Attractive employer with fair, performance-based employment conditions
DB wants to keep its employees at the company for the long term through flexible working models, a variety of fringe benefits, arrangements that make it easier to reconcile work and family commitments, and programs that promote good health.
For DB, collective wage agreements are an essential means of offering workers attractive, reliable employment conditions, especially in Germany. In 2011, extensive, industry-wide standards were introduced for wages and working hours in the German regional rail passenger transport sector for the first time. In addition to this, the challenges of demographic change are being given greater weight in agreements between DB and the other parties involved in pay negotiations. In 2012, the German Rail and Transport Workers' Union (EVG), the employers' and business association of the industry organization Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsdienstleister e.V. (Agv MoVe), and DB agreed to an innovative collective wage agreement designed to address demographic change. The aim is to offer DB employees the chance to remain at the firm throughout their working lives. The agreement includes a permanent job offer for all trainees who complete their courses successfully and the right to work shorter hours from a set age onwards for employees on regular or irregular shifts along with a certain level of compensatory pay. The new collective wage agreement also comprises a permanent job guarantee, which rules out redundancies and dismissals due to the loss of, or a reduction in, an employee's ability to work.
Work is also constantly under way to further develop the employment conditions for managers and other employees not on the standard pay scale. The target system of the DB2020 strategy is integrated into variable end-of-year remuneration for the 2013 financial year. This means that performance-related pay is geared towards the company's sustainability strategy. As of 2013, managerial-level staff can also choose from an extended range of mobility options consisting of the BahnCard100 First rail card and Flinkster (car sharing). In addition, all managers and other employees not on the standard pay scale are offered a flat rate for DB's own Call a Bike rental bicycles. With this move, DB aims to create additional incentives to choose an eco-friendly alternative to the company car.
Besides fair remuneration commensurate with each employee's performance, DB offers a wide range of fringe benefits to make it an attractive employer. Five of DB's biggest social partners – the Railway Staff Social Services Foundation (BSW), the health insurer BAHN-BKK, the association of railway staff sports clubs (VDES), the insurer DEVK, and Sparda banks – develop benefit packages for employees.
It is becoming increasingly important in the world of work to enable staff to reconcile their professional challenges with their family and leisure commitments. DB wants to make it easier for employees to achieve a work-life balance at every stage of life and make this aspect more attractive for potential employees. The aim is to eliminate disadvantages and to enable staff with family commitments to go back to work and develop professionally. Each of the DB companies has been given more flexibility to tailor shift plans even more closely to employees' wishes, enabling employees to strike the right work-life balance. A number of regulations associated with the collective agreements were temporarily lifted to find customized solutions. In the future, employees on the standard pay scale will also be able to make greater use of flexible working models. As of this year, they can take a sabbatical, for example. Since 2012, DB has enabled its managers to take sabbaticals to gain a fresh outlook and achieve personal goals. These sabbaticals are funded in advance by the employer and can last up to six months.
Together with the Railway Staff Social Services Foundation (BSW), DB helps employees find childcare facilities and reserves a number of places at daycare centers for employees' children. Childcare coordinators have been on hand to help at several sites since 2012. DB is taking a new approach with mentoring programs such as "Career and Children," which began in 2012. The initiative aims to help existing and potential executives return to work easily after parental leave and to support their subsequent further development.
Being family-friendly also means helping staff with any questions they may have about looking after relatives who need care. DB works with the senior citizens' service run by the Arbeiterwohlfahrt workers' welfare organization to offer advice on providing the right care. In addition to this, the company has initiated a pilot project in Northern Germany in conjunction with BSW and the carer information service Deutscher Pflegering. The project includes a service portal about care, an index of service providers and a hotline. Furthermore, the new collective wage agreement designed to address demographic change outlines a model enabling family carers to take time off.
DB believes that health promotion makes an important contribution towards employee satisfaction, the company's attractiveness as an employer and its preparedness for coping with demographic change. Its established wide range of offers to promote good health include healthy eating options at company canteens, courses to help smokers quit and help dealing with addictions. DB also offers a variety of sports. Special attention is paid to psychological well-being in the workplace. Over ten years ago, a support concept was developed for train drivers trying to come to terms with accident-related experiences. It combines prevention by preparing drivers mentally for such incidents, immediate assistance in emergencies and support from trusted mentors, psychologists and social workers. Partly because of its experience with this support concept, DB decided to expand its stress prevention and needs-based support measures in 2012 to make them available to all staff in Germany. With the aid of the staff support team (MUT), employees and their relatives can find someone to talk to and give them advice when stressful professional or personal situations arise. The team offers completely anonymous, free advice on psychological and medical issues and provides information on the many services offered by DB's cooperation partners.
DB would like to keep its employees at the company for as long as possible – at least until the legal retirement age – since older members of staff are a source of acquired knowledge. DB has therefore been testing a health-oriented prevention program for older employees since 2012. The CLARA pilot project ("Clever und aktiv Richtung Alter") unites three key aspects of health promotion: information about health and aging, sports and exercise programs, and mental training.
Occupational health and safety rests primarily on an awareness of what causes accidents. The Group-wide accident management system records, processes and assesses dangerous incidents in Germany. The Group works continuously to improve conditions relating to health and safety, enabling employees to behave safely at all times. DB is constantly reducing accident figures with a ten-point health and safety program including risk assessments, audits, training and information about using personal protective equipment.
By linking the issues of technical strategy and health promotion more closely, DB has developed a new approach to modern occupational health and safety, which now goes beyond guidelines and state requirements. More importantly, it is about taking older and disabled employees' individual abilities into account since they must be physically and mentally capable of fulfilling their specific role. The initial pilot projects focus on two areas: first, engaging experts with close ties to DB and company doctors to provide ergonomic workstations and assess psychological pressures, and second, making more jobs available for staff with existing or new disabilities.