Our people, our culture, our future – employees and corporate culture guarantee the success of our company.

Personnel work is an important part of our company’s value creation. It plays an important and pioneering role as part of our growth strategy – after all, our employees and the way in which we work together within our organization are what guarantees our future success. They drive our technological progress and growth and lay the foundations today for the success of our company tomorrow.

We do not view our employees as “resources” – instead, we value them as people whose skills, abilities, and achievements represent the most valuable asset within our company. Our goal is to make optimal use of their skills and develop them in the best possible way. Our Human Relations (HR) department actively supports our employees in their professions and careers and encourages them to develop their talents. We thereby create tangible value: for our employees, our company, our customers, and all other stakeholders.

Our HR policy is holistic and based on working with and for one another. In our collaboration, we attach great importance to relationships with one another and to ensuring that the shared corporate values – Trust, Passion To Win, Freedom To Act, and For One Another – are put into practice. These values form the basis for our corporate culture and shape the way in which we interact with each other and with our customers and partners. We are convinced that values create value for our company. Continuous development of our corporate culture is therefore a vital part of ensuring our future viability and creating value.

Our HR policy is founded on two strategic pillars within which we implement different HR projects and initiatives. Based on these two pillars, we systematically develop our HR work further – and make it fit for the future:

  • With “Industrialize Best Fit,” we are industrializing HR management in the context of our “best fit” concept in order to meet our considerable need for employees with the right skills and abilities – now and in the future.
  • “Enable Transformation” supports digital transformation at Continental so that we can make the most of the opportunities of digitalization throughout the corporation.

Industrialize Best Fit – meeting staffing needs with precision
In the year under review, we received 320,000 applications for salaried positions worldwide – with 80,000 in Germany alone – which demonstrate that Continental is a highly attractive employer for people all around the globe. At the same time, this large number presents the personnel systems and processes with particular challenges, since it is important to know our requirements and find the right applicant for the right position as efficiently as possible.

We are working on a number of closely related projects in the context of improving our HR data and systems, HR planning and recruitment, and employee development. In the medium term, what we are looking for at Continental is not somebody for a job, but rather the right position at the company for a particular candidate. What counts is the person who is the best fit for a vacant position. This means the person with exactly the right skills, abilities, and values for the job and for Continental. The better the fit between employees and their jobs at Continental, the more satisfied and motivated the employees will be, which are key factors for productivity and quality. This best fit is becoming increasingly important in light of the growing need for suitable employees.

The first proven signs of success: when filling salaried positions, we currently find the right job at the company for one out of eight newly hired employees, without them having actively applied for that specific position. In these cases, the applicants were not suitable for the advertised position, yet we were able to offer them an alternative job, in which they could put their talents and capabilities to the best possible use.

Strategic HR planning
In view of future growth and increasingly short innovation cycles, we need to act now to identify and secure future personnel requirements. This is why the HR teams around the world are involved in the product development process at an early stage, in close collaboration with the business units.

We rely on strategic HR planning that further increases the level of detail in our plans while also creating a uniform and reliable basis for the procedure for the cross-divisional HR strategy. In this context, we simulate firstly the expected development of our current workforce based on factors such as retirements and staff turnover, and secondly the personnel requirements that we need in order to successfully achieve our business goals. By comparing these two factors, we can identify the quantitative and qualitative requirements at an early stage so that we can build up the required expertise in good time. The results help us, for example, to identify how the challenges of digital transformation will affect the requirements for individual employees, so that corresponding training measures can be initiated on a preparatory basis in the next step.

With uniform processes and principles, we established a binding framework for requirements planning for the operational implementation of strategic HR planning as part of a pilot project in 2016. Around 48,000 Continental employees at 15 plants and 15 business units have already been recorded along with their individual skills and abilities. The process will be integrated throughout the corporation in the strategic business planning for 2017.

Structure of the workforce Dec. 31, 2016 Dec. 31, 2015
Total number of employees 220.137 207.899
    thereof permanent staff 206.162 193.694
        outside Germany 152.136 141.199
        in Germany 54.026 52.495
Trainees1 2.067 2.097
Female employees in % 27.0 27.1
Average years of service to the company1 14.6 14.7
Average age of employees1 in years 43.3 43.2

Download Data Tables (MS-Excel)

Big data analysis of HR data
Last year we supplemented our approach to strategic HR planning with a pilot project in the area of big data analysis at the technology center in Bangalore, India.

Using an automated analysis of a wide range of internal data sources, around 700 individual skills were identified among our local engineers. The facts gained from this process with regard to our employees’ hidden talents enable us to plan qualitative HR requirements for the future. This strategic approach enables us to provide our employees with precisely tailored training – so that we can respond to new trends, market developments, and technologies at an early stage. As a result, further big-data analyses for HR are already being prepared.

Diagnostic procedure to find the right employee
To further improve the best fit between applicants and vacant positions and thus enhance the quality of our recruitment processes, we initiated various diagnostic projects during the reporting year, including one at our location in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. This involved using extensive online and on-site tests when hiring employees for setting up a new plant. In this process, candidates did not apply for a specific position, but instead were given a recommendation as to which position represented the best fit for them.

We have also initiated pilot projects with scientifically validated and standardized online processes for salaried positions and expanded the range of test processes and the number of pilot countries. The aim of this process is to gain an impression of the applicant’s skills at an early stage of the application process. The international roll-out of the online assessment process is planned for 2017.

Opening up opportunities for refugees
Integrating people of different origins and cultural backgrounds is an important part of our corporate culture. For over a year, we have been working with the German Federal Employment Agency on a new, specially developed program that makes it easier for refugees to enter the job market.

As with all of our personnel-related decisions, valid selection procedures are essential to ensure the best fit. The tests are conducted in the person’s native language to ensure that candidates who are basically qualified can indeed enter a training program, even if their language skills are not yet sufficient. The first success story: around a quarter of the candidates showed the skills required for a trainee program at Continental, and some of them started a traineeship at our plants in September 2016. We have already offered 38 refugees career prospects in Germany.

In 2016, the Continental initiative for refugees won the HR Excellence Award, which is highly regarded in the HR industry.

Talent management with mySuccess@Continental
We support the professional and personal development of our employees and ensure that their skills and abilities grow in line with the requirements and prospects. At the same time, we need to employ a sufficient number of suitably qualified staff in order to achieve our ambitious growth targets.

To improve talent management even further, at the end of 2015 we introduced our new employee development cycle and a new system called mySuccess@Continental for global employee development. By the end of 2016 we had rolled it out at all Continental locations worldwide. The focus is on development plans, expectations, and individual target agreements as the basis for the selection of development programs and succession planning. We increase the visibility of the talents found within our corporation, and this transparency also improves diversity when it comes to staffing decisions. With mySuccess@Continental, employees have the opportunity to advance their careers in a more targeted manner.

Training program for automotive software developers
As part of our best-fit concept, we also give practically minded individuals and career changers the opportunity to develop “from career changers to career climbers” – at present, especially if they have specific skills in software and technology. For example, three-quarters of the automotive software developer training positions have been filled with people who have decided to discontinue their studies and start a trainee program at Continental instead.

Continental developed the training program for automotive software developers together with the trade unions, the works council, the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training. The training program focuses on the analysis and development of sophisticated program structures for vehicles and for the mobility of the future. In 2016, a total of 34 people decided to start an apprenticeship to become automotive software developers.

Standardized training conditions for work-study students
Continental has become one of the first DAX companies to establish standardized training conditions in Germany for its work-study students, who currently number more than 520 at 57 locations. This is based on a joint agreement with the trade unions IG Metall (metalworkers’ union) and IG BCE (mining, chemical and energy industry union), in which remuneration, payment of tuition and examination fees, vacation entitlement, as well as vacation and Christmas pay are regulated on a uniform basis.

Enable transformation – accompanying digital transformation
Digital transformation is presenting major challenges for Continental, too. After all, the digitalization of working worlds is changing established and familiar structures. Product cycles are becoming shorter, which means companies need to be able to flexibly adapt to new customer requirements and rapidly develop new business models.

At the same time, digitalization offers our company many opportunities – both in terms of tapping new markets and also with regard to training our employees. For this reason, the Human Relations department is actively helping shape digital transformation. Competitive advantages emerge if the company and its workforce adapt to the new conditions more quickly and flexibly than others.

For Continental, this means that we need to think and act in a more agile, innovative, and interconnected manner. We are therefore promoting four key areas:

  • Diversity management – is an essential requirement for creative ideas and alternative solution strategies.
  • Inspiring leadership culture – increases the enjoyment derived from commitment and spurs people on to perform well.
  • Flexible working conditions – enable our employees to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
  • Lifelong learning and intensive exchange of knowledge between our employees – give rise to the best solutions for our customers.

Internal communication campaign – working in a new digital age
In the year under review, we launched a corporation-wide internal communication campaign in which Continental examines work in the context of digital transformation. It is our employees who support and shape the realignment of their working world with their talents, their ideas, their passion, and their drive. The campaign illustrates the opportunities arising from digitalization and change. In an overarching communicative framework, topics relating to diversity, leadership, flexibility, and learning are conveyed via all internal communication channels.

Active dialog with employees on our ConNext platform forms an important part of this communication. Between September and December 2016 alone, our employees visited the blog posts in the part of the campaign relating to flexible working conditions around 80,000 times. More than 100,000 file downloads and, for example, 784 active topic discussions demonstrate the employees’ strong interest in actively helping to shape our future.

Equal opportunities and increasing diversity
Equal opportunities and diversity – we attach particular importance to these issues in our selection procedures and talent development. This is because we need diversity in terms of perspectives, characteristics, experience, and cultures for the innovative capability of our entire company. Our activities are currently focused on internationality and a balanced gender ratio. Today, 45% of our management team does not come from Germany. The percentage of women at management level worldwide has also increased again – from 10.5% in 2015 to 12.2% at present. We aim to staff 16% of all management positions with women by 2020. For more information about our targets for the percentage of women in management positions, please see the Corporate Governance Declaration in the Corporate Governance Report.

Employees by region

Employees by region

Diversity Days
Continental’s first Diversity Day was held on June 7, 2016, in Hanover, Germany. Employees took part in workshops, discussions, and various activities on the topic of diversity. The aim of the event was to highlight the importance of diversity in its many different forms for Continental’s success and thus encourage the workforce to actively promote it. There were additional Diversity Days at five other locations around the world. For 2017, events are planned for our employees in Pisa, Italy; Regensburg and Babenhausen, Germany; Shanghai, China; and Toulouse, France; among other locations.

Bringing together local diversity networks
In 2016, we brought together local women’s networks from the Continental Corporation under the umbrella of the Global Diversity Network, so that they can hold joint events and learn from and support one another. In this way, we are increasing the visibility and acceptance of different approaches and the requirements of an increasingly diverse workforce.

The first Women@Work event was held in the reporting year with 75 participants, mostly from North and South America. The aim of this event was to support young women with their career development, strengthen their impact, and increase their visibility within the corporation. An event for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region is scheduled for the first quarter of 2017, and further meetings are to follow worldwide.

Global introduction of flexible working conditions
In 2016 we established globally applicable regulations for flexible working conditions – across all hierarchical levels and organizational areas. This is because our success grows with our employees, who are best able to develop their talents and thereby tackle the challenges of digitalization in a corporate culture with greater freedom. Flexible working conditions are essential for managing diversity and thus the pace of innovation within the company – and they also make us particularly attractive to the most talented people and young professionals. At Continental, the global approach for flexible working models covers part-time and flextime as well as options for working from home or elsewhere, and sabbaticals.

Country-specific solutions for 21 countries involved had been developed and adapted to regional requirements and legal conditions by the end of 2016. Implementation is planned for 2017. In identifying individual solutions for a personal work-life balance, operational requirements are taken into account and particular attention is paid to local labor law.