INQA-Coaching supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing tailored solutions to meet the challenges of digital transformation, securing skilled labour and crafting an employee-centric sustainable and viable corporate culture. Funding is provided for participative, agile  processes that put people front and centre as the starting point for sustainable change processes at the workplace. The advisory services also support companies in setting up experimental learning spaces to test new ways of working.

How is the consultation process organised?

The programme includes a three-stage, participative consultation process specifically aligned with the needs of the participating businesses:

  • Stage 1: Initial consultation at an INQA consultation centre
    The initial consultation is neutral and standardised nationwide. During this stage, the consultant clarifies eligibility for funding and sits down with the business to identify the specific need for change in the enterprise. Depending on the needs identified, the INQA consultation centre can issue a consultation voucher for the process consultation or refer the business to another regional service. Consultation vouchers can be issued for a process consultation period of up to seven months.
  • Stage 2: Process consultation
    The consultation voucher allows businesses and their employees to take advantage of in-depth process consultation for a maximum of 12 consultation days. The process consultation service is provided directly on site at the enterprise by process consultants authorised for the programme and with the participation of the workplace representation bodies (where such exist) and the employees. It includes an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the business and the development of goals for action and measures, which are then recorded in a binding company action plan. The change processes are then initiated and closely monitored.
  • Stage 3: Discussion of results
    Three to six months after the end of the consultation process, the initial consultation centres evaluate the measures implemented with the participation of the workplace representation bodies (where such exist) or individual employees. At this point, the INQA consultation centre that carried out the initial counselling assesses whether additional consultation and advisory services are necessary, and whether it is possible to refer the business to regional support services for the implementation of individual measures (e.g. from the health insurance funds, the chambers, the Initiative New Quality of Work or other Länder initiatives).

Professional process consultation services make companies fit for digitalisation.

The items funded are:

(1) INQA consultation centres (IBS), which perform the following tasks:

  • INQA consultation services and administrative support for SMEs
  • Quality assurance and ensuring the consultation services have a lasting impact
  • Programme support
  • Publicising the programme in the region

(2) Process consultation for SMEs:
The programme funds process consultation services to support a company learning and development process for a maximum of 12 consultation days. The focus here is on how the SMEs need to change in response to the digital transformation. The consultation services are provided using an agile method. The company is required to involve the workforce in the consultation process.

(3) INQA Coaching Superior center:
A central INQA-Coaching Programme Coordination Centre is designed to help the individual stakeholders in the programme connect with each other and with other programmes and actors, and to ensure and promote the quality of the consultation services.

INQA-Coaching is the successor programme to the ESF programme unternehmensWert:Mensch - uWM plus from the ESF funding period 2014-2020.

Profile of the programme

Target group
  • Enterprises
  • Self-employed
Implementation period

2023.01.01 - 2027.12.31

  • Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
Funding priority

1: Promotion of sustainable and quality work, start-ups and entrepreneurship as well as adaptation to change

To the topic

Additional Information

web­site of pro­gramme


Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales

Referat I4 - Transfer und betriebliche Praxis, Initiative Neue Qualität der Arbeit (INQA), HR-Strategien
Frau Özben Sorgucu
Frau Bruni Tillmanns
11017 Berlin