Selected measures and projects
CHANGING THE CORPORATE CULTURE
METRO GROUP has set itself the goal of significantly increasing the added value it offers its customers. To realign our business, we need our employees to play their part in and actively live out this realignment. And this is founded on a change in our corporate culture. We aim to create a work environment characterised by open dialogue, diversity of opinions and the systematic implementation of decisions. Based on this, in the reporting year our sales line METRO Cash & Carry developed new guidelines for its employees and started to integrate them into its leadership development. The aim is to have incorporated all the employees into this process in the medium term. Working in groups, they are shown how they can apply the guidelines to their day-to-day work in specific terms. More than 2,600 employees from 22 countries already participated in such groups in 2012.
COMMITMENT TO GREATER DIVERSITY
We respect, appreciate and promote the diversity of our employees and we make a concerted effort to actively foster diversity within our Company. We committed ourselves to this in 2007 when we signed the “Charta der Vielfalt” (Diversity charter). Comprising more than 1,300 signatures, this is one of the highest-profile initiatives for the promotion of diversity in the business world. We also became a member of the association bearing the same name in early 2012. As a project sponsor, we want to play a part in further establishing active diversity management in the working world.
REORGANISATION OF THE GROUP HOLDING COMPANY
Although we made substantial savings in terms of material and project costs in the financial year 2012, we will have to make some workforce changes at our Company headquarters in Düsseldorf. But in reorganising the Group holding company, METRO GROUP still considers its social responsibilities towards its employees. The change process will run until 2015 and will affect up to 105 members of METRO AG staff. There are no plans for redundancies. Instead, the employees will be made attractive offers early on to voluntarily terminate their contracts of employment. A consultancy company contracted by us will provide assistance to the employees with restarting their careers outside of METRO GROUP and will organise the necessary qualification measures. METRO AG will also explore other options to make the staff cuts socially acceptable, such as transferring employees to vacant positions elsewhere within the Group or making use of natural fluctuation.
FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS
Fair working conditions and social partnerships have been an integral part of our business principles since 2004. These principles stipulate our aim of creating a work environment characterised by respect, fairness and partnership. We ran a Group-wide campaign in 2012 designed to remind our employees of these principles and to make them aware of their content. This included producing a flyer which was translated into 26 languages and then distributed in all countries. The content of the principles was also incorporated into a Group-wide newsletter. And to reach as many employees as possible, we also published the key content in employee magazines and put it up in social rooms and on display boards in the stores.
EXCHANGE AMONG EXECUTIVES
In order to nurture a value-oriented leadership culture within our Company, we support our managers in the shape of tailored development and qualification programmes. One such example is METRO University’s new EMBARK programme, which is our primary qualification platform. EMBARK is specifically targeted at executives at the business and section head levels who have only recently assumed their positions. In 2012, the 2-part programme focused on the issues of added value for the customer and innovation. In the first module, the 26 participants were presented with the task of developing innovative business ideas that would offer the customers added value, such as METRO event services or organic ingredients for restaurateurs. Then, in the second module, the executives presented their results and discussed their ideas and findings with experts. In this way, we integrate strategic key topics into our leadership development and assist our managers in expanding their skills in a targeted manner.
SUPPORT IN CARING FOR FAMILY MEMBERS
Having a family member become dependent on care can often take you by surprise and calls for quick organisation to accommodate the new situation. Since 2012, German law has allowed employees to reduce their working hours down to as few as 15 hours a week for a maximum of 24 months, while retaining 75 percent of their salary. When they then return to their full hours, their salary is reduced until the advance they received has been offset. Based on this, METRO GROUP is creating the necessary parameters for supporting its employees as they care for their family members. As early as in 2008, Galeria Kaufhof reached an agreement with the General Works Council regarding a family-friendly HR policy. Employees have been able to put their employer-employee relationship on hold in order to care for a family member, initially for a year and then, since 2011, for 2 years. Real has been offering this family care period since June 2012 too. This makes it easier for employees to reconcile their family and work duties.
Media-Saturn also plays its part, together with METRO AG. In 2012, the companies participated in the “Pflege & Eldercare” (Nursing and eldercare) model project initiated by famPlus GmbH, a provider of measures to support families. The aim of this project is to identify just the right care solutions for people in employment who have elderly relatives or family members dependent on care. Up to 10 Media-Saturn employees and a further 10 from METRO AG were able to sign up for the pilot phase to receive assistance in looking for a qualified carer.
STORE TRAINING SESSIONS TO ACHIEVE TAILORED SERVICE
Regular exchange between our employees at our headquarters and at our wholesale stores is essential to having efficient and customer-oriented processes. We devised a 1-day store training session for executives and headquarter staff in order to actively foster dialogue, interconnection and customer orientation. Beforehand, the participants can carefully prepare themselves for the store-based date using various online training tools. The participants are taken on a tour of a METRO Cash & Carry wholesale store, during which the department heads present their respective areas and give an insight into the store’s work processes. The colleagues from the headquarters also actively get involved, helping to stack shelves or work at the checkout. The first store training sessions were held in 2012 at the wholesale stores in Neuss, Krefeld, Dortmund and Recklinghausen, and further sessions are in the pipeline for 2013.
It is our intention to have an inclusive work environment. This means we offer people with disabilities and limitations due to their health the opportunity to be a part of the working world. The diverse array of options offered by our sales lines demonstrates how we live up to this aspiration every day. At Real, having people with disabilities working in the stores is a matter of course, and has been for quite some time – even before “inclusion” became a concept. For example, the Real hypermarket in the German town of Hallstadt has been actively promoting the integration of people with disabilities since 2004 and has 9 such employees working at the checkout, on the switchboard and in the drinks shop. Based on this, the hypermarket was awarded an inclusion award by the “Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband Bayern” (Bavarian Welfare Association) in 2012. METRO Cash & Carry likewise specifically promotes inclusion. For example, since 2006 the sales line has been looking after the interests of disabled employees in France – not just within the company itself, but also of its service providers and business partners. Galeria Kaufhof gives consideration to its employees and customers in equal measure with its all-encompassing approach to inclusion. For example, the sales line adapts the workplaces of blind employees or of wheelchair-bound colleagues specifically to their needs, thereby enabling each and every employee to make a valuable contribution to the Company. More than 7 percent of the employees are people with a severe disability. In October 2012, the department store company received the 2012 inclusion award bestowed by “Unternehmens-Forum e. V.”, an association that promotes the integration of people with disabilities.