We recognize that our employees are crucial to our business success. To secure our future viability, we seek to attract employees who have the potential for greater future roles. Demographic change is heating up the competition for the best employees, especially in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia. By contrast, filling management positions is one of the greatest challenges we face in several emerging countries.
Owing to the ever-faster pace of technological progress, professional requirements are also increasing, which makes it crucial for us to cultivate our employees and continuously strengthen their skills. In doing so, we as an employer must also meet the growing expectations for work-life balance.
Recruiting and retaining talent
Our goal is to attract qualified employees and retain them over the long term. We want to give each and every one the opportunity to develop professionally and personally, ultimately realizing their full potential. Skilled professionals expect competitive compensation and a healthy work-life balance. We seek and advance promising individuals within our company so that we can quickly fill open positions.
HR Global Talent and Development works on strategies to advance and promote our employees, coordinating the necessary measures. At our sites around the world, our HR staff implements these measures in collaboration with senior managers from the business sectors. In doing so, they comply with global HR guidelines and requirements, which we monitor by means of internal audits.
Digitally steering HR processes
To make our HR processes more consistent around the world, in 2012 we introduced HR Suite, an online platform accessible to all employees. This platform is used to manage all key HR functions, such as development and succession planning, recruitment, continuing education, and employee performance assessments. Moreover, it helps calculate compensation and bonus payments.
Providing feedback and supporting development
We regularly provide our employees feedback on their performance. The Performance and Potential Management Process ensures that, in addition to providing regular feedback on employee performance, a meeting is held once a year to evaluate employees’ overall performance. Since 2015, this process has been applicable to all employees Group-wide with a Global Grade of ten or higher, and in Germany for all non-exempt employees as well.
Supervisors and subordinates work together to define personalized objectives that reflect current strategic priorities as well as each employee’s core tasks. In a separate process, they also draw up a detailed development plan. In creating their development plan, all employees can make use of the Development Advisor. Building on our competencies, this online tool provides a selection of development measures that employees can tailor to their own needs.
Our Group-wide advanced training and continuing education program ensures that our employees develop the skills needed to help us realize our company strategy and continue down the path of success. Our employees can use the My Learning online tool to sign up for suitable activities such as seminars and online training courses.
Finding promising talent, securing succession
We seek to identify promising individuals within the company as early as possible and put them on the path to advancement. As part of our Succession Management Process, we systematically prepare candidates for management roles, which allows us to fill vacant positions quickly and efficiently.
Attracting qualified university graduates
We work to attract the best university graduates. As part of our efforts, we partner with organizations such as the German online network “careerloft”. Furthermore, we regularly attend job fairs to reach out to potential applicants, informing them about job opportunities and career tracks within our company. In countries outside of Germany such as the United States or China, we likewise use career fairs as a way of making personal contact with university graduates.
In addition to recruitment, we also provide financial assistance to talented students. That’s why we collaborate with organizations such as the German National Academic Foundation and the Foundation of German Business, and furthermore support the Deutschlandstipendium (German national scholarship program).
University graduates can apply for a position at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany directly or complete one of our trainee programs. Our trainees acquire international experience in various areas of the company and take part in tailored advanced training courses.
The foundation: Vocational training
For us, vocational training is one of the most important ways to meet the current and future need for qualified professionals. In Germany, we offer numerous apprenticeship positions for various professions, as well as dual vocational training programs. We are continuously investing in new technologies and integrating these into our vocational training.
We also give young adults the opportunity to complete their vocational training on a part-time basis. If, after completing their apprenticeship, they wish to continue studying while working, we will cover up to 100% of the costs and also allow them to take special leave. Furthermore, apprentices can take part in community outreach projects.
We endeavor to reward the performance of all our employees and maintain a competitive edge in attracting qualified professionals, which necessitates commensurate compensation. At our company, compensation is based on the requirements of each position, as well as employee performance. In addition to competitive remuneration, we also offer attractive fringe and social benefits. Our benefits4me package encompasses three pillars, namely company-funded benefits including our company pension, health & well-being, and services. To meet the various needs of our workforce worldwide, we offer a variety of benefit packages designed using established steering mechanisms.
To ensure a competitive compensation structure, we regularly review our compensation policy. In doing so, we take internal factors and market requirements equally into account. In making adjustments to this policy, we involve relevant stakeholders such as employee representatives in the early stages of the process. Current analyses show that there are no gender-based compensation differences within the Group.
Finding work-life balance
We recognize how important work-life balance is for a productive and motivated workforce, which is why in many countries we allow our employees the flexibility to organize their own work schedule. Our workers make use of more than 30 different part-time models.
In Germany and the United States, where 44% of our workforce is based, we offer parental leave conditions that go beyond the statutory minimum requirements. Moreover, in Darmstadt we hold special seminars and offer referral services for employees who provide care for family members.
Assessing performance and identifying development opportunities
In 2016, approximately 49,000 employees took part in the Performance and Potential Management process that supervisors use to evaluate the performance of their staff. Every three years, employees can opt to be additionally assessed by select peers and external consultants. Known as 360-degree feedback, this approach helps to identify personal strengths and development opportunities. In 2016, we updated our Development Advisor, which is used to create employee development plans, adapting it to our new Competency Model.
We offer our employees around the world classroom training courses. In 2015, these courses were attended by over 4,000 participants, with 5,700 people having attended in 2016. In addition, our employees can also take a wide range of online courses and language training.
Good standing in employer rankings
Under the slogan “Make great things happen”, we are positioning ourselves in the global job market as an attractive employer. This campaign highlights our strengths: we offer diverse opportunities to contribute to the development and commercialization of innovative products, as well as numerous career options in an international, motivating and state-of-the-art work environment. Through the “Make great things happen” campaign, we are also communicating our strong sense of social responsibility and commitment to work-life balance.
The success of our efforts is confirmed by our ranking among the 100 top employers for students and experienced scientists in Germany. This index is published annually by the research and consulting firm Universum and involves a survey of more than 5,000 people. In 2016, our Group ranked sixth in the student survey and seventh among experienced professionals.
Since 2015, we have been working on a new global employer brand. Our goal is to better distinguish ourselves from our competitors and sharpen our profile as an attractive employer in the field of science and technology.
Sparking student and graduate interest in Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
In 2016, we employed around 50 trainees, primarily in Inhouse Consulting, Finance and Production. In 2017, we plan to launch further trainee programs in Marketing, Sales and Research & Development, which will have room for 25 new trainees per year. Moreover, in the United States 12 additional trainees are expected to start their careers in Inhouse Consulting.
We offer internships to high school and college students. Through our Keeping Ties to Students program, we stay in touch with talented individuals who demonstrate especially good performance during their internship. Furthermore, every year we invite students from German and Swiss universities and tell them about career tracks and job opportunities at our company.
Impressive hiring rate and new dual vocational training programs
In 2016, a total of 576 young people were enrolled in vocational training programs at our sites in Germany. In 2015, 156 young people began their apprenticeship at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, with 163 having started in 2016. In total, we offer apprenticeships across 23 occupations, primarily in production, laboratory work and office administration. Furthermore, 14 young adults in 2015 and 16 young adults in 2016 embarked on dual vocational training programs in the fields of business administration, business IT, process engineering (chemical engineering), and mechanical engineering. Since 2014, we have been offering permanent employment contracts to all apprentices and graduates of dual vocational training programs working in occupations for which we have long-term demand. In 2015 and 2016, the hiring rate for graduates of these programs – taking voluntary terminations into account – was over 90%.
Early career training
In Darmstadt, our “Start in die Ausbildung” program helps young people who have a high school diploma but have been searching for an apprenticeship for at least one year without success. We offer them the opportunity to complete a one-year program, giving them insight into professional life and improving their chances of gaining an apprenticeship. In the 2015-2016 period, this initiative helped a total of 42 participants aged 16 to 25 get the qualifications they needed to apply for an apprenticeship. Since its launch in 2006, 167 young people have taken part in the program; 89 of them have successfully completed an apprenticeship while 55 are still undergoing training.
In October 2016, we established a similar program for refugees forced to flee their home countries. The “Integrating refugees through training” initiative is preparing 12 young people for vocational training, thereby opening the door to the German labor market. The project comprises linguistic, technical, cultural, and career-related training.
Leveraging the opportunities of digitalization
Our work is becoming increasingly digital and flexible, a development described by the term “Work 4.0”. This trend is impacting our vocational training and continuing education programs as well; we are continually integrating new technologies such as 3D printing into our curricula and trying out novel learning and innovation methods such as design thinking. You can find more information under Innovation and digitalization.
Our EVA platform is another example of an innovative, cutting-edge environment. EVA stands for “Expertise everywhere, Virtual teams, Access to information” and has been bringing our employees together from across the globe since 2015. It allows virtual teams to collaborate and communicate across departmental boundaries and national borders. Approximately 50,000 people in total have access to the platform, which has won a number of international awards.
Expanding flexible working models
We offer our employees in Germany and the United States various flexible and innovative working models. The working model known as mywork@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany was initially implemented in 2013 for all exempt employees at our Darmstadt and Gernsheim sites and aims to strengthen the culture of performance and trust within the company. In agreement with their teams and supervisors, employees can freely choose when and where they work. Since October 2014, non-exempt employees at these sites with positions suitable for this working model have also been eligible. In addition, we also introduced mywork@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany for Merck Accounting Solutions & Services Europe GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Export GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Schuchardt OHG, Hohenbrunn, Germany a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Versicherungsvermittlung GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Selbstmedikation GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Merck Chemicals GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Employees and their respective line managers can best decide for themselves when and how often fixed physical presence in the office is necessary for all team members. Working hours are no longer logged or monitored. At the end of December 2016, a total of 4,507 employees were making use of this model.
In 2016, 4.7% of our employees worldwide worked part-time, 10.6% of whom were men. We believe that with these flexible working models, we are on the right track to not only more efficient processes, but – most importantly – to greater employee satisfaction and employer appeal.
We endeavor to make it easier for our employees to return to work following parental leave, which is why in 2016 we launched the Parents@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany program in Darmstadt and Gernsheim. It gives mothers and fathers on parental leave the opportunity to talk and share lessons learned while also helping them keep in touch with the company. Moreover, they can make use of the various training and networking offerings.
In the United States, we offer the female employees in our Life Science and Healthcare business sectors eight weeks of paid maternity leave. In Life Science, fathers are eligible for two weeks of paid paternity leave, which also applies when adopting a child, while Healthcare staff are given five weeks of paid paternity or adoption leave. By contrast, the statutory minimum only provides for 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave per year. Furthermore, we also reimburse up to US$ 5,000 in adoption fees.
At Darmstadt and Gernsheim, our largest sites in Germany (around 20.9% of our total workforce), 480 employees were on parental leave as of the end of December 2016, 37% of which were fathers. In other key countries, we go beyond the legal requirements to offer other kinds of new parent support such as extended time in the United States and Brazil, and nursing care allowances in Taiwan.
Daycare center expanded
For 49 years, our headquarters in Darmstadt has featured a daycare center for children aged 1-12. This facility is funded by the Merck family and offers 150 slots. Since 2013, we’ve been providing year-round care from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For the children of our employees in Gernsheim, five slots are available at a public daycare center.
Our Darmstadt site also offers provisional daycare services to cover times when an employee's regular childcare becomes unavailable. During school breaks in the German Federal State of Hesse, we host a variety of vacation camps focused on sports, art, research, and nature. In 2016, we increased the capacity of our vacation camp program to approximately 450 children.
Since June 2016, we have additionally been providing temporary care for sick children. For up to two days, parents throughout Germany can engage the services of a professional educator free of charge to care for their children at home.
Family and elder care: Better informed
In 2016, we revised the way in which we provide employees with information on career and family care in Germany. Twice a year, we offer our workforce family care seminars that focus on various topics. An external associate provides advice on all issues relating to family care and guides people in their search for suitable options. In Darmstadt, our company health insurance fund also puts people in contact with nurses.