Our employees are our most important resource. Therefore, ALTANA promotes their professional development, prepares them for positions of leadership, and enables its staff to participate in the company’s success to motivate them to stay with the company on a long-term basis. We put particular emphasis on recruitment of young talent, specialists, and managers.
ALTANA’s Employees: Our Most Important Asset
As a highly innovative specialty chemicals company, our most important asset is our employees. The some 6,000 women and men working for ALTANA companies worldwide demonstrate above-average qualifications and commitment. The culture of our group, defined in ALTANA’s Guiding Principles, is informed by our four central values: openness, trust, appreciation, and empowerment to act.
ALTANA offers its employees further training opportunities, promotes their professional development in a targeted manner, and supports their health with special preventive measures. This helps make us a more attractive employer.
New Processes in Human Resource Development
With the Keep Changing Agenda for the future, ALTANA has defined new milestones for the Group’s human-resource strategy, among many other aspects. One of them is our target of filling 70 % of all management positions worldwide internally as of 2020.
To achieve this goal, we are harmonizing our global human resource development and the related selection processes. This development is reflected by the fact that in the future we will offer our several-months-long Development Program (DP) for management trainees only in English.
The DPs in the national languages specifically for Chinese or German employees will be included in the programs for Asia and Europe, respectively. Starting in 2017, all managers in the vast regions of Europe, Asia, and the Americas will prepare for their future positions together across countries.
With the ALTANA Management Challenge (AMC), the Group created a globally uniform assessment instrument for selecting management trainees. The basis for the one-day presence seminar with practical examples and role play was developed in Germany and subsequently adapted by local experts to the respective regional conditions. ALTANA staged the Management Challenge for the first time in the fall of 2016 in Hong Kong with 26 applicants for the DP Asia, which will begin in 2017.
Dialog for Assessing Performance
To promote employees’ professional development, ALTANA regularly implements specially developed dialogs with all employees. They include a progress dialog, which the disciplinary superiors carry out at least once a year with each staff member. The progress dialog serves to assess the development of the employees and paves the way for agreeing on targets with the employees.
If a work contract specifies that the target agreements impact the compensation of the employee in question, the objective-setting dialog is supplemented by a performance dialog. The superiors carry out the latter dialog with the employees at least once a year as well. The three dialog elements together constitute the ALTANA Compass Dialog.
Women in Leadership Positions
With its Keep Changing Agenda, ALTANA has also set itself the goal of increasing the number of women in leadership positions. We aim to achieve a total percentage of 30 % by 2025. In Germany, the share of women in leadership positions was 21.5 % in 2016. Owing to different hierarchical and contractual structures, ALTANA has not determined the ratio of women in companies outside of Germany.
The Leading Women@ALTANA committee, launched in 2015, is now in charge of managing the process for increasing the share of women in management in Germany. In this committee, members of the Management Board are working with managing directors, representatives of the Human Resource department, and employees on a concept for a Germany-wide mentoring program. The basis is a pilot project focusing on mentoring that seven women successfully completed in 2015. In 2016, it was continued with seven additional mentor-mentee tandems.
Support for Young Families
To enable employees to reconcile family and professional life, in Germany ECKART offers single parents and couples who both work a monthly allowance for afternoon care of elementary school children amounting to 50 euros a month. This also applies during the employee’s probationary period, in cases of temporary employment contracts, and when wages are paid on sick leave. In 2016, the offer was taken advantage of in 28 cases.
Training in Labor Law
Managers with disciplinary responsibility have to have a sound knowledge of labor laws and update this knowledge at regular intervals. To this end, all ALTANA companies in Germany offered around 500 managers a one-day training session on this topic in 2016. In addition to imparting expertise on labor law and the Works Constitution Act, the training dealt with the question of which situations require that the management cooperates with the selected employee representatives in the works council.
Recruiting Via Online Channels
The target groups of interest to ALTANA recruiting communicate primarily via the Internet and mobile end devices. In 2016, ALTANA therefore added new functions and applications to the career portal on the Group’s website. The pages were optimized for mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones and the overall navigation was improved. Thanks to interfaces with career networks including LinkedIn and XING, applicants can now directly load their profile onto their ALTANA application form.
With these measures, ALTANA has made the application process as simple and efficient as possible and at the same time laid the basis for integrated processing of applications and the resulting communication.
This is probably one of the reasons why in 2016 ALTANA finished in a top spot in the Career’s Best Recruiters employer ranking for the fifth time in a row. In the ranking of companies in the chemical industry, the Group finished in first place, receiving 82 of 100 possible points. And it finished in 20th place in the ranking of all companies. In this independent scientific study, the recruiting activities of the 500 companies with the highest sales and largest number of employees from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are analyzed based on 133 criteria.
ALTANA also banks strongly on digital channels when it comes to recruiting new trainees. An eight-week recruiting campaign to find new apprentices launched in the fall of 2016, in which five German‑based companies took part, relies exclusively on online channels, including Facebook and Google. At the center of the campaign was information on coating technician and IT apprenticeships as well as dual education that combines vocational training with studies. In addition to ads geared to young people, parents and teachers are informed about the various apprenticeship options offered by ALTANA.
ALTANA also cooperates with universities in efforts to recruit young talent. Participation in the so-called Deutschlandstipendium – Talent meets sponsorship program initiated by the federal German government is part of this commitment. With it, every year ALTANA funds 20 students majoring in natural sciences, business, or IT. Apart from financial support, they are given the opportunity to do internships at ALTANA or to complete their degree thesis at one of the Group’s sites. Seminars and workshops round off the wide-ranging mentoring program for the scholarship holders. At a meeting that takes place annually at the Group headquarters in March, they have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with one another and with mentors about projects and application areas.
ALTANA also continues to cooperate with Niederrhein and Rhein-Waal Universities, which are located near the Group’s headquarters. In 2016, the Group agreed to cooperate even more closely with both of them on IT courses of study.
Cooperation Supports Integration of Severely Handicapped Employees
At its Vetroz site in Switzerland, ECKART gained a local workshop for the disabled as a supplier. Based on the pigment manufacturer’s specifications, the employees there manufacture some 4,000 pallets a year, which ECKART needs to safely store and transport its products. Due to special requirements, mechanical manufacture of pallets is too costly and complex. So ECKART chose the workshop for the disabled as a partner, and as a result is contributing to the integration of handicapped people into the labor market.
Sustainability in Daily Life
Safety, health, and environmental protection are not only playing an ever more important role in the companies’ management. Employees are also called upon to get involved in these issues – for example, in the context of the company suggestion scheme (CSS). Within the framework of the campaign “Big Ideas Wanted for Our Small Planet,” employees around the world sent in some 800 suggestions for improvement, of which more than 300 were implemented. Most of them concerned occupational safety and work methods, as well as the issue of environmental protection.
Furthermore, so-called sustainability ambassadors among the employees in Germany, Italy, and China are making an important contribution to further sharpening awareness of environmental protection with their activities. At the Wesel site, for instance, a campaign was launched that informs employees about environmentally friendly and safe printing of documents. At the suggestion of the ambassadors, moreover, the company identified suppliers for ecological office materials whose products can now be ordered by staff in Germany.