Commitment to the employees

Our approximately 220,000 employees are responsible for the success of METRO GROUP and its sales lines. Their dedication and the decisions they take in their everyday work generate added value for our customers and for society. In keeping with our sustainable approach to corporate management, we therefore see it as our duty to create and maintain an attractive, fair and safe working environment. We strive to appreciate the individuality of our employees, foster their diversity and strengthen their personal responsibility. In this way, we help them to implement our corporate strategy successfully and sustainably, and can be a preferred employer for existing and future employees.

Promoting and embedding sustainability awareness

We believe that corporate responsibility delivers the best and most visible results when it is understood as a shared responsibility. We therefore endeavour to make all the employees aware of the impact that their individual actions have on sustainability and to strengthen their personal responsibility. In this effort, we rely on shared values which are embedded in our six governance principles:

  • Customer centricity
  • Global entrepreneurship
  • Success through excellence
  • Trust in our people
  • Authentic leadership
  • Sustainability

The employees’ individual performances are also assessed every year as part of the RESULTS & GROWTH process* with respect to how these principles were complied with (*does not apply to MSH).

Additionally, the METRO Sustainable Leadership Programme encourages young managers to integrate sustainability into their day-to-day work. The programme was conducted for the second time in financial year 2015/16. 24 participants from various sales lines as well as METRO AG and its service companies developed sustainability-related projects which are to be implemented within the next 18 months. Through their work, the employees thus become ambassadors of sustainability, highlighting the relevance of this issue to the various business divisions. In addition, the network of participants inspires people to collaborate and exchange knowledge across the various sales lines.

With initiatives such as METRO Sustainability Day, which was again conducted on the METRO campus and in numerous METRO Cash & Carry countries in 2016, we provide our employees with inspiration for all kinds of sustainability issues in workshops, presentations and exhibitions, and motivate them to take action themselves. METRO GROUP’s internal social media platform UNITED is also a suitable tool for communicating sustainability-related content and knowledge.

Fair working conditions

METRO GROUP has made a commitment to its employees to comply with the company’s self-imposed guidelines for fair working conditions and social partnership, thus implementing the standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The objective is to guarantee sustainably good working conditions for the employees, in so doing contributing to the growth of the company. A due diligence procedure was established to ensure adherence to the METRO principles concerning fair working conditions and social partnership. It is based on the obligation to implement these very principles and contains the inclusion of interest groups, training opportunities, the examination of risks and negative impacts in the various countries and measures for the prevention, correction and control of violations of fair working conditions and in the area of social partnership.

To ensure the transnational social involvement of the employees and safeguard their right to collective labour wage agreements and organising in unions, the Euro Forum performs the function of the European works council of METRO GROUP. In addition, METRO GROUP collaborates with the international union umbrella organisation UNI Global Union.

To sensitise the staff members to issues such as fair working conditions and social partnership and offer them pertinent information, METRO GROUP developed a special e-learning module and introduced it within the company in financial year 2015/16. By 30 September 2016, no less than 716 employees had already completed this training.

METRO Cash & Carry has initiated ongoing checks in the various countries to find out if and to what extent the guidelines on fair working conditions and social partnership are complied with and implemented. In this way, the company is meeting its obligation of due diligence as described in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. METRO Cash & Carry Turkey, MAKRO Cash & Carry Poland, METRO Cash & Carry Austria and METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine have already been audited. Special care is taken in examining the implementation of our guidelines and the uncovering of any human rights violations which are caused by the company or to which it might be contributing. Since October 2016, the factor of employee privacy has also been assessed. Ukraine serves as a model for the expanded audit. This audit is scheduled to take place in another six METRO Cash & Carry countries in financial year 2016/17.

Occupational health and safety management

METRO GROUP promotes fair working conditions and a safe work environment to make sure its employees are productive and motivated in the long term. Aware that this is a win-win situation, it has made a commitment to this in its guidelines on fair working conditions and social partnership: the positive impact of a sound work environment on people’s well-being has been proven and is a known fact. So is its effect on motivation and commitment, from which the company in turn benefits. In a personnel-intensive sector such as trade, prevention, safety and health are crucial. For this reason, we have defined clear and efficient guidelines. We strive towards occupational health and safety management which creates a sounder work environment for staff members and contractors, and further reduces the number of accidents and occupational illnesses.

To ensure the ongoing optimisation of the working conditions in the area of occupational health and safety, we rely on various courses of action and guidelines.

Courses of action and guidelines

  • We have created clear and efficient structures within METRO GROUP at the local level. Occupational health and safety officers who plan and organise the implementation of voluntary and legal guidelines have been appointed in the majority of organisations. They serve as the link between the national and international committees.
  • In January 2016, our METRO Cash & Carry sales line adopted occupational health and safety (OHS) guidelines. These stipulate minimum standards which must be complied with in all METRO Cash & Carry countries, even if local legislation provides for lower standards. The guidelines also contain rules concerning processes and reporting, and define responsibilities.
  • To ensure controlled and continuous improvement in the area of occupational health and safety, METRO Cash & Carry has set itself specific goals. The goals for 2015/16 include, for example, the written voluntary commitment to occupational health and safety by the management in all METRO Cash & Carry countries, the introduction of reporting figures concerning labour-related accidents on the basis of set definitions regardless of country-specific definitions, and the implementation of verified processes that provide swift information about serious and fatal accidents.
  • The Management Board of METRO AG receives reports of accident and illness figures and also changes in these figures twice a year. Starting with the annual report for financial year 2015/16, the causes of accidents and hence the reasons for absences will be evaluated and analysed. At the same time, a summary will be provided on the status. The reports are then also made available to the responsible individuals at the international level. This allows us to recognise the main causes of accidents and develop specific preventative countermeasures, and to adjust our requirements, if necessary.
  • The ongoing communication of the OHS expertise network in international and national meetings as well as regular WebEx conferences are opportunities for the exchange of experience and the presentation of exemplary measures. This dialogue across the various countries and sales lines also contributes to the prevention of accidents.
  • We provide specific information and training for our employees on the issue of occupational health and safety. There are also general online training sessions on topics such as stress and ergonomics, and a library of OHS training is currently being put together. We are editing training courses developed by METRO GROUP companies in such a way that they can be used by all employees and group companies.
  • We have put in motion national and international initiatives, such as OHS Day in April 2016, in an effort to constantly make our employees aware of the significance of occupational health and safety.

METRO AG pushes these general issues in a targeted manner – in close coordination with the occupational health and safety officers, who effect their own measures in their respective areas of responsibility. Regular project development status reports are generated and checks are performed to make sure the projects can be applied internationally.

More in-depth information concerning our efforts for our employees and METRO GROUP’s personnel policy is provided in the employees chapter of the group management report in the METRO GROUP Annual Report.

In addition, we are publishing staff figures relating to sustainability online in the chapter of our key performance indicators of our METRO GROUP Corporate Responsibility Report 2015/16.