Good employer


Attractive employment conditions and opportunities for personal and professional development are the key factors for making a company attractive for employees. Particular emphasis is placed on forward-looking personnel development measures and the recruitment and retention of employees. Since both the skills required and the recruitment of employees are strongly influenced by regional circumstances, recruiting is largely the responsibility of local units.

Human resource development

Human resource development remains an important anchor point of the KION Group’s HR strategy. Its core aim is to make even better use of the expertise of all employees, but also to promote high-potential employees in an even more targeted way. In principle, all employees can access human resource development measures. Furthermore, the KION Group attaches great importance to succession planning for key positions. The recently developed Organization Capability Talent Review (see Management approach) established by the Company in autumn 2017 is an effective process that always enables specialist and executive positions to be filled by qualified employees, if possible from within the Company’s own ranks. Talent management is underpinned by the recently created KION competence model that is uniform Group-wide.

All KION Group executives will now also pass through the KION Global Executive Program. Launched in November 2017, it focuses on the topic of leadership – and in doing so it also highlights the consequences for implementing the defined values, core competences and leadership guidelines. These include aspects such as leadership across cultural boundaries, conflict management, and ethics in a globalised world.

The Group companies work together closely in terms of talent management as well as on training and personnel development programmes to systematically identify and develop employees requiring training, high-potential candidates, as well as high-performers and experts in key functions. The individual operating units and Group companies also offer comprehensive training programmes for this purpose. For many years now the STILL Academy has offered subject-specific and interdisciplinary training courses. At Linde Material Handling and Dematic, an internal academy also promotes the targeted development of expertise, particularly in sales and service.

Leadership and promotion

In a company, commitment and motivation are primarily the result of clear leadership based on the company’s values. More than three-quarters of the workforce (78 per cent) receive regular performance and career-development reviews.

The understanding of leadership is set out in the KION Group both at Group and at operating unit level. The uniform, Group-wide leadership guidelines were announced and accompanied by training courses in autumn 2017, coinciding with the launch of the second wave of the ‘Lift up’ programme. The leadership guidelines also play a key role in the KION Global Executive Program, and are incorporated in various modules. Powerful tools such as 360° feedback and targeted projects also support executives in performing their duties. Talent management and, in particular, the recently established Organization Capability Talent Review (see Management approach) also play a key role. Prior to the start of the new process, executives were trained by local HR representatives on processes, the scope and tools. Furthermore, the central HR department provided global web meetings on the topic of OCTR.

As part of the ‘Lift up’ team workshops, all employees are familiarised with the new values and leadership guidelines. By the end of February 2018, every KION Group employee will have participated in a team workshop.


As at the end of 2017, 579 (end of 2016: 580) apprentices Group-wide were preparing for their professional future at the KION Group. In addition, forms of employment also exist – depending on the model typical for the specific country – that include a considerable proportion of training, but which are not formally recognised as being a pure apprenticeship; this also includes apprenticeships at external training institutions that comprise longer periods of practical work experience in KION Group companies. Depending on respective personnel requirements, a wide range of opportunities are open to apprentices once they complete their training. Depending on how well they perform, apprentices are usually taken on by the Company following their training.

Training is organised on a decentralised basis and is geared to local circumstances as well as the individual operating units’ demand for skilled workers. In Germany alone, the KION Group currently offers apprenticeships in 19 occupations such as production, industrial and construction mechanics, mechatronics engineering, technical model construction, and industrial management. Besides traditional vocational training, in partnership with various universities KION offers programmes combining vocational training with a degree course. In this regard, STILL offers part-technical, part-commercial courses based on a 50/50 split, while LMH offers four dual-Bachelor programmes in economics and technology.

Other Group companies at various locations in Europe and beyond also train young people. Among them, Linde Forklift Truck Corp. Ltd. in Xiamen, China, opened a training and development centre over 20 years ago where young people complete a dual vocational training course based on the German model.


All KION Group employees are remunerated in a fair, market-driven and performance-based way, irrespective of gender or nationality. Each national company reviews the remuneration of its individual employees annually, and if necessary adjusts it to take into account the individual’s performance, level of qualification or change in circumstances.

As remuneration models and other benefits are closely aligned with local labour market and statutory regulations, especially tax and social insurance, they vary across the Company depending on the region. In many countries, particularly in Europe, wage and salary levels for many employee groups are regulated by collective bargaining agreements. At all of the KION Group’s locations worldwide, the Company complies with statutory or, where applicable, collectively bargained minimum wage requirements. Owing to its employees’ often very high level of qualification, remuneration is usually well above the minimum wage level. Depending on local conditions, additional benefits such as an occupational pension, insurance cover and healthcare may supplement employees’ compensation.

Following the KION Group’s successful stock market listing in 2013, in 2014 it launched the KION Employee Equity Programme (KEEP). It initially covered Germany and has been gradually expanded in recent years to include further countries where at least 500 Group employees are employed. In 2017 the employees of Dematic group companies in countries offering the KEEP Programme were also included. Further details are provided in the Annual Report.

Diversity and equal opportunities

At the KION Group every employee is valued and treated equally, irrespective of their ethnic background, skin colour, gender, beliefs, political opinion, origin or social background. These principles are laid down in the KION Group’s employment standards, which apply globally and across all of its locations. In the reporting period KION was not notified of discriminatory behaviour, nor of any other instances of non-compliance with its employment standards.

The KION Group is meeting the challenges of demographic change in a way that satisfies local requirements and organisational possibilities. To encourage a sustainable work-life balance, it offers flexible working-time models. Furthermore its employees in Germany can take parental leave, and Company-specific regulations in Germany, such as semi-retirement, also ease employees’ retirement process.

KION Group companies endeavour to offer disabled employees a suitable working environment. Company-specific tools to enable continued employment in the event of physical disability as well as reintegration into the workforce serve to keep severely disabled people in their work environment, to organise support, and to avoid any further barriers or restrictions in the future.

Furthermore, contracts are awarded to production workshops for the disabled to provide them with work; STILL alone places orders worth around €300,000 each year with such workshops.

The share of female employees in the KION Group remained virtually unchanged in 2017 at 16.0 per cent (previous year: 16.3 per cent).

In Germany, the law requires the Executive and Supervisory Boards of publicly listed companies to set targets for the share of women in the Executive Board as well as in the two management levels below that. For the respective targets and further details, see the KION GROUP AG corporate governance section of the Annual Report 2017. Furthermore, binding targets are set for the share of women in the management levels of Linde Material Handling GmbH and STILL GmbH. In principle, the KION Group aims to increase the share of women in management positions. As a technology company the KION Group faces the challenge that it has often failed to hire female engineers, as there is already a lack of female graduates in technical professions. However, it will address the topic beyond gender-specific issues with its diversity project; this was launched in November 2017 and its focus is to eliminate potential diversity-specific barriers to career development.

The KION Group considers itself a global supplier with intercultural expertise. This is proven by the fact that as at the end of 2017, people from 86 different countries were working for the Company. The international nature of the Group is also evident in the appointment of the Executive Board, the management committees and the national companies. Even though local management positions are held predominantly by local executives who have the best-possible understanding of local market conditions and customer interests, the KION Group seeks to fill management positions with international candidates to better meet the Company’s further increasing demands. It also encourages international collaboration between employees through its KION Expat Programme, which allows employees to change to another country where the KION Group is represented.