Development opportunities and diversity for international markets

Our global alignment is a key strategic advantage. LANXESS currently employs people from 69 countries across the world. Our successful focus on the BRICS countries is a deliberate strategy to increase proximity to local customers and markets. However, training, the transfer of know-how and international experience are not one-way streets, which is why LANXESS is increasingly sending employees from the BRICS countries to its sites in Western Europe and North America.

International assignments are a key component of our systematic HR development process. Therefore, all expatriate positions at LANXESS have been advertised globally since mid-2012. This gives all our employees the same opportunity to apply for an international assignment and embark on an international career.

We feel it is important to give the best-possible consideration to an employee’s family circumstances in the event of international assignment. Also in the year under review, LANXESS provided a dual career allowance to compensate some of the loss of income caused when a partner gives up work to accompany one of our employees on an international assignment. In addition, we support the accompanying partner’s professional development.

Making expatriate management one of the central components of systematic personnel development also means enabling employees with limited international mobility to work abroad. In 2012, therefore, we enhanced the framework conditions for short-term assignments. To this end, our revised International Assignment Policy now includes an attractive mix of fringe benefits and special training for both long-term and short-term assignments. In this way, we are making it easier for new and experienced managers as well as skilled non-managerial employees to acquire international work experience.

With the introduction of the Advance efficiency and restructuring program, the number of employees on international assignment was greatly reduced in 2013. At year end, 187 employees – around 5% of our managers – were working as expatriates outside their home countries, mainly Singapore, China, the United States and Brazil.

In addition to achieving a global transfer of knowledge by sending experts and managers abroad, our goal is still to develop local management with the necessary expertise and international competencies in each country and to transfer challenging tasks to suitable local employees. Outside Germany, 69% of our management functions are currently filled by local employees.

The global Diversity & Inclusion initiative With the goal of achieving structured development of diversity at LANXESS and utilizing its positive effects for our company and its employees, we established the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiative in 2011, under the patronage of Board of Management member and Labor Director Dr. Rainier van Roessel. This initiative reflects the great importance of a diverse workforce for our competitiveness on global markets, for increasing our innovative strength and performance capabilities and for attracting and retaining promising talents – especially in light of the demographic challenges in various countries.

Given the many different dimensions of diversity (e.g. age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, social origin and experience), we decided at an early stage to establish a clear focus by concentrating on the dimensions of age, gender and nationality. The criteria for this decision included the expected leverage effect for a diverse corporate culture at LANXESS and the importance of different dimensions in key country organizations and target markets.

Despite these differences, our commitment to increasing diversity worldwide has a common basis – equal opportunity. Wherever equal opportunity exists, recruitment and development will be based on performance, experience and personality, and not on membership of a particular group. To guarantee this in all cases, a company must influence the attitudes of its employees and managers toward the different nationalities, age structures, genders etc. they encounter in their daily work. Diversity starts in the head of every individual.

With this in mind, the path to greater diversity at LANXESS requires a cultural change process above all else. We must also create the structural framework (e.g. organization, processes, guidelines) so that diversity generates added value for our employees and the company. During the reporting year, we continued to develop and implement a range of measures as part of our Diversity & Inclusion initiative.

We added three further business entities and subsidiaries as D&I pilots. The D&I Dashboard completed in 2013 will in future facilitate the detailed analysis of data pertaining to the three dimensions in our focus. Each business unit and group function will be able to view its D&I indicators on national, regional and global level, enabling the development of appropriate strategic measures. By extending the Ladies Lunch women’s network to Brazil, China, Germany and India and establishing an expatriate network in Germany, two initiatives have been launched to improve dialogue within the company. Following successful piloting in one business unit, our global mentoring program is due to be rolled out across the company. 2014 will see the entry into force of a number of new guidelines such as a recruiting guideline that anchors diversity aspects and a guideline for future mothers. We are also working on the development of an innovative job-sharing model aimed at achieving greater workplace flexibilization.

The Senior Trainee Program – the Diversity & Inclusion lighthouse project launched in 2012 – was honored as an innovative individual project with the Diversity Award 2013 from German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche and McKinsey. The 18-month program offers a qualified full-time position to employees with an academic background who wish to return to working life after a period of time spent raising a family. Alongside their actual work, the participants receive personal support from a mentor, individual coaching and tailor-made training. On November 5, 2012, 14 Senior Trainees began their second career in 11 different business sectors. Since then, they have been gaining experience in various areas of responsibility, in line with their academic training and in part through job rotation. By better recognizing the professional and life experience of these men and women and actively utilizing their potential, we are taking a particularly innovative approach to combining our general commitment to greater diversity with the requirements of active demographic management.

Through all these measures, our D&I initiative is making a key contribution to reaching the goal we have set ourselves of raising the proportion of women in middle and upper management to 20% by 2020. The figure currently stands at around 15.1%.

LANXESS Employee Structure by Age Group, Gender and Region
(excluding Germany)
Germany North America Latin America Asia-Pacific
Age group Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male
< 20   1           2    
20 – 29 82 270 138 468 33 130 83 266 165 496
30 – 39 199 783 281 1,125 61 192 126 376 258 905
40 – 49 145 906 543 2,372 85 287 48 322 132 514
50 – 59 92 869 432 2,453 152 430 29 291 29 183
≥ 60 15 82 30 278 44 112 1 16 2 12
Total 533 2,911 1,423 6,694 375 1,151 287 1,273 586 2,110