HR strategy*

The KION Group’s HR strategy was revised in 2023. The ultimate objective of the KION Group’s HR strategy is to continue to provide the best possible support for the targeted implementation of the KION 2027 strategy, with which it has been aligned for a number of years. The KION Group’s success in the implementation of KION 2027 is founded on the capabilities and motivation of its employees. In 2023, work continued on implementation of the refined HR strategy, which focuses on areas such as learning & development and talent acquisition.

To this end, the KION Group uses a wide range of instruments, measures, and processes to ensure that there is always a sufficient number of highly qualified, hard-working employees at all levels of its operations and in the various countries. Attractive working conditions and the opportunities for career progression afforded by working for an international group of companies play an important role in this and provide a solid basis for meeting the manifold challenges faced by our workforce and presented by demographic change, digitalization, and other factors in the various labor markets.

Our shared KION Group values*

The shared values and leadership principles of the KION Group were developed and introduced in 2017 as part of an international bottom-up and top-down process.

Since then, the shared KION Group values of integrity, collaboration, courage, and excellence have been part of many HR instruments and are thus well embedded in the Company. For example, they are used along with the six core competencies as a basis for measuring performance in the annual staff appraisal interviews. The leadership principles are derived from and complement the values. They define the conduct expected of managers in the KION Group. They also feature in various manager programs and provide guidance for individual continuing professional development activities.


The average number of employees (full-time equivalents (FTEs), including trainees and apprentices) in the KION Group was 41,552 in 2023 (2022: 40,781).

Employees (full-time equivalents)1

Dec. 31, 2023

Trucks &


Corporate Services







Western Europe





Eastern Europe





Middle East and Africa








North America




Central and South America












APAC excluding China














Dec. 31, 2022










Western Europe





Eastern Europe





Middle East and Africa








North America




Central and South America












APAC excluding China










Number of employees (full-time equivalents) as at balance sheet date; allocation according to the contractual relationship

As at December 31, 2023, the KION Group companies employed 42,325 FTEs, 1,176 more than a year earlier.

Personnel expenses rose by 11.3 percent year on year to €3,169.6 million due to the growth in the average number of employees for the year and to general salary increases.

Personnel expenses

in € million




Wages and salaries




Social security contributions




Post-employment benefit costs and other benefits








Diversity and inclusion*

The KION Group, which has a direct presence in around 40 countries, sees itself as a global company with intercultural awareness: As at December 31, 2023, people of more than 110 nationalities were employed across the KION Group.

One of the ways in which the Company promotes international collaboration between employees is the KION expat program, which gives employees the opportunity to transfer to different countries where the KION Group is represented. International collaboration is also strengthened and put into practice on a daily basis by the many teams whose members are spread out across the globe, for example within the CTO organization or IT. 

The KION Group is taking various steps to tackle the challenges of demographic change, for example by providing, as far as possible, age-appropriate working conditions and organizing healthy-living programs, so that it can continue to benefit from older employees’ experience. As at December 31, 2023, 24.1 percent of employees were over the age of 50 (December 31, 2022: 23.8 percent).

The proportion of the KION Group’s total workforce made up of women was slightly higher at 18.2 percent as at December 31, 2023, compared with 17.8 percent at the end of 2022. To help increase the proportion of management positions occupied by women, the Executive Board of KION GROUP AG has set targets that are published in the corporate governance statement. Going forward, the KION Group intends to fill more management positions internationally in order to better fulfill the continually growing requirements placed on the Company. Many KION Group companies offer flexible working-time models in order to promote a good work-life balance, and the option of remote working was significantly expanded after having being retained following the coronavirus pandemic. A Diversity & Inclusion Council was set up in 2022 with members drawn from the ranks of international managers and the objective of making the Company even more focused on the various aspects of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

One of the council’s first activities was organizing and holding the diversity and integration awareness month in June 2023. The aim was to boost awareness of diversity, equality of opportunity, and integrity and to ensure mutual respect is embedded as a core aspect of this. Unconscious bias, respect, diversity, and support were the four different topics that formed the focus of the month’s activities. Workshops, training courses, keynote talks, and numerous diversity-related events gave employees a deeper understanding of the added value. 

In addition, various initiatives were continued in 2023 that are aimed at reinforcing diversity in the Company. The Group launched the Women’s Mentoring Program for its female managers in 2018, which continued to run in 2023. To further promote equality of opportunity for women and men, the KION Group has been a member of the ‘Chef:innensache’ initiative since 2019, in which it is represented by Valeria Jimena Gargiulo. By participating in this initiative, KION GROUP AG’s ambition and objective is to promote the change of mindset that is required throughout society by exploring new concepts and approaches. KION GROUP AG underpinned these efforts in 2023 by signing the Diversity Charter, in which it has publicly committed to championing a working environment that is free of prejudice and that supports the respect, appreciation, and integration of the diversity that employees bring to the workplace. Finally, KION actively campaigns for a more diverse and integrated work environment through Dematic’s participation in the US in MHI’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee with the aim of sharing best practice across the industry.

Employee Resource Groups are an important element of diversity and inclusion at KION. These groups give employees who share similar diversity profiles or who have similar interests or backgrounds the opportunity to network, collaborate, and grow. The Company actively supports their work and since 2023 has invited representatives of the groups to join the aforementioned Diversity & Inclusion Council. The objective is to improve the prospects and representation of these often under-represented groups. Diversity and inclusion at KION also play a key role in professional development for skilled workers and managers. In 2023, for example, an additional module was integrated into the ‘Fundamentals of people management’ program that is designed to raise managers’ awareness of diversity and inclusion in day-to-day business. Diversity and inclusion also feature at KION in the criteria used to select suitable candidates for the various talent development programs or in e-learning courses.

Development of specialist workers and executives*

In 2023, the global process introduced in 2017/2018 for performance management and succession planning was implemented once again and content was updated. Further improvements were made to performance management and succession management, for example, and special attention was paid to identifying high-potential candidates who will be put on targeted development programs. Since 2018, four cohorts of international high-potential candidates have successfully completed a training course to set them on the path to taking on an executive role. Some of them have already been promoted to an executive position. In winter 2023, the candidates for the fifth cohort were selected.

The first university graduates successfully completed their management trainee program in 2021. Further groups began the program in the autumn of 2021, in 2022, and in the reporting year. 

The KION Group remains committed to introducing new programs targeted at specific groups and to offering its employees interesting career opportunities and flexible, family-friendly working-time models. The Group companies also collaborate closely on areas such as talent management and training & development programs. This helps to systematically identify and support staff across the Group who have potential, who are high performers, or who are experts in key functions.

The KION ITS EMEA and KION SCS Operating Units also have academies that run subject-specific and interdisciplinary training courses to develop employees’ skills, particularly in sales and service.

Training and professional development*

The companies in the KION Group currently offer training for 23 professions in Germany. Besides providing dual vocational training schemes, KION Group companies partner with various universities to offer work placements for students combining vocational training with a degree course. The total number of trainees and apprentices worldwide was 786 as at December 31, 2023 (December 31, 2022: 799).

Sharing in the Company’s success*

Since 2014, the remuneration of the approximately 500 executives has included a remuneration component running over several years that is based on the long-term success of the Company and is granted annually.

Employee commitment*

All KION companies aim to ensure a high level of employee commitment, and so a third global employee survey was conducted in 2023. This survey was designed to collect input from all employees worldwide, strengthen employees’ commitment and motivation, further embed the corporate culture, and thereby support the sustainable growth of the business. A total of 80 percent of the workforce completed the survey, a very encouraging increase in participation of 3 percentage points compared with the prior year. The engagement score (on a scale of 0 to 100) stood at 74 for the third year in succession. The results at Group and Operating Unit level were communicated transparently. Managers shared team results with their employees during team workshops and worked with them to develop ways of further strengthening employee commitment.

Constructive industrial relations should be a permanent feature of a corporate culture that promotes collaboration. KION GROUP AG has mechanisms in place – and not just those that are required by law – to allow employee representatives to directly address Group management and its representatives about matters that are of relevance for the workforce and that inform them of economic factors that are significant to the Company’s most fundamental decisions.

Health and safety in the workplace*

The KION Group attaches great importance to the health and safety of its employees. As a responsible employer, the KION Group endeavors to avoid all accidents and work-related illnesses wherever possible and to maintain each employee’s work capacity in the long term. A comprehensive health, safety, and environment (HSE) management system is in place that covers the Group’s entire workforce with regard to aspects of occupational health and safety and environmental protection. The KION Group’s obligations under its current corporate policy include taking comprehensive precautions to create a safe working environment and ensuring employees know how to avoid risks and accidents.

Occupational health and safety is also embedded as a key topic in KION’s sustainability strategy. In connection with this, the KION Group has set itself the target of reducing the lost time injury frequency rate (upper limit) by 5 percent a year.

In 2023, activities continued to focus on rolling out the mandatory HSE standards at all sites. Numerous training courses and other advisory services in the area of occupational health and safety were provided at the individual sites in this context. Employees can access the HSE standards via the intranet.

The audit program continued in 2023 as a means of ensuring the ongoing systematic management of critical functions. It is based on the ISO 14001, ISO 45001, and other standards and covers the KION Group’s production facilities as well as sales, service, and installations. Corporate HSE audits were also carried out at multiple sites, including in China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, and the US. All sites are scheduled to be certified to ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 by the end of 2024. Continuous improvement will be aided by a self-assessment tool that was rolled out across the Group’s facilities in 2022. The tool allows the degree to which the HSE standards have been applied to be evaluated at site level. In combination with the groupwide HSE risk assessment, this will provide a comprehensive picture of the HSE risks and the relevant risk management measures in place at the sites. Discussion and dialogue within the HSE expert network ensure that experience is shared and best practice is disseminated across the Group. This sharing of information is facilitated by meetings of HSE managers, regular conference calls, a groupwide HSE knowledge platform, and fixed appointments at the plants and sites.

Further information, including on HSE key performance indicators such as the lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) and the illness rate (average illness-related or accident-related absences from the workplace) and on the measures initiated and implemented in 2023, are included in the KION Group’s separate non-financial report, which will be published simultaneously with this report on February 29, 2024 on the KION GROUP AG website.

* The content of this chapter/section is disclosed voluntarily and is therefore unaudited.