Taking action on demographic change
In view of the challenges posed by demographic change, LANXESS cooperated closely with the employee representatives in 2009 to develop XCare, a comprehensive demographic program for our German companies based on the collective agreement on lifelong worktime and demography in the chemical industry. In 2013, this program remained focused in particular on the issues of health management and preventive medicine and balancing career and family life. It aims to find answers to the challenges posed by a steady rise in the average age of our workforce coupled with a shortage of skilled young people.
The XCare project was initially based on an extensive demographic analysis of the entire LANXESS organization, which resulted in five areas of activity – people and health; work and training; time and organization; career and family life; and savings and retirement provision.
One aspect of work and training was the analysis of our trainee figures from a demographic perspective. Among the measures based on our findings was the decision to increase the number of vocational training places we offer. For the period 2011 through 2014, some 570 training places are available at our sites throughout Germany.
Vocational training In 2013, 159 young people (125 men and 34 women) joined our core companies in Germany to start a vocational training or combined vocational training and study program in one of the 13 technical, commercial or scientific professions at LANXESS. Of this number, 18 are enrolled in five combined vocational training and study programs. To ensure the long-term availability of skilled workers, we added a combined vocational training and study program in engineering sciences during the reporting period.
With a total of 456 trainees in 19 different career paths (as of December 31, 2013), LANXESS continues to train more young people than it needs to meet its own requirements. In 2013, despite our extensive restructuring program, we gave permanent and temporary positions to more than 80% of those who completed their vocational training with us in Germany.
LANXESS has always given priority to training young people as a means of safeguarding the company’s future and as an element of our social responsibility. In 2012, we once again strengthened the marketing activities for our vocational training programs using a range of media, attended all major regional career fairs and visited schools. Through events of our own such as “NeXt Azubi” (NeXt Apprentice), we also address young people with an interest in our company and give them valuable guidance for their later career choices. We again took part in Germany’s Girls’ Day in April 2013, providing girls with a deeper insight into technical areas of activity in our company. In addition, our one-year orientation program XOnce provides young people with useful guidance on their way to subsequent vocational training if they are not ready to take this route at the current time.
Demographic management Another main focus of our XCare demographic project in Germany is balancing career and family life. It is evident that this is an important issue for a growing number of LANXESS employees. 5.8% of our employees in Germany aged between 20 and 40 made use of the option to take parental leave. Of this figure, almost 43% were fathers. In 2011, in support of parents looking for care for their children, we started offering our employees reserved places at childcare facilities in Cologne ahead of the relocation of our company headquarters to that city in 2013. We also sought to increase the number of reserved places. In addition, we opened our company daycare center named Xkids in Leverkusen on July 30, 2013. The facility offers 50 places for children aged between six months and six years in two preschool groups and one crèche group. Xkids is open to all parents in Leverkusen but LANXESS employees have preferential rights.
Providing care is an important aspect of career and family life. We aim to support employees in the care of dependents, either financially or in terms of time. In line with the German government’s draft legislation on family caregiver leave, which came into force in 2012, we were one of the first companies to conclude a comprehensive agreement with employee representatives on a multistage caregiving program that includes advice from an external service provider, paid short-term release from duties, and individually agreed part-time working for caregivers. We added two further modules to this program in 2012 – a care loan at favorable terms and the support of an external service provider in arranging care placements close to all our German sites.
Caregiver leave remains at the heart of the program. This allows employees to reduce their working time to a greater extent than their salary during the care phase and to make up the shortfall when they return to work. 22 employees have already taken advantage of caregiver leave and other job release options.
Health and preventive action During the reporting year, we further intensified communication in the area of people and health and launched new projects across the company. We held information events and implemented measures at several sites concerning exercise, our top issue for the year. Our primary goal is to raise awareness of health issues among employees and managers and encourage them to adopt healthy behaviors at work and in their free time. We take seriously our responsibility of involving the employees and managers concerned in making workplaces as healthy as possible, but at the same time rely on the individual responsibility of our workforce. In Germany, our reintegration and occupational health management programs are based on corresponding agreements with our employee representatives.
As part of our reintegration management program, we give individual, case-by-case support to employees who are suffering illness or have had long periods of absence from work due to ill health in the past twelve months. To this end, workplace integration teams comprising integration officers and employee representatives have been in place at all our German sites since 2011. In 2013, as in the previous year, many employees accepted the offer of an individual consultation with the workplace reintegration team.
In the area of occupational health management, further facilities have joined those originally selected for pilot projects in taking the first steps toward introducing this system. As a rule, the projects are steered by working groups made up equally of employee and employer representatives who analyze the existing health situation and develop a participatory action model. The projects encompass management workshops, prevention concepts, advice on ergonomics for plant workers, help to give up smoking, nutrition programs for shift workers and skin screening. New measures introduced in 2013 concerned the working atmosphere and enhanced awareness for the prevention of psychological illnesses.
Experience from the pilot projects shows that our employees are particularly keen to obtain personal advice about their health and the possible need for preventive action. Building on this awareness and knowledge about their own health, employees are also responding well to follow-up offers. Special medical check-ups are offered specifically for top management. Around 500 eligible managers were invited to regular appointments in 2013.
In the area of savings and retirement provision, we made no changes to the long-term account for non-managerial employees as regulated by the agreement with the employee representatives and the collective bargaining agreement. Since August 2013, our employees have been able to access all information about their long-term account in an online portal. In addition, we introduced comprehensive accident insurance for all non-managerial employees in Germany at the beginning of 2013. Cover applies worldwide, both at work and at home.
All benefits with respect to work and family, health and retirement provision apply to the core workforce. Individual benefits may vary regionally and be adjusted locally to our employees’ needs. Variable remuneration systems have been implemented for 88% (2012: 78%) of our employees worldwide, while 65% benefit from unfunded company pension plans.