Worldwide, 49,6131 employees work for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany across 661 countries (39,639 employees as of December 31, 2014). The increase in our employee count primarily stems from the integration of the company Sigma-Aldrich. Our corporate culture of mutual respect and inclusion binds all employees together across national boundaries. Our stance makes a clear statement: In our Human Rights Charter, we commit ourselves to complying with fundamental labor and social standards, as well as the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) core labor standards, the United Nations Global Compact, and the Responsible Care® program of the chemical industry. In our Code of Conduct as well as our EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) Policy, we have set down fundamental rules for collaboration that define our understanding of a safe, healthy working environment. We have put Group-wide policies and guidelines into place to ensure that these standards are implemented at our individual sites, often going beyond the statutory requirements.
One key aim of our HR work is to further bolster our performance-oriented corporate culture. This includes expanding our global talent development process as well as our management development activities. To this end, we revised our Competency Model in 2015, trained managers in growth markets, and devised new ways to develop talent. Thanks to our investments in leadership quality, talent development, and continuing education, we strengthened employee loyalty in 2015 in countries with comparatively high fluctuation rates such as China and India.
As an international company, diversity represents a major success factor for us. In 2015, we signed the Equal Opportunity Charter of the German Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (IG BCE). In doing so, we have promised to exploit every possible opportunity to achieve gender equality within the company.
In 2015, as part of our OHSAS 18001-aligned EHS management process, we introduced a Group-wide guideline for the analysis of job-specific stress factors in the workplace. This seeks to ensure the health and physical fitness of our employees across all sites.
We are likewise developing specific procedures in response to increasing digitalization and increasingly flexible working conditions (work 4.0). For instance, we are integrating forward-looking technologies such as 3D printing into our vocational training programs. An in-house working group is focusing its efforts on big data and e-commerce. Concrete objectives are currently in development.
1 This figure pertains to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Sigma-Aldrich combined. Unless otherwise stated, however, the remainder of this chapter refers to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany only, as we are currently in the integration process (Sigma-Aldrich has been part of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany since November 18, 2015). The Sigma-Aldrich figures that are already available can be found under Indicators Employees.