Sustainability Report 2017

Interview with Dr Katharina Herrmann


"Our demands of the corporate culture are high."

Dr Katharina Herrmann, Chief Human Resources Officer

What topics were most important for you as CHRO in 2017?

— Katharina Herrmann: Clearly, the issue of occupational safety is the most important concern for me. In 2017, we laid a lot of new groundwork so that all 50Hertz employees and our partners can go home from work healthy and happy. Together with our contractors, we actively worked on the topic of occupational safety. After three years of preparation and a mutually instructive, joint growth process, we have been able to integrate the basics of occupational health and safety as a relevant part of the new contracts with our partners. We developed a point system with an escalation model which also means that the high occupational safety requirements are visible to and complied with by our partners. So we can now make sure that, even in the financial accounting of projects, our requirements are implemented by our partners.

50Hertz also engages in open and honest dialogue within the company. How does this work in detail?

— Katharina Herrmann:
Our “Say it!” employee survey was conducted in November 2017 for the third time already, with a detailed assessment in the first quarter of 2018. The intensive dialogues on this began immediately afterwards. This also includes reflecting within the team on the effects of the measures implemented after the previous survey. What do we do well and where can we improve? What topics are important to us all? An employee survey is always a good reason for team development, too. I was particularly pleased that the employee commitment had remained at the same high level as the 2014 employee survey. This is particularly impressive against the background of the strong growth of 50Hertz in recent years. We have convinced all of our new colleagues that it is a pleasure to work at 50Hertz, shaping the energy transition.

For Chief Human Resources Officer, Dr. Katharina Herrmann,occupational safety is of the utmost importance.

This is certainly also due to the active participation of the workforce in company affairs. What were you especially pleased about?

— Katharina Herrmann: In addition to the voluntary equal representation on our Supervisory Board, we also try to motivate the younger members of our workforce to get involved in co determination at an early stage. I am particularly pleased that, after being elected at the end of 2016, our youth and apprentice representatives (JAV) were able to get actively involved for the first time in 2017. The JAV representatives, for example, looked at the training conditions in all professional areas and searched for opportunities to improve. This resulted, among other things, in a new, uniform evaluation form for trainees across all locations.

How does 50Hertz ensure a diverse workforce?

 — Katharina Herrmann:
The structure of our co determination and the many other Works Council committees stand, on the one hand, for a high level of workforce involvement, but also require a high level of commitment by the individual. Many different committees, for example, the inclusion team, are active at 50Hertz and stand for the diverse composition of our company. The step from co determination to diversity is not very big at all. Of course, we also employ diversely. The number of different nationalities has developed very positively. This year we have a severely disabled trainee for the first time. And we also have a very active women’s network.

What is yet to be done to promote women at 50Hertz?

 — Katharina Herrmann: This year, we analysed our application processes in detail for the third year in a row. How many women and men applied for which positions? How is this percentage broken down at our company and to what extent does it reflect the labour market? We gained two important insights: Our application processes are very fair, because both women and men come through the different application levels equally successfully without being given any preference. But we simply receive too few applications from women for the technical professions and projects. With only ten percent of women in the application procedure for technical profiles, we are unable to increase the percentage of women at 50Hertz. Within the company, on the other hand, a much larger proportion of women also apply for technical projects. I hope this will also be the case for our external applications in the future.