We believe that curiosity can make great things happen. We therefore seek to provide an environment that gives our employees plenty of scope for creativity and awakens their desire to innovate. In particular, training and career development play a key role. Focusing on their individual strengths, aspirations, and skills, we support their personal and professional development, thereby laying the groundwork for an enriching and challenging career with our company. We endeavor to discover qualified employees at an early stage in their career and develop their talents.
A holistic recruitment approach
When filling job vacancies, we pursue a holistic recruitment approach coupled with globally uniform and binding procedures. This starts with an internal job posting before external channels such as job portals and recruitment agencies are used. This process enables us to offer employees better development opportunities. For employees with leadership responsibility, we offer targeted interview coaching to support them in selecting candidates and to establish uniform quality standards.
A globally accessible welcome portal is available to new employees in order to help them prepare for their new job at the Group and to support their onboarding phase. To further improve the onboarding process, supervisors, Human Resources, and new employees can exchange information and documents before their first day of work. In addition, all new employees are assigned an experienced colleague who can help familiarize them with the daily work routine. Our managers are also given detailed information such as onboarding plans and process descriptions to support them with this task.
Vocational training to recruit young people
Although the conditions were more difficult on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, we maintained a consistently high vocational training rate in Darmstadt, Germany, our largest site, in 2020. A total of 600 young people were enrolled in vocational training in 28 different occupations at our headquarters in the reporting period. We give unlimited employment contracts to all employees in vocational training who work in occupations for which we have sustainable demand. On average, the post-vocational training hiring rate – taking voluntary terminations into account – was more than 90% over the past five years. We also offer vocational training at other sites in Germany, with a total of 607 young employees participating. We promote the professional and social expertise of our employees in vocational training through numerous regional and global project activities.
In Darmstadt, the Starting Vocational Training and Integrating Refugees through Training programs help young people to enter the job market: The 11-month preparation program gives them an insight into working life and readies them to enter vocational training. In this way, we assist young people who have a school-leaving qualification but have been searching for a vocational training position for at least one year without success, as well as refugees who have been forced to leave their home country and are seeking to build a new life in Germany. In the reporting year, we combined the programs so that the participants can learn and benefit from each other. Encouraging cultural awareness in both directions, promoting language development through personal contact with native speakers, and integrating the role model function of highly motivated people are just a few of the benefits of the Starting Vocational Training program. In 2020, the program accepted participants ages 16 to 30.
Targeted advanced training and maximizing performance capability
Our focus on systematic personnel development allows us to sustainably strengthen the performance potential within our company and to increase the motivation of our people. Only by expanding the abilities of each individual can we count on innovative and curious employees and managers in the future and flexibly respond to different requirements.
Employee development at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is founded on regular exchanges and a culture in which employees aspire to high levels of performance and engagement. As the basis for internal strategic talent management, the performance and potential management process is globally aligned for all employees in accordance with the same principles and is part of a shared IT system. We systematically combine talent recognition with performance assessments based on employee target agreements, as we are convinced that ongoing feedback helps all employees to grow in terms of their performance and potential. Regular individual assessments permit us to more readily identify high-potential employees and to further them accordingly. Clear objectives, differentiated and open feedback, and individual development plans are thus important prerequisites for both the personal development of every individual and the success of the company.
Global training courses and workshops developed specifically for teams help our employees develop and build individual abilities in line with new requirements and perspectives. Digital solutions in the form of e-learning and language courses are also available to our employees. To enable our employees and managers to realize their full potential, we also provide local business and function-related offers. In response to the crisis, we offered global training in 2020 on topics such as virtual leadership, employee well-being, and working from home. This also included guidance on conducting team meetings in order to help teams adapt their cooperation to the new situation and to create an inclusive atmosphere. The range of training is supplemented by individual and group coaching on topics such as self-resilience and self-motivation.
All measures are documented in a globally standardized development plan. Individual development opportunities are also supported by our job architecture, which applies globally and enables us to harmonize all positions and simplify their classification. This job architecture defines three fundamental career types: managers, experts, and project managers. They are all equal. Employees who wish to advance in their careers and aim for a top position within the company can also do so via the expert and project manager career paths.
A transparent and flexible employee reward system
At Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, we reward the performance of every individual through appropriate and competitive total compensation. For years, we have been achieving this through global processes and programs that are supported by digital platforms. We also offer our managers flexible, market-, and needs-oriented compensation tools. These support well-informed decisions and thus provide comprehensible, performance-, and position-based compensation. Apart from monetary compensation components, we also offer our employees attractive fringe and social benefits. Our fringe benefits feature globally under the internal benefits4me brand. Its offerings comprise three pillars:
- Company benefits including a company pension
- Health and well-being
- Service offers
Specific benefit packages are in place at a national level to meet the different needs of our employees using well-established management mechanisms. Focusing more closely on individualized fringe and social benefits in the future will continue to enable our employees to individually choose those benefits that best meet their personal situation and stage of life.
* The contents of this chapter or section are voluntary and therefore not audited. However, our auditor has read the text critically.