We respond to the challenges of shifting demographics by way of our demography and generation management. A number of different seminars have been developed with this in mind. By offering a suitable range of seminars for our older members of staff at the Hannover location, we support their performance capability with an eye to specialist, personal and health considerations. A seminar entitled "Actively Shaping the Retirement Transition" helps older personnel to plan their final years with the company purposefully and with an eye to the future some years prior to actually stopping work. We are also taking various steps to counter the change in the age structure of our workforce by improving cooperation between new recruits and long-standing employees. In the past, work in mixed groups has proven especially helpful and promising for our company.
Systematic succession planning prevents gaps being left by the departure of executive staff. In a standardised process that we conduct every other year at the Hannover location, all positions from Management Level 3 (General Manager/Director) upwards are analysed for the company's head office and for selected international entities. This process is supported by Human Resources Management at the Hannover location. In the context of talks with all Managing Directors in Hannover we first identify potential successors for every position on the General Manager level. Furthermore, each possible successor is evaluated in terms of their abilities and potentials and any required (development) measures are discussed. The evaluation is based on the following criteria: specialist expertise, methodological skills, social skills, leadership ability and an assessment of their potential for the envisaged management level. Furthermore, we also identify other high potentials and mission-critical individuals and positions. The summary findings on possible successors for the General Manager positions are subsequently discussed and expanded upon on the level of the Board members responsible for the areas in question. In the same way and on the basis of the same criteria, the Board members with area responsibility also identify possible successors for the Managing Director positions. The results of the succession planning, including additional comments by Human Resources Management, are then discussed by the full Executive Board at its retreat.
As a general principle, we fill vacant management positions whenever possible from within our own ranks – where qualifications are equivalent – and we therefore consider leadership potential even at the recruitment stage. At our consolidated Group companies, too, we take care to ensure that all positions on Management Level 3 or higher are filled locally in the respective countries wherever possible. Most current managerial roles are consequently performed by local staff.