Corporate economic success is, to a large extent, based on the abilities of employees. Their commitment, efficiency, knowledge and skills form the basis of all commercial processes. At KSB around 16,000 employees are committed to providing innovative products and outstanding services to customers from across the globe. To ensure that we always attract, nurture and retain the best people, we aim to be an attractive employer that supports a climate of learning, innovation and change.
As an employer, when selecting new employees we ensure that their professional and social skills fit in with our corporate culture centred on the values of trust, responsibility, professionalism, appreciation and honesty.
In addition to the classic communication channels, we use the job pages of the social media channels LinkedIn and Xing. This enables us to establish contact with job candidates, build networks and fill vacant positions quickly.
Forward-looking companies understand the importance of attracting promising young people at an early stage. We initiated two new programmes in the year under review to ensure that we are able to attract young talent: The first is aimed at university graduates from all over the world, who gain international professional experience as trainees at different locations within the Group over a period of 18 months. In addition they complete individual training and attend seminars in order to prepare themselves for their later target positions within the company. The trainees are helped to achieve this by senior management. The second programme is aimed at young professionals who already have some experience as project managers, managers or experts. They take on challenging tasks in a cross-functional or cross-border project at KSB.
In addition, 45 young people completed a dual work/degree programme to obtain a Bachelor of Arts (business administration) or Bachelor of Engineering (mechanical engineering).
It is also important for a mechanical engineering company to train young skilled workers and industrial business management assistants, with a focus on practical learning. In the year under review, we imparted expertise to 189 young people in 18 vocational professions at the Frankenthal, Halle and Pegnitz locations and helped them to successfully qualify.
The success of this is borne out by the performances of the young employees before the CCI boards of examiners and in the distinctions awarded to KSB as an exemplary training company.
Just as important as professional expertise are personal development and a clear sense of responsibility. Our trainees again provided evidence of the latter in the social sphere in 2015 through their involvement at animal sanctuaries, in sponsored runs and by assisting refugees.
In the year under review, we spent € 7.24 million on vocational training in Germany, including the equipping of three mechanical engineering training workshops.
We invest in the development of our employees in order to maintain and increase their knowledge, skills and innovative drive in the long run. We conducted seminars around the world to enhance our employees’ expertise and promote their personal development. Many such measures are followed by an individual action plan that aims to implement the knowledge imparted more quickly.
We put particular emphasis on the further education of our sales staff in 2015, focusing on training programmes devoted to the requirements of a new sales channel aimed at the users of our products. In Russia we also trained experts in special applications for our products, such as power plants and the petrochemical industries. The participants were then able to use their new knowledge to train their colleagues at their respective workplaces.
Our managers also continuously examine their roles and the performance of their employees. We support this through individual development measures and topic-specific training programmes that enable them to reflect on and change their management style. In our biggest US company, GIW Industries, Inc., around 70 managers completed such a training programme in 2015.
Leadership always involves a duty of care to the employees. To reduce the physical harm caused by stress, we introduced a new e-learning programme in German and English in the year under review. The programme provides users with information on how they can support the mental health of their employees as well as their own.
Inspiring clients requires outstanding performance. The assumption underpinning this is that all employees know what is expected of them, which necessitates a clear communication and feedback culture.
Under the motto “Courage to talk means a chance to improve”, around 1,200 staff members around the world had taken part in a competence-based performance evaluation by the end of June 2015. The objective was to give the employees structured, open feedback about performance and conduct as well as to agree development objectives and measures together. Due to the positive experiences and outcomes of the evaluation, we will include further groups of employees in the process in 2016.
At the end of 2015, 16,196 people were employed in the Group, 113 fewer than at the same time the previous year. The number of employees at our German companies declined by 169 as a result of measures introduced above all by KSB AG to adapt to new market conditions. Meanwhile, the size of the French workforce increased by 126 employees, mainly due to the integration of a service unit.
Everything we do is designed to offer customers attractive products and services, in addition to expert advice. Managers and employees strive to achieve that objective each and every day. Thanks to them, we promote customer loyalty and attract new customers to our company.
The Board of Management thanks the staff for this achievement and their commitment during the implementation of the new initiatives that strengthen our competitiveness. Special thanks are also due to the Works Council members, executives’ representatives and youth representatives for their critical and constructive collaboration.