Tackling changes together
The world of work is changing and that is a huge challenge for the industry. We are proactively preparing for change, for example by improving the reconciliation of family and work life or by ongoing measures to further qualify our employees.
The working environment is in transition. The population in Germany is on the decline; the race for employees is on; digitalization and automation increase the requirements to be fulfilled by the employees. We have to address this change. It is the only way to ensure future economic success for our company.
At the same time we are one of the largest companies in our rural locations. We have an important and supporting social function within these comparably small local communities: as an employer and as a company offering apprenticeships. With our corporate strategy we aim at being a role model for other companies in the respective regions.
So in the future we are facing a double challenge: To tackle the change in the working world and to meet our social responsibilities as an important employer.
Our management approach: Employees
In the chapter Employees, the following sustainability aspects play a role: conditions of employment, occupational safety and health, further education and training as well as the relationship between employers and employees. The way we handle these aspects and the objectives we pursue on this path are of particular interest for our employees, the members of the Uelzena eG and local politicians. stakeholder dialogue
Our objectives: We want to be an even more attractive employer, support the development of our employees and keep qualified staff as long as possible in our company. Step by step and year by year we are making some progress in these respects. For example employees with children or relatives in need of care can make use of individual flexible working arrangements if operationally feasible. In 2016 we made good progress and adjusted and expanded our catalogue of measures.
Development and support of employees
Production OC 2015 is a long-term pilot project that started at the Uelzen site. It should improve the work processes in the production departments. The central idea is that employees initiate these improvements all by themselves and in an ongoing fashion. For this task we are further qualifying our employees and senior managers, with more than 50 percent of all appraisal interviews having been completed at the Uelzen site. We will now employ this central tool at other sites as well. Within these interviews, we try to find out how much training our employees want and need so that they can receive further qualification training. If it is found that there is a requirement, we will arrange for respective training. Apart from traditional training, we are increasingly offering online training. In 2016 for example we used an e-learning tool for hygiene and energy management training.
"The corporate strategy in terms of human resources has been implemented in a dialogue with all sites and parties involved. For us communication has priority over speed."
Ina Hinrichs, Head of Human Resources, Uelzena
Health and occupational safety
Within the reporting period, we were able to start a pilot project on the promotion of health at our Uelzen site. For example, it was decided to train employees at their work place in ergonomics. An ergonomics consultant visits the employees at their work place and individually analyzes their body posture. The goal is to draw everyone’s attention to how they can influence their own health positively. We support this with smaller measures: We provide fruit free of charge for everyone and we have established a Uelzena jogging group. We are currently reviewing other measures to be implemented in 2017.
We promote the reconciliation of work and family life. This is why we support our employees financially if they need day care for their children while working.
2016 Results: Employees
Within the field of action “Employees” we achieved an integrated target value of 83.8 percent in 2016. We were able to reach most of the annual targets we defined internally. See also Audit letter.
The indicators show our performance in the individual fields.
Total number of employees (sub-indicator G4-9) as well as total number and rates of new employee hires and employee turnover (G4-LA1): The positive trend continues: In 2016 the total number of new employees rose by 30. There were no open job or apprenticeship positions. Employee turnover was 6.43 percent.
Lost days per employee (G4-LA6): The lost day indicator increased to 0.63 days in 2016. This is still below the value of 0.72 in 2014.
As in the two previous years, the average hours of training per employee (G4-LA9) was 6 hours.
Uelzena’s own indicators
The average age (UG-DA) of our employees has been falling continuously since 2014; in 2016 it was precisely 41.8 years. This means: We have been able to follow the tendency to rejuvenate our workforce. The average seniority (UG-BZ) rose from 13 years in 2015 to 14.2 years in 2016. With that we have reached the 2014 value again. Our apprenticeship quota (UG-AQ) is still 7 percent. This is above-average when compared to the federal average of approximately 5.4 percent (2012).
Our sustainable human resources strategy – overview on targets and measures
Sustainable HR targets
- Our aim is to further increase the appeal of Uelzena as an employer for specialized professionals and managers as well as for young people. This is so that we can meet our need for employees at any time.
- Our aim is to employ all employees - new recruits as well as senior employees – for as long as possible. Therefore, it is important that they are happy, stay healthy and are able to combine their family life with their job. We promote learning at all ages and train our staff according to their needs.
- Uelzena promotes employees who are willing to perform and supports their further development.
Fair working conditions
- The Uelzena Group is considered to be a fair employer who offers appropriate wages regionally and within the industry.
- We offer most of our employees safe and for the most part permanent jobs.
Intense employer marketing focusing on apprenticeship marketing including a new and modern website, online application tools, internships, an increased presence at job fairs and much more.
Training and further education
- We clarify interest in and the need for further education within the scope of frequent discussions.
- Written, precise and reliable training curricula ensure well-structured and transparent training. We accompany and support our apprentices intensely in their professional everyday life as well as during their preparation for tests.
Development of a pilot project at the Uelzen site aimed at raising the awareness of employees and senior managers regarding health issues. For example, we have established jogging and sports groups, hold lectures, invite consulting experts and provide information about topics such as ergonomics, nutrition, exercise, stress and certain diseases.
Reconciliation of family and work life
We support our employees so that they do not have to decide between work and family. For employees with children or other dependent persons, we will endeavor to find individual work time solutions such as part time work, as far as is feasible for our company. The Fami seal which was again awarded to our Uelzen site in 2016 confirms this excellent framework of conditions.