Good employer


A large number of different measures make the KION Group a particularly good employer. The opportunities for professional development offered by a global player combined with attractive local employment opportunities are key arguments in favour of KION. Responsibility for the successful recruiting of suitable employees lies largely with the local units. This ensures that local peculiarities are appropriately considered.

Human resource development

Human resource development remains an important anchor point of the KION Group’s HR strategy. As a rule, all employees have access to human resource development measures. The strategy aims to place and promote employees to adequate positions in keeping with their potential and skills. The KION Group attaches particular importance to succession planning for key positions and the promotion of high-potential employees. The Organization Capability Talent Review (OCTR) was introduced in 2017 as an effective performance management process based on the competence model newly developed in 2017.

The Group companies work together closely in terms of talent management as well as on training and personnel development programmes. The individual operating units and Group companies also offer comprehensive training programmes for this purpose. These are targeted at the specific local and regional demands. For many years now, the STILL Academy has offered subject-specific and interdisciplinary training courses. At LMH EMEA and Dematic, an internal academy also promotes the targeted development of expertise, particularly in sales and service.

About 60 per cent of KION Group executives have participated in the KION Global Executive Program so far. Launched in November 2017, the initiative is therefore on schedule. It focuses on leadership – primarily the issues of corporate values, core competences and leadership guidelines. It also includes aspects such as leadership across cultural boundaries, conflict management and ethics in a globalised world.

In July 2018, the internationally oriented KION Transition to Management Program (KTMP) was launched. In a total of three training modules, high potentials from all around the world are prepared for the next step in their careers and take advantage of the opportunity to network within the Group.

Leadership and promotion

Leadership based on the values of the KION Group and clear and comprehensible performance evaluations provide the foundation for people’s commitment and willingness to perform. In the annual feedback meetings held in 2018, around 87 per cent of employees were given a transparent evaluation of their performance and development opportunities.

The uniform, Group-wide leadership guidelines introduced in autumn 2017 are continuously communicated and implemented. The key element in these efforts is the workshops of the ’Lift up’ programme. Consequently, almost all (96 per cent) of the managers surveyed after participating described the workshops as helpful for implementing the values and leadership guidelines.

Targeted talent management is based on the OCTR and various programmes, including a mentoring programme designed specifically for female employees. In addition, the KION Global Executive Program, the new KTMP, targeted management training and regular 360° feedback support executives in performing their duties. Last but not least, the leadership guidelines are regularly discussed in the in-house media.


As at the end of 2018, 601 (end of 2017: 579) apprentices were working at the KION Group. In addition, other forms of employment exist in certain countries – depending on models typical for the specific countries – that include a considerable share of training, but which are not formally recognised as being an apprenticeship. This also includes apprenticeships at external training institutions that comprise longer periods of practical work experience in 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 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 22 occupations such as production, industrial and construction mechanics, technical model construction, and industrial management. In doing so, changes in the work environment due to the increasing digitalisation are taken into account by adapting training contents and offering certified additional qualifications – as, for example, at STILL in Hamburg. Besides traditional vocational training, KION offers programmes combining vocational training with a degree course in partnership with various universities.


It is a principle of the KION Group that all employees are remunerated in a fair, market-driven and performance-based way, irrespective of gender or nationality. Each national company adjusts the remuneration of its individual employees to accommodate the individual’s performance, level of qualification or change in circumstances if necessary.

As remuneration models are closely aligned with local statutory regulations, especially fiscal and social insurance aspects, they vary across the company depending on the specific country.

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 a pension scheme, insurance coverage and healthcare may supplement employees’ compensation.

In the year under review, the KION Employee Equity Program (KEEP), originally launched in 2014, was rolled out in the USA. Consequently, about 80 per cent of the global KION Group workforce can now participate in the programme.

KION Annual Report

Diversity and equal opportunities

At the KION Group, every employee is valued and respected, irrespective of gender, ethnic or religious background, age, culture, social background or other personal characteristics. These principles are laid down in the KION Group’s mandatory minimum employment standards, which apply globally and across all of its locations. In the reporting period KION was not notified of any discriminatory behaviour, nor of any other instance of non-compliance with its employment standards.

For the KION Group, diversity means equal opportunities and fair treatment for all employees, as well as tolerance and appreciation of different ways of thinking. The Group-wide diversity project launched in November 2017 is aimed at eliminating specific diversity-based obstacles to career development. The first measure to be implemented is a regular mentoring programme for female high potentials and high performers. The start of the first programme round is scheduled for early 2019 and the participants have already been selected. In addition, there are individual diversity programmes at the local level, which often focus on regional or national specifics.

The KION Group considers itself a global supplier with intercultural expertise. This is demonstrated by the fact that as at the end of 2018, people from about 90 different countries were working for the company. The international nature of the Group is evident not only in the workforce but also on the management level. Wherever possible, local management positions are held by local executives. Furthermore, the KION Group seeks to fill an increasing number of Group management positions with international candidates. It also encourages international collaboration through its KION Expat Program, which supports employees in gaining experience in another country where the KION Group is represented.

KION Group companies strive to offer employees with disabilities a suitable working environment, facilitate continued employment in the event of physical disability as well as reintegration into the workforce. Severely disabled people receive assistance to be able to remain in their work environment and avoid any further barriers or restrictions. Wherever reasonable, contracts are awarded to institutions that provide disabled individuals with work; STILL alone places orders worth around €300,000 each year with such workshops.

To encourage a sustainable work-life balance, most KION Group companies offer flexible working-time models. Employees in Germany can take parental leave, and company-specific regulations in Germany, such as partial retirement, ease employees’ retirement process.

The share of female employees in the KION Group remained virtually unchanged in 2018 at 16.2 per cent (2017: 16.0 per cent).

In Germany, the law requires the Executive and Supervisory Boards of publicly listed companies to set targets for the share of women on the Executive Board as well as on the two management levels below that. For the respective targets and further details, see KION GROUP AG’s most recent Annual Report, section Corporate Governance. Furthermore, binding targets are set for the share of women on the management levels of Linde Material Handling GmbH and STILL GmbH. As a rule, the KION Group aims to increase the share of women in management positions. Two women were appointed to KION GROUP AG’s Executive Board during the reporting period. The share of women on the Executive Board thus reached 40 per cent, making the KION Group one of only a few companies to meet the criteria for the whitelist of the German-Swedish AllBright Foundation, which advocates for more women and diversity in leadership positions in business. As a technology company, however, the KION Group often has a hard time recruiting female engineers, as there is still a lack of female graduates in technical professions. However, KION is addressing the topic beyond gender-specific issues, for instance with its previously mentioned, Group-wide diversity project.