Employer attractiveness and a focus on the employees
Striving to ensure good and fair work conditions is a fundamental ethical obligation for us as an internationally operating employer. However, the shortage of skilled personnel is a growing problem, and in Germany in particular we are facing yet another challenge: We are in direct competition with other companies today for the best young job-seekers, and we must demonstrate our attractiveness as an employer in this competitive atmosphere. This is why it’s more important than ever before to listen carefully to our employees when they express their wishes and needs, and to take into account their feedback concerning working conditions and topics of strategic importance for the company.
Positive trend in employee satisfaction. Regular surveys to determine employee satisfaction are an important instrument of organizational and management development at Daimler. We carry out such surveys for the entire Group and its subsidiaries, as well as at individual business units. Standardized methods are employed for the global Group-wide surveys, which focus on the employees’ binding and identification with the company and on their satisfaction with their working conditions and the management. The results of these surveys flow into the Employee Commitment Index (ECI). The employees’ degree of familiarity with our corporate values and our compliance regulations is also evaluated.
In September 2011 we once again carried out the worldwide Daimler Employee Survey as scheduled. The high response rate (73 percent) revealed that the survey is well accepted by the employees as an element of Daimler’s feedback-orientated culture. The ECI value amounted to 63 index points, down by 0.5 percent from the 2010 level, thus stabilizing at an above-average level by comparison with other companies.
As far as the Group-wide themes of “Daimler Excellence,” “Corporate Values,” and “Compliance” are concerned, the acceptance level has remained high. According to the assessments by employees and managers, these themes are firmly established within the company.
The results derived from the full DES survey in 2011 regarding the work and management situation were similar to those produced by a DPC spot check in 2010. Measures implemented to boost team and organizational development, lean administration, knowledge management, and qualification helped consolidate strengths such as professional expertise and dedication. Since then, the company has made progress in addressing the challenges that have been identified. It has done so by, for example, communicating its strategy at dialog forums, presenting professional development paths, and setting up the Business Practice Office whistleblowing system at the company.
The survey confirmed that a number of themes – provision of background information on work-related decisions, opportunities for personal and professional development, and management performance (feedback, contribution to personal development) – contributed significantly to employer attractiveness. Once again, there were very positive responses to the questions of whether one would apply again for a job at Daimler and whether one would recommend Daimler as an employer.
Implementation of the measures derived from the survey is following the tried-and-tested process. The measures are derived from the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the respective organizational unit. The process is supported by multipliers and an activities database containing approaches to solutions.
Making balance possible. Shaped by the forces of globalization and technological change, today’s working environment is generating new opportunities. However, it also requires new solutions, including how to strike a sustainable balance that allows fulfillment in one’s career and also in one’s private life. For us, this challenge is also linked to the question of how we can ensure that our employees are able and willing to give their best performance over the long term. To achieve this aim, we must redesign the relationship between employees and the company.
- Our goal is to establish opportunities for balancing a career and private life that are in tune with modern times, and to do so as a core element of our corporate culture.
- In doing so, we want to systematically promote individualized lifestyle concepts, in large part because they reflect the diversity of our workforce and help us to retain the specialized know-how and valuable experience of our employees, even when they temporarily interrupt or reduce the time they spend at work.
- Measures for balancing work and family responsibilities are important factors when it comes to recruiting qualified young employees and managers. One attractive feature here is our daycare centers for children up to age three in convenient proximity to our locations. We are continuing to expand these facilities. By summer 2011 there were already 11 “sternchen” daycare centers able to accommodate 471 children.
- To determine more exactly the needs our employees have and the difficulties they face in organizing their everyday routines, we conducted a representative survey of our workforce in 2011. We are also collaborating with the Industrial and Organizational Psychology department at Heidelberg University on a research project focusing on life balance.
Survey on Life Balance
In 2011 approximately 6,200 Daimler employees were invited to participate in a survey on their life balance as part of the Life Balance research project. The participants consisted of a random sampling of top-level executives, mid-level managers, foremen, production workers, and office staff members. Thanks to a high level of participation (a 72 percent response), the survey revealed specific expectations, conflicts, and employees’ and managers’ needs regarding a balance between their work and private life. The results of the survey will be integrated into the strategic HR initiative “Staying on an Even Keel: Balancing a Career and Private Life,” and corresponding interventions will be derived from them.
The Life Balance research project
Since July 2009 we have been conducting the Life Balance research project, which is planned to run for three-and-a-half years. “Staying on an Even Keel: Balancing a Career and Private Life” is being conducted in cooperation with the Industrial and Organizational Psychology department of the University of Heidelberg. The objective is to identify and promote appropriate conditions for helping employees to balance their careers and private lives. The first goal here is to determine what needs the various employee groups have. On this basis, tools and processes will be developed and practical processes implemented in order to anchor the ability to balance a career and private life as a basic element of our corporate culture.
In addition to Daimler AG – the largest of the collaboration partners – Siemens AG, the city of Fellbach, Heidelberg District Court and the University of Heidelberg (as an organizational unit) are also participating in the research project. The project is receiving funding from Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is the project sponsor, and the Health & Safety business unit is responsible for the overall project management.
Flexible work as a cornerstone of work-life integration. The findings gathered to date clearly indicate that the vitally important tools for successfully balancing work and private life include flexible working- time arrangements and models. There are currently more than 300 different frameworks at Daimler, ranging from traditional part-time positions to job-sharing models, rotations, and mobile work. They are intended especially for mothers and fathers, older employees, employees with handicaps, employees in rehabilitation or reintegration phases, and those whose capabilities have changed, i.e. employees with long-term disabilities resulting from an accident or illness. We have designed the models to offer solutions tailored to the various life situations of our employees.
In 2010 about 500 employees took leaves of absence ranging from one to five years in duration. About 95 percent of the employees choosing this option take advantage of Daimler’s reemployment guarantee and return to the company. But whereas most men apply for a leave of absence in order to further their education or travel around the world, women often use the time off to take care of their children, and in most cases they then return to the company to work part-time.
|Work time model||Description|
|Reduced daily/monthly/ annual work time||Part-time work models in which daily, weekly or monthly work time is spread out over one to five days, with total work time averaging 30 hours per week. The number of hours worked each day can also vary.|
|Job sharing||Usually two part-time employees (in some cases three) will share one position.|
|Mobile work/teleworking||Full-time or part-time employees work at home or in a location-independent manner on a company-owned PC.|
|Block part-time work||An employee and a company representative draw up an annual schedule that depicts working-time and free-time phases as alternating blocks on a graph. These blocks are placed in the schedule in accordance with anticipated capacity requirements (seasonal production fluctuations, project work etc.).|
|Sabbatical||An employee and a company representative agree on a leave of absence lasting several months or up to a year. It is possible but not necessary to accumulate hours toward this sabbatical beforehand.|
|Long-term working-time accounts||With the approval of the appropriate manager, employees can put additionally required and completed work time that goes beyond the employee’s weekly work time into a long-term working-time account (up to 150 hours per year).|
Parental leave and helping people return to their jobs
In 2011, approximately 2,800 of the Group’s employees went on parental leave in Germany. Of these employees, 1,700 were women (60 percent) and 1,100 men (40 percent). About 230 of the people taking parental leave were managers. All of the employees who went on parental leave returned to their jobs.
Fathers and mothers are offered a parents’ program as soon as they notify the company of a pregnancy or of their desire for parental leave. The parents’ program consists of three elements:
a) information and communication activities, which can also be viewed online from home,
b) various seminars and programs,
c) coaching and orientation for returning employees beginning in 2012.
Managers take part in informational training seminars and receive check lists and guidelines on how to help employees return to their jobs as soon as the company is notified of a pregnancy or receives an application for paternal leave.
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