The Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest employers in the private sector. On December 31, 2019, we employed a total of 671,205 people, which includes the Chinese joint ventures. This figure represents a 1.0% increase compared with the end of 2018. The ratio of Group employees in Germany to those abroad remained largely stable over the past year; at the end of 2019, 44.3 (44.1)% of the workforce worked in Germany.
Human resources strategy and principles of the human resources policy
With the functional area strategy for Human Resources – “Empower to transform” – the Group is continuing with key and successful approaches in its human resources policy. These include the pronounced stakeholder focus on corporate governance, comprehensive participation rights for employees, outstanding training opportunities, the principle of long-term service through systematic employee retention and the aspiration to appropriately balance performance and remuneration. At the same time, the new human resources strategy is setting innovative trends. Hierarchies are being dismantled, and modern forms of working such as agile working – an approach whereby most of the responsibility for the work organization is transferred to the teams – are set to be expanded.
In the Human Resources division, we are guided within the framework of our strategy by five overarching objectives:
- The Volkswagen Group, including all of its brands and companies, aims to be an excellent employer worldwide.
- Highly competent and dedicated employees strive for excellence in terms of innovation, added value and customer focus.
- A forward-looking work organization ensures optimal working conditions in factories and offices.
- An exemplary corporate culture creates an open work environment that is characterized by mutual trust and collaboration.
- The Company’s human resources work is highly employee-oriented, strives for operational excellence, and yields strategic value-added contributions.
During the implementation of our enhanced future program TOGETHER 2025+, we paid particular attention in the reporting period to the level of achievement regarding the goals set by the applicable strategic KPIs. For the passenger car-producing brands, we compile and analyze the following information:
- Internal employer attractiveness. This indicator is determined by asking respondents, as part of the opinion survey, whether they perceive the respective company as an attractive employer. The target for 2025 is 89.1 out of a possible total of 100 index points. A score of 85.6 index points was achieved in the reporting period, contrasted with 84.2 points in the previous year. The scope of this survey extends beyond the brands that manufacture passenger cars.
- External employer attractiveness. The ability to recruit top talent is of decisive importance, particularly in view of the Company’s transformation into one of the world's leading providers of sustainable mobility solutions and the associated development of new business fields. We use this strategic indicator to check the positioning of the major passenger car-producing brands on the labor markets once a year with regard to graduates and young professionals. Rankings in surveys conducted by renowned institutions, in which we aim to achieve top scores for the Group brands featured, serve as the basis for this. In fiscal year 2019, the Audi, Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brands recorded slight improvements year-on-year, and partly achieved the targets set, while Porsche, ŠKODA and SEAT fully reached and even exceeded them in some cases.
- Diversity index. Given the cultural diversity in our global markets and the growing economic momentum, success in a highly competitive marketplace requires an ever-wider range of experience, world views, problem-solving solutions and product ideas. The diversity of our workforce provides potential for innovation in this area, which we aim to make better use of in future. As we establish diversity management across the Group, this strategic indicator is used as a percentage of the active workforce worldwide to report the development of the proportion of women in management and the internationalization of top management. In particular, it underpins the objective of the human resources strategy, which is aimed at contributing to an exemplary leadership and corporate culture. The proportion of women in management amounted to 14.3% in 2019, up on the prior-year level; we aim to raise this figure to 20.2% by 2025. We aim to increase the level of internationalization in top management, the uppermost of our three management tiers, to 25.0% in 2025; in the past fiscal year this was 18.4 (19.2)%.
One strategic indicator has been defined for the financial services business:
- External employer ranking. This involves taking part in external benchmarking, in general once every two years. The aim is to position ourselves as an attractive employer and derive appropriate measures to achieve a ranking among the top-20 employers by 2025, not just in Europe, but globally. Volkswagen Financial Services AG was represented in various national and international best-employer rankings the last time it participated in 2019. Coming in 11th place, it was among the top European employers in the “Great Place to Work” employer competition.
The implementation of our enhanced Group strategy TOGETHER 2025+ has been accompanied by a work package that we defined with the Excellent Leadership module under the slogan "versatility, integrity, strong leadership” to drive the change toward a cooperative management culture that places even more focus on integrity. Management development and training will undergo fundamental change and an even more systematic approach to succession planning will be taken to ensure that the Group has the right people available for the right positions at the right time.
We continued to implement our new system for staff development across the Group in 2019. Going forward, the development paths that lead to management will be characterized by greater individual responsibility, transparency and practical relevance, and will include employees from different levels of the hierarchy in the evaluation of candidates.
To address the challenges of the transformation with success, the Group and the employee representatives have signed agreements for the future that will position the Group’s individual brands more efficiently and also structure employee career prospects. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand’s roadmap for digital transformation is one example, as is the Audi brand’s Audi.Zukunft agreement, both of which were announced in fiscal year 2019.
We are also driving large-scale cultural change to achieve greater openness and transparency in line with our corporate strategy. The seven Volkswagen Group Essentials define the shared underlying values and the foundation for cultural change across all of the brands and companies:
- We take on responsibility for the environment and society.
- We are honest and speak up when something is wrong.
- We break new ground.
- We live diversity.
- We are proud of the work we do.
- We not me.
- We keep our word.
Group-wide activities such as team dialog and the role model program encourage employees to analyze the Group Essentials and incorporate them into all work processes. In the role model program, managers from all brands improve the corporate culture together with their staff.