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2017 Annual Report

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2017 Annual Report

Continental Corporation - 2017 Annual Report


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Our people, our culture, our future – employees and corporate culture guarantee the success of our company.

Personnel work is an important part of our company’s value creation and plays a key and pioneering role in our growth strategy. Our employees and the way we work together are key to our future success. They drive our technological progress and growth and lay the foundations today for the success of our company tomorrow.

We value our employees whose skills, abilities and achievements are our company’s most valuable asset. Our goal is to make optimal use of their skills and develop them in the best-possible way. Our Human Relations (HR) team actively supports our employees in their professions and careers and encourages them to develop their talents. We thereby create tangible value: for our employees, our company, our customers and all other stakeholders.

Employees by region

Employees by region

Our HR policy is holistic and based on working with and for one another. In our collaboration, we attach great importance to relationships with one another and to ensuring that the shared corporate values – Trust, Passion To Win, Freedom To Act and For One Another – are put into practice. These values are the basis of our corporate culture and shape the way we interact with each other and with our customers and partners. Continuous development of our corporate culture is therefore a vital part of ensuring our future viability and creating value.

Our HR policy is founded on two strategic pillars within which we implement different HR projects and initiatives. Based on these two pillars, we systematically develop our HR work further and make it fit for the future.

  • With “Industrialize Best Fit,” we are developing HR management in the context of our “best fit” concept in order to meet our considerable need for employees with the right skills and abilities – now and in the future.
  • “Enable Transformation” supports digital transformation at Continental so that we can make the most of the opportunities of digitalization throughout the corporation.

“Industrialize Best Fit” – meeting staffing needs with precision
In the year under review, we received nearly 400,000 applications for salaried positions worldwide – with about 73,500 in Germany alone – which demonstrates that Continental is a highly attractive employer for people all around the globe. At the same time, this large number presents the personnel systems and processes with particular challenges, since it is important to know our requirements and find the right applicant for the right position as efficiently as possible.

We are working on a number of closely related projects in the context of improving our HR data and systems, HR planning and recruitment, and employee development. In the medium term, what we are looking for at Continental is not somebody for a job, but rather the right position at the company for a particular candidate. What counts is the person who is the best fit for a vacant position. This means the person with exactly the right skills, abilities and values for the job and for Continental. The better the fit between employees and their jobs at Continental, the more satisfied and motivated the employees will be, which are key factors for productivity and quality. This best fit is becoming increasingly important in light of the growing need for suitable employees.

Strategic HR planning
In view of future growth and increasingly short innovation cycles, we need to act now to identify and secure future personnel requirements. This is why the HR teams around the world are involved in the product development process at an early stage, in close collaboration with the business units.

We rely on strategic HR planning that further increases the level of detail in our plans while also creating a uniform and reliable crossdivisional HR strategy. In this context, we simulate firstly the expected development of our current workforce based on factors such as retirements and staff turnover and, secondly, the personnel requirements that we need in order to successfully achieve our business goals. By comparing these two factors, we can identify the quantitative and qualitative requirements at an early stage so that we can build up the required expertise in good time. The results help us, for example, to identify how the challenges of digital transformation will affect the requirements for individual employees, so that corresponding training measures can be initiated on a preparatory basis in the next step.

After establishing a binding framework for requirements planning with uniform processes and principles in a pilot project in 2016, we implemented strategic HR planning throughout the corporation in the reporting year. For example, 98.5% of all employees in our global HR system were covered by the strategic HR planning.

Structure of the workforce
  Dec. 31, 2017 Dec. 31, 2016
Total number of employees 235,473 220,137
    Total number of employees 219,687 206,162
        outside Germany 162,833 152,136
        in Germany 56,854 54,026
Trainees1 2,155 2,067
Female employees in % 27.2 27.0
Average years of service to the company1 14.3 14.6
Average age of employees in years1 43.2 43.3
Download table overview (MS-Excel)

1 In Germany.

Big-data analyses in HR
In the year under review, we expanded our approach to strategic HR planning to additional locations with big-data-assisted skill analyses – i.e. determining skills and expertise through the evaluation of data. This global, strategic skills management approach now covers 35% of all IT employees as well as software and electrical engineers. Around 1,000 highly specialized skills from the most varied of software fields and their distribution among the employees have been identified in the process. This has made it possible to determine targeted, forward-looking HR measures, including measures for qualification, recruitment and intensifying cooperation with universities. In addition, we have taken the first steps toward establishing internal big-data skills within the HR environment in order to turn the existing data to our advantage more efficiently.

Diagnostic procedure to find the right employee
To further improve the best fit between applicants and vacant positions and thus enhance the quality of our recruitment processes, we have developed and intensified various diagnostic projects in 2017.

One of them is being carried out at our location in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The locations in Makó, Hungary, and Chongqing, China, were new additions. Here, extensive online and on-site tests and work samples were used to select employees for our factories. The unique feature of this process is that candidates for wage-earning roles do not apply for specific positions, but rather are given recommendations as to which positions represent the best fits for them. The overriding objective of these pilot projects is to establish a global, standardized selection process for wage-earning employees.

For salaried positions, we have introduced scientifically validated and standardized online processes, which we want to use to gain an impression of the applicant’s skills at an early stage of the application. The international rollout of the Continental online assessments for salaried positions is close at hand.

In addition, we have begun to update the potential diagnostics landscape for the various management levels at the corporation.

Training record in the reporting year
In fall 2017, 702 trainees in Germany began their training, dual studies or an entry qualification at Continental – the largest ever training cohort in our history. We have more than tripled the number of traineeships we offer over the last 20 years.

In 2017, it was not only the numbers that increased but also the quality. At 10.3%, the ratio of outstanding performance (final grade of “very good”) in our training placements is higher than the German average measured by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (6.6%).

Training program for automotive software technicians
As part of our best-fit initiative, we also continue to give practically minded individuals and career changers the opportunity to develop “from career changers to career climbers” – especially if they have specific skills in software and technology. For example, in 2017, Continental expanded its training and education program for software experts to include an additional module. The advanced qualification for automotive software technicians offers our employees a three-year course ending in an officially recognized qualification. In the selection process, we do not mainly rely on formal educational qualifications but trust in skills and abilities. A good software developer or technician does not necessarily need a degree. We want to use our education and training program to counter the general shortage of skilled IT staff early on. Our tailor-made education formats make us less dependent on the job market and therefore more competitive.

“Enable Transformation” – accompanying digital transformation
Digital transformation is presenting major challenges for Continental, too. After all, the digitalization of the working world is changing established and familiar structures. Product cycles are becoming shorter, which means companies need to be able to flexibly adapt to new customer requirements and rapidly develop new business models.

At the same time, digitalization offers our company many opportunities – both in terms of tapping new markets and also with regard to training our employees. For this reason, the Human Relations team is actively helping shape digital transformation. Competitive advantages emerge if the company and its workforce adapt to the new conditions more quickly and flexibly than others. That is why we must be more agile, innovative and interconnected in the way we think and act. In this context, we are promoting four key areas:

  • Diversity management – essential requirement for creative ideas and alternative solution strategies.
  • Flexible working conditions – enable our employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Inspiring leadership culture – increases the enjoyment derived from commitment and spurs people on to perform well.
  • Lifelong learning and intensive exchange of knowledge between our employees – give rise to the best solutions for our customers.

In 2017, we focused on enhancing our diversity management, flexible working conditions and our leadership culture.

Equal opportunities and increasing diversity
Equal opportunities and diversity – we attach particular importance to these issues in our selection procedures and talent development. After all, it is our employees’ diverse perspectives, characteristics, experience and cultures that help make our company innovative. Our activities are currently focused on internationality and a balanced gender ratio. Today, 45% of our management team does not come from Germany. The percentage of women at management level worldwide has also increased again – from 12.2% in 2016 to 13.4% in 2017. We aim to staff 16% of all management positions with women by 2020. For more information about our targets for the percentage of women in management positions, please see the Corporate Governance Declaration in the Corporate Governance Report on page 22.

Diversity breeds innovation
In 2017, we held additional events to promote diversity besides the more than 25 Diversity Days around the world.

In the reporting year, the second Women@Work event was held with 75 participants, mostly from Europe and South Africa. The aim of this event was to support young women with their career development, strengthen their impact and increase their presence within the corporation. Similar national events in Korea and India with the same aim reached another 240 participants.

“Experiencing diversity as a catalyst and requirement for innovation” – this was the theme of the second and third Diversity Summits in Berlin, Germany, and Hangzhou, China. Both events brought an international group of attendees together to experience the benefits of diversity and to generate creative ideas for the further development of the Continental culture. The group of “transformation champions” continues to meet up online once a month to push forward the changes planned together.

Promotion of entrepreneurial spirit with comprehensive startup program
A startup program was launched in 2017, the first part of which was “incubator,” which gave our employees the opportunity to implement their own business ideas in a startup environment as new entrepreneurs. The aim is to foster talented entrepreneurs, increase agility, accelerate cultural transformation into the new working world, and develop pioneering concepts that will drive Continental’s long-term success.

More than 32,000 employees from 10 pilot locations in seven countries took part in a company-wide competition. 420 concepts were submitted. The three winning teams were given the chance to develop their concepts further in a startup environment away from their normal jobs for three months.

Flexible working conditions come into force
After we defined the global framework for flexible working conditions at the end of 2016, 2017 was characterized by the global implementation of the measures. In 18 countries, our employees can now configure their ways of working more individually, and we are on the homestretch in three more countries. Employees throughout the entire corporation from all hierarchical levels are now making the most of opportunities for mobile working, part-time and flextime working, and sabbaticals.

We are currently working on various options for our employees in the production units. The challenge is to square the demand for flexible models with the requirements of a highly efficient production environment, for example, through autonomous methods for shift planning, time-out models (“mini-sabbaticals”) or attractive part-time models.

Mastering digital transformation through a good leadership culture
Digitalization and globalization are radically changing and accelerating the working world. More is also being demanded of management than ever before. Managers are having to organize the old and the new in equal measure. In order to master this challenge while further elevating the quality of all processes and products, we focused on our leadership culture in 2017, launching a wide-ranging internal dialogue both with employees as well as with managers.

The result is the modernization of our management philosophy. Continental is tackling the changes with an approach that unites two fields of modern management while at the same time fostering quality. The first element, “values-based leadership,” prioritizes managers’ role model function, their actions according to clear values and the use of new methods of working. The second element, “transformational leadership,” promotes the role of the manager as an active and inspiring driver of the transformation of the market, corporation and employees.

Geared toward this management approach, we are supporting management quality at Continental with a combination of ongoing measures. To increase the globally consistent quality of the leadership architecture development programs offered, a quality management system was prepared and introduced in 2017 and is expected to result in DIN ISO certification in 2018.

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