Sustainability report 2019/20

Transferring knowledge and fostering talent

Basic and further training at KHS: a win/win situation for all those involved

Personnel development enjoys a very high status at KHS. This is demonstrated by the many measures we have taken to provide our employees with valuable knowledge and retain their loyalty in the long term.  

Our commitment in this area centers on three key challenges that we wish to successfully tackle with our various strategies: 

  1. Demographic change, meaning that many of our experts with their extremely valuable knowledge will retire in the next few years 
  2. A lack of specialist workers in industry that also affects KHS 
  3. Digital transformation that is making frequently changing demands of employees and executive managers and calls for new learning concepts.  

Our answer to these challenges is to devise numerous measures as regards personnel development as part of our HR strategy that in turn is embedded in the policies stipulated by our parent company Salzgitter AG.

Transferring and safeguarding precious knowledge

The change in our demographic is making it necessary to secure an early transfer of knowledge so that expertise relevant to the company stays within KHS in the long term. As a number of experts who have been with us for many years are due to retire from the company in the near future, in the 2019/2020 reporting period we introduced a method for the transfer of knowledge. This systematically records the expertise of someone due to leave the company so that it can be passed on to colleagues and successors and is thus retained within the company.

Exchanging information across our individual companies is also conducive to the transfer of knowledge. This has been triggered by our designated KONZA program (KONZernweiter Austausch or company-wide exchange) that was called into being during our 2018/2019 campaign year to intensify cooperation throughout the group. This initiative is derived from the group-wide YOUNITED mission statement and aims to encourage employees of Salzgitter AG and all its companies to see work processes, methods and expertise in the same light. It has given employees an insight into how people in other departments work and thus identifies new areas of potential through various workshops, idea labs and internships.

Training, fostering and retaining skilled workers

We are meeting the competition for skilled workers with a wide range of forward-looking training options at our company. Each year we hire around 50 apprentices and trainees throughout Germany and attach great importance to imparting knowledge using a number of different formats right from the very start. Over 80 percent of our trainees are taken on, meaning that we satisfy much of our demand for specialist personnel ourselves. The spectrum of courses we run is large. Besides internships for high-school and university/college students and work/study programs, we also offer apprenticeships for the following careers:

  • Mechatronics engineer
  • Industrial mechanic
  • Metalwork specialist
  • Industrial clerk
  • Machining mechanic.

Interested young professionals can also apply for the following dual work/study programs:

  • Industrial engineering
  • Mechatronics engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Electronics engineering.

In addition, we also operate special trainee programs for graduates and our post-apprenticeship courses Fit4Commissioning and Fit4Service. These specifically build on the basics learned during training and allow people to specialize in what could be the first step towards an expert career.

With our special Fit4KHS onboarding program we ensure that new employees have the best possible start at our company and are given the chance to familiarize themselves with our procedures and their new colleagues early on. This also includes instruction in an area that is extremely important to us: occupational health and safety.

As an employer we want to keep and continue to foster people who have started out with us – whether as a trainee or executive manager – and have settled in well and made a good contribution to the company. This results in a clear win/win situation: the employee continues to develop and amass knowledge in his or her specialist area that can be directly applied. We as a company counter the lack of specialist workers by recruiting new expert personnel ourselves – and earn their loyalty because their qualifications are precisely tailored to their job and they can become involved in the company.

Effecting the digital transformation

Digitalization is changing the working world of tomorrow. We have to adapt to this today and in the future continue to steadily build up new areas of expertise in a life-long learning process. It is important to adjust this to the needs of our employees and make access to this expertise as simple as possible. This is why we are developing new concepts and assisting learning processes, also using software, in a dedicated group learning management system.

We have instigated a diverse range of further training options for our employees at our in-house KHS Campus academy. It is available to the entire workforce and provides courses in soft skills (such as IT, languages, communication and methodological skills) as well as in a broad range of technical subjects. Our further training and personnel development measures are also provided digitally in the form of webinars, for example.

Another module in our personnel development program is our talent management system that we have established anew in the reporting period. It specifically promotes those with high potential and supports them through a mentoring program. At KHS employees also have the chance to take part in our own special management development program entitled KHS Fit4Leadership and in personnel development programs run by Salzgitter AG. Management lectures and experience discussion groups round off our range of educational services. On request the Human Resources Department also devises courses of further training for entire departments.

It is important that we offer women the same opportunities for development as their male colleagues. For this reason we have signed up to Salzgitter AG’s Career paths for women orientation program that addresses female employees who wish to specifically plan their career and can envisage taking on a managerial role within the group. The program primarily concentrates on issues such as professional goals, skills, experience and whether a managerial or expert post is preferable. Another measure in place is our mentoring program for women, part of the FORWARD personnel development scheme offered by Salzgitter AG. Here, participants have the opportunity to talk to a mentor from the executive management about how best to plan and develop their career. An introductory and concluding session with the Salzgitter Executive Management Board and individual workshops staged by external providers complement this program.