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The Schaeffler Group’s strategic human resources activities are based on the HR strategy and the related Roadmap 2020 with a set of strategic initiatives of Human Resources (HR).

The decision to incorporate the sustainability department into the Human Resources function resulted in a realignment and prioritization of the HR strategy in 2018. As a result, sustainability management, comprising environmental protection, health management, and occupational safety, now represents one of the pillars of the company’s strategic human resources activities and includes demographic aspects. The previous pillar “strategic workforce planning”, which influences all significant fields of action of the company’s HR activities, has been defined as a cross-sectional issue along with digitalization and diversity.

Starting in 2018, the HR strategy house consists of the following five pillars, which represent the key fields of action of HR:

  • Employer branding & recruiting
  • Talent management
  • Leadership & corporate values
  • Training & learning
  • Sustainability, environment, health & safety

The company has created specific initiatives and projects for each of these pillars. These projects reflect the demands of demographic change, diversity, and digitalization by assessing and appropriately taking into account their current and future impact. Underlying the Schaeffler Group’s human resources activities is an HR operating model including strong HR governance and a strong HR organizational structure as well as a solid and efficient process and systems landscape.

Employer branding & recruiting

HR’s employer branding & recruiting activities strengthen Schaeffler’s perception as an attractive employer with the aim of contacting the best talents worldwide and recruiting them for the company.

The human resources strategy is driven by the commitment to making employment with the Schaeffler Group fit for the future – for external candidates as much as for employees that have been with the company for many years. Effectively positioning the company as an attractive employer worldwide is fundamental to continuing to successfully compete for the brightest talents in the future. The Schaeffler Group ranked highly in recognized employer rankings in 2018. Research institution “trendence” listed the company as one of the five most popular employers among young professionals in the automotive supplier sector and among the 30 employers most attractive to engineering students in Germany in 2018. Placing 23rd in the Universum employer ranking, the company ranked among the top 30 employers for engineers in Germany for the first time in 2018. The group was also successful internationally. In China, the Schaeffler Group was again named “Top Employer China 2018” by the Top Employers Institute.

In order to attract qualified students and graduates, the company focused on cooperative and sustainable partnerships with universities, student unions, student associations, and organizations such as Formula Student Germany in 2018 as well. As part of its university marketing activities, the Schaeffler Group held more than 25 events in Germany alone during the year. Additionally, the Schaeffler Group’s technical departments helped run realistic case studies at universities and assisted students in various practical projects.

More on cooperation with universities see chapter "Technology".

Having successfully established its global employer branding and recruiting activities in 2017, the Schaeffler Group started implementing roadmaps in 2018, focusing on standards, processes, and systems.

In 2018, activities aimed at recruiting new employees were characterized especially by the increasing need for staff and by the further specification of job descriptions, including those in the fields of E-Mobility, Digitalization, and technology.

The market for internal candidates represents a key source for filling open positions as well. In Germany, more than 40% of vacancies were successfully filled with internal talents in 2018. In addition, the company considers it crucial to also fill management positions from within the company whenever possible.

Talent management

To the Schaeffler Group, talent management is a uniform and standardized global approach to identifying, supporting, and retaining talents for the Schaeffler Group in the long term. It helps managers to select appropriate actions to promote employees’ individual development. Personnel development actions are based on the 70:20:10 model for learning and development: 70% experience on the job, 20% learning from others, and 10% off-the-job training. For purposes of strategic succession management, high-potential staff are identified and their suitability for possible key positions discussed early on. This takes place as part of a uniform global talent management process which includes the dialog between managers and employees. Its objective is to provide feedback to the employee on their performance and behavior and to agree possible next steps in their development as well as specific development actions. Managers at each level discuss all high-potentials during the subsequent talent review. Succession candidates for critical key positions are identified and individual development actions designed for them and then implemented.

Leadership & corporate values

The “Leadership & Corporate Values” initiative that is part of the “Agenda 4 plus One” addresses the question of how the Schaeffler Group wants to “live” leadership and corporate values in the future. In 2017, the Schaeffler Group implemented a new leadership model with six Leadership Essentials designed to provide managers with support and guidance in dealing with internal and external challenges. During the year, the company focused on broad and global communication as well as on integrating these Leadership Essentials into the relevant human resources tools. In cascading workshops held globally in all functions and at all levels – from the Board of Managing Directors to team leaders – managers had the opportunity to obtain an initial understanding of the Leadership Essentials. In addition, the Board of Managing Directors had committed to explaining the company’s new understanding of leadership and to discussing various views in “leadership road shows” worldwide. The six Leadership Essentials and their underlying leadership behavior have been the basis for the evaluation of all managers in the annual Employment Development Dialog as well starting in 2018. Additionally, a short, global, representative employee survey offers the opportunity to capture the mood regarding leadership at Schaeffler for the first time.

Another area of focus this year was the issue of feedback. The company introduced an upward feedback mechanism. This mechanism consists of a moderated feedback meeting in which a manager receives feedback on his or her leadership behavior from employees reporting directly to him or her, giving the manager the chance to further improve in this area. This, too, helps embed the Leadership Essentials in managers’ behavior.

Training & learning

All training and continuing education courses worldwide are consolidated under the umbrella of the Schaeffler Academy.

The Schaeffler Academy’s “Qualification for Tomorrow” initiative contributes to the achievement of strategic objectives, promotes the culture of lifelong learning, and prepares employees for the challenges of the future. In light of increasingly complex value chains, shorter and shorter development cycles, and rising information density, global networks and acting flexibly in digital work environments are becoming more and more important. Lifelong learning is the key to success in a dynamic working world. Schaeffler Academy is a reliable and capable partner creating the basis for modern learning to help employees achieve their personal and professional goals. Collaborating with various departments of the Schaeffler Group, the Schaeffler Academy addresses the future-oriented focus issues related to the issue of learning.

The introduction of a new learning management system was an important initial milestone toward a modern world of learning. The cloud-based system is easy to use and is gradually being rolled out worldwide. Following its successful implementation in Germany, France, and China in 2017, employees in Slovakia, the U.S., and Canada also started enjoying its benefits in 2018.

The Schaeffler Academy supports individual competency-based learning by providing tailored qualification programs with content oriented toward the needs of the business. Trends like digitalization and Industry 4.0 are transforming products and organizational processes, resulting in new employee qualification requirements. To meet these requirements, the Schaeffler Academy is continuously expanding its training portfolio to include target group-specific programs on trending issues and new methodologies such as agile project management. Modern learning formats and state-of-the-art methodologies are combined in modular offerings in order to ensure successful long-term learning outcomes. Especially digital course offerings such as how-to videos or online courses with a gamification approach provide an attractive learning experience.

The challenges of the future are also changing vocational education program requirements. Advancing curriculum content and methods results in attractive training offerings worldwide to ensure trainees are well-prepared for changing job profiles. At the same time, a new qualification program comprehensively promotes the further development of vocational trainers and vocational training officers. The issues it focuses on include raising the awareness of digitalization, Generation Y & Z, diversity, and migration. The qualification program was created in 2017 and is gradually being rolled out.

Sustainability, environment, health & safety

An inseparable link between commercial success, a decidedly long-term focus, and awareness of the social and ecological aspects of the company’s operations is a long-standing Schaeffler tradition. To the Schaeffler Group, sustainability means enabling a future worth living by fostering the growth of the Schaeffler Group with a long-term view and continuity for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Please refer to the "Sustainibility" chapter and the Schaeffler Group’s sustainability report for a detailed discussion and background information on sustainability.

Especially the demographic trend is profoundly changing the structure of the group’s workforce. The future success of the company depends on the employee’s qualification and motivation and on the long-term maintenance of their health. The Schaeffler Group’s workplace health management program is based on the principles of the Luxembourg Declaration and represents a key element of the HR initiatives.

The design of the workplace health management program focuses on measures to maintain the mental and physical health of the company’s employees as well as their capacity to work and their performance capabilities. Priorities are measures regarding the musculoskeletal system and providing individual skills for coping with stress. Ergonomic measures and reducing the negative impact of shift work also contribute to prevention.

The company consolidates measures promoting the health of individual employees in the “pit stop” (“Boxenstopp”) program by specific target groups. In addition to this program, the company offers a multitude of measures for target groups with comparable tasks and similar health risks. Measures offered are based on an analysis of the requirements at each location, guaranteeing that they are tailored.

The workplace health management program is part of Schaeffler’s EnEHS (Energy Environment Health and Safety) management system, which ensures that working conditions are continually reviewed and occupational safety requirements complied with. Certification takes place worldwide in accordance with the European EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) Directive. The company regularly holds target group-specific information days, training sessions, and continuing education seminars on occupational safety at all levels and worldwide. A reduction in the accident rate by more than 10% for the second time in a row demonstrates the sustained effectiveness of the company’s approach to accident prevention. The accident rate (AccR) declined from 7.1 to 6.2 (AccR = lost time incidents per 1 million labor hours) during the reporting period.


Demographic, social, and political trends and developments as well as the international nature of the Schaeffler Group’s business relations make the diversity of its workforce essential for recognizing and meeting the demands of modern markets.

In order to gradually further embed this issue throughout the company, the conceptual diversity plan issued by the Board of Managing Directors in 2017 has been given a more strategic direction. Diversity management is anchored in the HR strategy and, to Schaeffler, it means acknowledging, appreciating, and including diverse views, experiences, and technical expertise across all hierarchical and organizational units. The conceptual diversity plan focuses on the issues of gender, internationality, demographics, and people with disabilities.

Schaeffler actively promotes diversity within the company: As early as in 2008, the group signed the “Charta der Vielfalt” (diversity charter) and integrated diversity and the principle of equal opportunity into the Schaeffler Code of Conduct, thus committing to advancing these concepts within the company. This commitment was confirmed when Schaeffler AG joined the “Charta der Vielfalt” association in 2018.

The company is continually working on measures designed to implement a comprehensive diversity management strategy. The Schaeffler Group has also started to specifically establish the issue in the various HR processes such as employer branding, recruiting, onboarding, and talent management. The following measures were initiated for the four focus issues in 2018:


The standard mentoring system is being expanded to include a gender dimension. The aim is to identify high-potential female staff and to explicitly nominate them for mentoring. The specifics of this concept will be developed in 2019. The issue is being actively addressed within the recruiting process as well: During clarification of the terms of reference of a recruiting assignment, HR staff generate awareness of diversity management by posing targeted questions and analyzing the existing makeup of the department. An information brochure on the subject and a standardized assignment clarification form aid in this process. The rollout of this approach and the related documents was started during the year 2018.


The intercultural network established in 2017 was actively supported in 2018 and is growing steadily. Its objective is connecting employees around the world using the opportunities for interaction and teamwork provided by Schaeffler CONNECT, the company’s social collaboration intranet. The company also launched an international volunteering program in cooperation with international student organization AIESEC. The organization arranges internships at foreign non-governmental organizations. The Schaeffler Group funded the placement fees for co-op students with the objective of promoting the students’ intercultural expertise and exchange as well as to position itself as an attractive employer. Schaeffler also supports intercultural exchange and the transfer of technical knowledge between the Schaeffler Group’s multinational locations by means of expats. Expats are highly-qualified specialists on secondment to foreign branches for a limited period of time. 331 expats were seconded within the Schaeffler Group in 2018.


The Reverse Mentoring Program was piloted in 2018. This program helps young and old share experiences with each other and is designed to promote intergenerational exchange, particularly in light of digitalization and ongoing debates. The program is being further expanded and will be rolled out globally as part of the Standard Mentoring Program.

People with disabilities

In Germany, companies with more than 60 employees are legally required to fill a minimum of 5% of jobs with people with disabilities. At 5.5%, the Schaeffler Group meets this requirement. At the Herzogenaurach location, the quota was 6.4%. In 2018, the company intensified the contact between its Diversity Management department and the body representing its disabled employees in order to strengthen the connection between them and to move forward with joint projects.

Strategic workforce planning

Strategic workforce planning integrates the Schaeffler Group’s strategic human resources activities into its Technology and Strategy Dialog.

It provides a basis for determining quantitative and qualitative staffing requirements for the medium to long-term planning period. Being able to quickly and efficiently determine long-term global staffing requirements is essential for responding to significant changes, for instance in the future growth areas of E-Mobility, Digitalization, and increasing globalization.

The results of strategic workforce planning serve as a basis for deciding what actions are required, such as internal and external recruiting, qualification programs, or in- or outsourcing strategies. These actions enable the Schaeffler Group to identify and mitigate the risk of excess personnel or a shortage of staff in due time. In late 2017, the company initiated a project to investigate the need for future technical and commercial vocational training as well as cooperative degree programs in Germany. The results have been available since early 2018 and serve as input to the annual requirements-based plan.


The rollout of Schaeffler CONNECT, the company’s new social collaboration intranet, was completed in 2018, replacing the previous intranet. Schaeffler CONNECT is the global platform for information, communication, and collaboration within the Schaeffler Group. It allows employees at all divisions, regions, and functions to obtain information about the company, collaborate effectively, contact each other, and exchange knowledge. In addition, the intranet represents a modern medium enabling the Board of Managing Directors and managers to communicate with employees in a targeted manner and to obtain feedback. Transparency, an open exchange, and a healthy feedback culture are pivotal here.

Furthermore, the company introduced the HR Dashboard as a modern reporting tool for the Schaeffler Group's managers during the year. The user-friendly HR Dashboard digitally provides supervisors and managers with insight into key staff-related ratios and indicators within their responsibility. The new HR Dashboard allows its 8.000 end users worldwide to obtain, on a self-serve basis, reports on employee-related data such as data on the structure of the workforce and time management data.

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