For 70 years now, industrial relations at Volkswagen have been guided by a social pact that enables employees and their elected representatives to exercise their long-established and extensive rights to have a say in the running of the company. From this a unique model for the cooperative resolution of disagreements between the social partners has evolved. In its human resources policies, Volkswagen explicitly realizes the potential of this model with its focus on conciliation, consensus and continuity in order to
- appropriately remunerate good performance,
- benefit from the careful selection and long-term service of employees to maximize upskilling,
- capitalize on workers’ consultation rights to help drive continuous improvement processes, and
- systematically harness the team spirit of our workforce to achieve our strategic goals.
This approach is founded on our conviction that sustainably excellent performance is only possible if the company is seen to be an attractive employer which, as well as providing a safe workplace where the latest tools are used, offers employees stimulating work, optimally supports them as individuals and is well integrated in society.
On launching its TOGETHER – Strategy 2025 in October 2016, the Volkswagen Group also approved a new “We empower to perform” human resources strategy with five overarching objectives for personnel management:
- The Volkswagen Group aims to be an excellent employer across all its brands and companies worldwide.
- Highly skilled, dedicated employees strive for excellence in terms of innovation, added value and customer focus.
- Sustainable work practices ensure optimal working conditions in factories and offices.
- An exemplary corporate culture creates a work climate characterized by openness, mutual trust and cooperation.
- While striving for operational excellence and strategic added value, personnel management within the Group is strongly focused on employees.
The five objectives of the “We empower to perform” strategy
With its new “We empower to perform” strategy, the Volkswagen Group is continuing to pursue the successful key tenets of its human resources policy. As well as seeking to appropriately balance performance and remuneration, these include its strong stakeholder focus, comprehensive employee participation rights, excellent training opportunities and systematic retention programs. The new human resources strategy is also setting innovative new trends: modern forms of work such as agile working – where managers and team members work together to increase the efficiency with which all tasks are performed – are set to be expanded on many fronts, while collaborative robots will take on heavy lifting work in factories in the future and digital processes will simplify many administrative tasks.
By 2020, the Volkswagen Group will roll out a diversity management system, not only to ensure that men and women are treated equally, but also to prevent other forms of discrimination – against people with performance impairments, for example – and to support the development of each individual employee in accordance with their own particular abilities. In addition, culture change initiatives are already underway to establish flatter hierarchies, a more open form of collaboration and a greater focus on the big picture within the Company’s divisions. To benefit both the Group and its employees, working times and locations are also set to become more flexible. More weight will be attached to social sustainability and it will be systematically incorporated into our human resources strategy: in the future, personnel management will more quickly and consistently reflect social and cultural megatrends, such as employees’ aspirations to participate in decision-making for instance. The traditional focus of personnel management – such as providing optimal support and training opportunities for employees along with the careful planning and deployment of human resources – will also continue to apply.
We have developed our “We empower to perform” strategy against the backdrop of a rapidly changing situation in the automotive industry, where we are seeing the automobile world undergoing the greatest period of disruption in its history. Our human resources strategy is designed to help the Volkswagen Group become a global leader in mobility on a long-term profitable and sustainable basis. At the core of this strategy is our mission to be an excellent employer. In setting ourselves this strategic objective, we are expressly underscoring our intention to remain, well into the future, an outstanding employer whose skilled and high-performing workforce is at the forefront of the automotive value chain.
A first-rate team of this kind does not just come about by accident, however. It is the product of extensive investment and carefully developed concepts for training, upskilling, employee support and – last but by no means least – maintaining and improving health and fitness.