Business success through good leadership

Our Competency Model describes the conduct we expect of our employees and managers in order to drive our strategy as well as our business success. Following an evaluation of our management and business model, we not only adapted roles, but also identified leadership as a key issue. In October 2015, we therefore introduced a new strategic Competency Model that defines the leadership culture needed to advance our business strategy. Our managers motivate their teams to recognize and leverage the opportunities offered by the diverse cultures and experience of our employees. Managers are furthermore expected to act as role models by living our Values and promoting our feedback culture.

Our six strategic competencies, which guide our employees and managers in their tasks, comprise the following:

Management program for growth markets

Our extensive global Management Program series ensures that our international managers develop the skills we need to implement our company strategy and continue our success. Here, we are particularly focused on the needs of our growth markets. In 2015, for instance, we rolled out the Growth Markets Management Program for managers in India and Latin America. As of Dec. 31, 2015, 35 managers from India and Latin America had taken part in this initiative, which seeks to expand management and business knowledge. Our aim is for at least 50% of managers rated Global Grade 14 and up to participate in one of our management programs by the end of 2018.

New opportunities for our talent

Our Talent Management Process seeks to systematically develop the employees we have identified as talents, thereby building long-term loyalty to the company. In 2015, we analyzed the global roll-out of this process, identified areas for improvement, and developed the tools needed to hone it.

A new toolbox will make the internal talent and performance management processes more transparent for managers and talents, while also explaining the existing programs offered by HR. This includes initiatives such as Drive Your Development, a new event format aimed at teaching identified talents how to promote their own development. Launched in 2015, Drive Your Development will be available Group-wide as of 2016. Other tools have been available since the beginning of 2016, such as an improved information packet for talents as well as a video that provides examples and information to help managers conduct career development interviews.

We are also working to help identified talents proactively take advantage of the development opportunities within the company. In 2015 we started work on an online platform that allows talents to find out about current projects and job vacancies within our company. Interested individuals can then apply with just a few clicks of the mouse. This platform will also be available Group-wide as of 2016. With the introduction of the People Developement Award for managers who develop the talents on their teams in an exemplary manner, we are aiming to show more appreciation for our managers' dedication to talent development. In 2016, we will be presenting this award to recognize our best talent developers during our annual Group Executive Conference.

First-time OHSAS 18001 certification

Our occupational health and safety efforts are based on the international standard known as OHSAS 18001. Since 2015, we have been undergoing an external certification process for this standard. By the end of 2016, we intend to have all Performance Materials production facilities certified to OHSAS 18001; nine of 23 sites, including two facilities of the company Sigma-Aldrich (acquired in November 2015), have already successfully completed the audit. The process is helping us hone in on weak points and areas for improvement, as well as track the impact of our corrective measures over the long term. This certification underscores how much we as a company value the occupational health and safety of our employees.

Switch to health-friendly solvents

In 2015, we achieved a major advance in the area of occupational health and safety. For most of the purification processes of our organic production plants in Darmstadt, we have replaced tetrahydrofuran (THF), a solvent suspected to be carcinogenic, with non-hazardous substances. We are thus protecting the health of our employees while also saving nearly € 700,000 per year. For other purification processes, we intend to soon replace THF with non-hazardous substances as well.