given the company's success with the program, some customers have adopted its best practices. As a result, SAP now offers Mindfulness Consultants for customers looking to start their own employee training program. This provides the opportunity for SAP to serve as a role model for other companies while strengthening relationships with customers and improving the quality of life for people around the world.

If you would like to read more deeply into the impressive studies on the subject of MINDFULNESS, I recommend, for example, the website of

Mindfulness Association.


Studies (results)

Janssen M, Heerkens Y, Kuijer W, van der Heijden B, Engels J (2018)Effects of MIndfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees’ mental health: A systematic review. PLoS ONE 13(1): e0191332.


The strongest results come in the form of reduced levels of emotional exhaustion (a dimension ofthere are burnouts), stress, psychological stress, depression, anxiety and professional stress. Improvements were noted in mindfulness, personal fulfillment (a dimension of burnout), (professional) self-compassion, sleep quality and relaxation.

The resultse of this systematic review suggest that MBSR could help improve psychological functioning in employees.

Jha, A.P., Stanley, E. ., Kiyonaga, A., Wong, L., & Gelfand, L. (2010).Examinerg the protective effects of mindfulness training on working memory capacity and affective experience. Emotion, 10(1), 54-64.



This study suggests that mindfulness training may help improve working memory capacity and reduce negative emotional experiences. This could indicate that mindfulness plays a role in the regulation of emotions and cognitive functions.

Kabat-Zinn, J., Massion, A. O., Kristeller, J., Peterson, L. G., Fletcher, K. E., Pbert, L., ... & Santorelli, S.F. (1992).Effectiveness of a medicinetion-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 149(7), 936-943.



This study shows that a meditation-based stress reduction method may be effective for treating anxiety disorders. The results suggest that mindfulness meditation could be a promising non-pharmacological option for people with anxiety disorders.


Study: Hölzel, B.K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., & Lazar, S.W.(2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191(1), 36-43.



This study suggests that regular mindfulness practice may be associated with increases in gray matter in certain brain regions. This suggests that mindfulness may promote neuroanatomical changes associated with cognitive and emotional functioning.


Study: Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and healthbenefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57(1), 35-43.



This meta-analysis suggests that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has positive effects on variouscan have any health parameter. The results suggest that MBSR can provide a wide range of psychological and physical health benefits.

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