The success of our business relies heavily on the commitment and performance of skilled employees. Ensuring that KSB hires, develops and retains the best possible staff is one of the core tasks of HR management.
Our employees are highly dedicated to KSB. One of our key tasks is to coordinate their work optimally and to ensure that it is geared towards the Group’s objectives. With this in mind, we launched an initiative in the year under review that is designed to improve performance and set in the context of strategy, organisational structure and corporate values. This initiative incorporates an open feedback culture with periodic evaluations that focus on the employees’ strengths and tap into unfulfilled potential for even higher performance levels.
Another element of the initiative relates to the interfaces within the company. During “performance dialogues”, managers and employees discuss how interdepartmental processes can be improved and how global market opportunities can be exploited more quickly.
Our business can only be and remain competitive in future if our employees are qualified, willing to perform and motivated. In a market that is constantly changing and that demands a flexible approach on our part, our employees make the difference. Our continuing professional development methods are aligned with these new requirements. We aim to give our staff access to a more flexible and simpler way of learning, while also avoiding long periods of absence from the office or workshop. At the same time, the knowledge that we pass on internally or through training institutes must be as practically oriented as possible so that it can be applied directly.
We are making increasing use of e-learning, enabling our employees to complete computer-based training courses at a time that suits them. In 2014, about 2,700 members of staff made use of such training programmes to immerse themselves in new subject areas, particularly with regard to IT, technology and law.
The German TrainingCenter and HR at KSB S.A.S. in France have also developed concepts for integrated learning or “blended learning” for training in the fields of production, hydraulics, management and business administration. This approach combines traditional face-to-face learning with electronic methods.
In Germany, we continue to offer the in-house developed Pump & Applications Professional distance learning course. This demanding one-year course provides engineers and technicians with training in pump technology and the relevant areas of application. In the year under review, the third group of students completed this course, with the fourth group embarking on the training.
Using specially designed management programmes, we support our managers in their leadership role. We provide them with the opportunity to develop their thought processes, methods and personal style, all in keeping with our KSB values and goals.
Value-based training sessions have also been used for several years, with some 600 managers from across the world now having taken part in this type of training. The aim is to develop a common understanding of KSB’s corporate culture and of how to interact with employees in a positive way.
In India, the standard seminars offered to equip our employees with the necessary knowledge and skills were complemented in the reporting year by innovative training concepts geared to staff working in sales, production and service. The course participants worked on methods designed to generate synergies in their work processes and to make their workflows more efficient. In total, 56 employees took part in this type of training in 2014.
Our new sales structure in place since the start of 2014 allocates more responsibility to the regional sales offices. Consequently, sales staff across the world are building on their knowledge of applications and processes so that they can provide their customers with precisely tailored solutions.
In order to create a uniform knowledge basis globally, we have set up the Application Know-how Transfer project. This training concept is based on the multiplier principle, with participants going on to share their newly acquired knowledge with their colleagues. In the year under review more than 40 KSB experts, in the capacity of “master trainers”, trained selected sales employees, who then passed on their new skills in their own work environment in the capacity of regional trainers.
Every employee has strengths and talents, which we want to identify and promote. Systematic HR development helps us to provide training in individual skills. The aim is to ensure that our employees can prove themselves in a number of fields, thereby expanding their competencies and skills and the range of areas in which they can be deployed. Using a globally accessible job portal, key vacancies are advertised internally.
We also add to our ranks by hiring new experts and managers from outside KSB. The relevant online channels are used to target potential candidates. In this context, it helped that in 2014 we were one of the most active companies in social media in the German B2B sector. On LinkedIn, which is essentially a professional networking site, KSB had approximately 10,700 followers at year end. In November 2014 we also created a KSB presence on the business social networking platform Xing, which is more widely known in Germany.
For decades now, KSB has been training up-and-coming talent with good results. In the year under review; we were able to offer young people in Germany 16 different vocational training courses and dual study programmes. Through these channels, 267 young people were working to equip themselves for their future careers at KSB during 2014. We also trained young people for other companies. In 2014 we invested € 8.5 million in vocational training, which included fitting out three training workshops with the necessary equipment.
Our training concept is holistic in design. This means that, as well as providing young people with the specialist skills they need for their work, we also aim to impart social and methodological skills. In order to ensure that trainees broaden their horizons and have the opportunity to develop their social skills, we once again organised an exchange programme with the Paul Riebeck Foundation care home in Halle. This involved KSB trainees spending a week working in the old people’s home on a voluntary basis.
In an increasingly globalised world, experience of working abroad will be of advantage in young people’s careers. This is why, for several years now, we have been offering outstanding trainees as well as students on the dual study programmes the opportunity to spend a few months on a work placement at one of our companies abroad. In this way, the young KSB staff get to know other cultures and add to their linguistic and specialist skills. Across Germany 15 young people took advantage of this opportunity in 2014.
At the end of the year under review, 16,309 people were employed in the KSB Group, 237 fewer than in 2013. Significant falls were recorded at KSB AG and KSB Service GmbH, with 176 fewer employees by the reporting date. This reduction is related to measures to adapt to new market conditions and to improve KSB’s competitiveness. In addition, our Chinese subsidiaries cut their staff numbers by 103 employees in total. In contrast, 49 employees joined the Group in the year under review through the changes in the consolidated Group.
The 2014 financial year featured a series of changes for our staff. Many of their activities have been reorganised in terms of structure and content. The Board of Management would like to thank all employees for their strong personal commitment to implementing the changes and for working to ensure that their customers, both internal and external, benefited from a rapid and professional service. In so doing they have actively pursued one of our primary goals, namely further improving the company’s performance.
Special thanks also go to the members of the employee representative committees, including the Executives’ Committee. They have accompanied key change processes, making a constructive contribution to the resolution of difficult issues.