Respect and honesty, openness and fairness, these are the benchmarks that companies and employees use to measure their dealings with each other. We have enshrined them in our guiding principles, which our management developed in 2012 in conjunction with 100 employees from all levels of the corporate hierarchy and all the mills belonging to the German Schoeller Group. These guiding principles also served as the basis for the management principles, which were also jointly developed.
To check the extent to which the objectives enshrined in the guiding principles and management principles had actually become part of our day-to-day dealings with each other, the company had an analysis carried out in 2013 by the Institute for Leadership and Human Resource Management at the University of St. Gallen. The outcome is something we can be proud of: the Osnabrück-based Felix Schoeller Group is one of the best medium-size companies to work for in Germany. Apart from this positive outcome, the analysis also gave us valuable pointers to areas where there is still room for improvement in the working environment. We are now working on these areas.
Motivated in particular by demographic change, the Felix Schoeller Group began to put the health of the workforce at the centre of a number of activities many years ago. This is also enshrined in the guiding principles: we have put measures in place to maintain and promote the health of our employees and at the same time we encourage them to take responsibility for looking after their own health.
The company has made a huge effort to ensure that we are quite literally fit for the future. One way we do this is by encouraging exercise. To this end, a bike-to-work scheme called JobRad was launched in 2015: employees can lease a bike or e-bike and have the payments deducted directly from their gross salary. In this way, they get to do something positive for their health and also save money on the purchase of a new bike.
At the beginning of 2014, the company’s management and the works council signed an agreement on extra cover under the company’s health insurance scheme (Schoeller BKV). This enables employees to opt for additional features under their health insurance policy that give them the opportunity to take part in preventive health measures and also minimise cost risks.
Focusing on healthy leadership
Factors such as globalisation, digitalisation and deregulation are resulting in more intense work processes, along with tougher competition and greater market pressure. This is shifting the emphasis from physical to mental wellbeing. In addition to this, demographic change makes it crucial that we do all we can to preserve and promote the ability to work of our older and younger employees.
The health of our workforce is highly dependent on good leadership in general. It is the foundation for maintaining and promoting mental well-being, whereas poor leadership impacts negatively on people’s mental health. Good leadership essentially consists of a combination of providing inspiration while remaining results driven.
All senior managers were given training to create a cohesive leadership and management approach across the company. These training courses are now being rolled out at production manager and supervisor level.
To tackle the challenges presented by demographic change, the Felix Schoeller Group has developed a demographic strategy, which is based on seven pillars:
- Working hours tailored to the needs of older people
- Schemes allowing older employees to gradually scale down
- Corporate health management scheme
- Training apprentices as a key response to the shortage of skilled workers
- Personnel development schemes suited to older employees
- Organisation and design of work/the workplace
- The company’s attractiveness in the competition for skilled workers and managers
We have developed two websites - www.Ausbildung-bei-Schoeller.de and www.Ausbildung-bei-Technocell.de - to recruit young people as potential trainees. Other activities we carry out at regular intervals include sending people from our HR teams to recruitment fairs in the catchment area of the different mills and publications featuring Schoeller as an attractive employer. At the Osnabrück and Weissenborn mills, the company also supports the Germany Scholarship scheme, which it sees as a way of making contact with local universities and attracting students for graduate positions.