Management approach to employees

The primary objective of all HR measures within the KION Group is to support its Strategy 2020 and ensure its targeted implementation. To this end, it aims to employ a sufficient number of very highly qualified and highly motivated employees at all times in every area of its Company and at every operating level. To secure and retain such employees, the KION Group and its operating units position themselves as attractive employers that offer their employees interesting development opportunities. The KION Group is constantly enhancing its employer brands – something that is repeatedly recognised outside the Company too.

Top Employer

In 2016 STILL was announced ‘Top Employer Germany’, marking the fifth time in a row it had received one of the world’s most renowned awards for its HR strategy and employee focus from the Top Employers Institute certification company. This certification is further boosted by the ‘Germany’s best employer’ employer ranking. Based on over 100,000 employee ratings, the German magazine FOCUS in collaboration with the business network XING and the employer rating portal kununu, determines which are Germany’s top 1,000 employers. The critical factors here are recommendation of the company by its own employees as well as other employees’ perception of the company within the industry.

HR challenges

In 2016 the KION Group started a new chapter in its Company’s history which was opened mainly through its acquisition of Dematic. As a result, it offers a unique portfolio of material handling and intralogistics products and solutions. The Company is always developing further. With the breadth of its offering and the number of Group companies and brands, both the international make-up and complexity of the Company is increasing. Above all, the transformation of its organisational structure, which on the one hand takes into account the special aspects of its operating units while also promoting Group-internal cooperation on the other, was a major challenge in the area of HR in 2016.

On top of this, the Company faces varying challenges, ranging from demographic change in the individual regions, to the digital transformation – frequently referred to as Industry 4.0. It is therefore essential in an increasingly competitive world to attract and retain qualified new talent with expertise especially in the fields of software development and IT.

As a strong and successful company with a clear positioning, the KION Group is well-equipped for this battle for young talents and can offer them great employment conditions and development opportunities from an international perspective. At the same time, the KION Group is faced with the challenges of demographic change.

HR strategy further developed

To counter these challenges, at the start of 2016 the KION Group developed an HR strategy which addresses the key aspects of HR work in 16 topic areas (> Figure 16). It launched initiatives for the continued development of HR tools for the topic areas. While it succeeded in implementing some of the initiatives in early 2017, it is still working on others.

Figure 16 The KION HR strategy

Die KION Personalstrategie (Grafik)

The core indicator for developing the KION Group organisation further is the Organisational Health Index (OHI). It is repeatedly calculated and serves as the indicator for the organisation’s performance while also showing areas of action for possible improvement. A characteristic of this method is the benchmarking of its results against other companies. The KION Group performed its first measurements in the summer of 2015, in which it surveyed 1,800 executives and shared the results widely across the Company. At 88 percent, the participation rate was well above the average for the comparison group – and with around 1,350 comments and suggestions to open questions, it proves that the respondents supported the process enthusiastically. Compared to the global benchmark, KION GROUP AG achieved a mid-level ranking (3rd quartile). One of the key survey findings was that there was a need for improvement in terms of clear responsibilities and overarching processes.

Accompanied by its ‘Lift up’ change initiative, it then defined and implemented a package of measures based on the survey results to firmly embed the new Company organisation and establish greater clarity. In addition, a large number of team workshops helped to further improve collaboration within the Company.

In 2016 the KION Group established clear organisational principles and defined responsibilities with its new Group-wide governance model. Examples of this step include its new Group segmentation based on operating units as well as the launch of its Group-wide CTO organisation. Furthermore, it worked hard on integrating Dematic quickly and comprehensively into the Group.

For a Group that is still as young as the KION Group, with its different and, to some degree, very traditional brands, the definition and embedding of core values shared by all employees is a critical success factor. Consequently, in 2016 a moderated discussion with workshops was prepared within the Company which will result in establishing binding values at Group level in 2017. Every KION Group executive is involved in the process, and workshops will also be held at employee level. In parallel to the value process, it will continue developing the corresponding management guidelines and uniform core competencies for the KION Group.