Strategic Objective: Work Organization Fit for the Future

A job’s attractiveness depends first and foremost on the workplace itself. Accordingly, we endeavor to provide an innovative working environment in our plants and offices which allows individuals to fulfill their potential. This includes introducing new approaches such as Scrum and design thinking in knowledge work, as well as innovative practices on the shop floor, for instance by systematically designing technology around the workforce. In addition, we offer working time models tailored to individual workers’ requirements and specific programs for employees with special needs, as in these cases in particular, customized forms of work organization can significantly boost performance and job satisfaction levels. 

For instance, Volkswagen AG’s Work2Work program has been creating new career opportunities for performance-impaired employees since 2001. An employee’s current potential is matched to workplace requirements so that despite performance impairments, the individual is nevertheless still able to make a significant contribution to value creation. Almost 2,000 employees have benefited from this program in recent years, and 541 people are currently employed in Work2Work jobs in Wolfsburg across some 100 different activities. In 2016, the proportion of severely disabled people in Volkswagen AG’s total workforce came to 7.74%, considerably more than the statutory quota of 5%. The fact that approximately 55% of these severely disabled employees work in production demonstrates that we have plenty of experience in providing special workstations for people with performance impairments. We are also committed to employees with disabilities in other countries too. For instance, over 200 people with disabilities work in six sheltered workshops at ŠKODA production plants in Czechia. We also support jobs for severely disabled people by awarding contracts to workshops for people with disabilities. Orders worth over €19.5 million were placed in 2016.

Expanding Barrier-free Access

Creating the workplaces of the future also means making them barrier-free. This includes ensuring that all employees, regardless of any impairment, can access and use all buildings, information and communication facilities without assistance. To make it easier for all our employees to find barrier-free parking spaces, cafés, canteens, self-service shops, elevators and first-aid stations in our plants, we have drawn up an “accessibility map” which is updated on an ongoing basis. We are also constantly increasing the number of barrier-free workstations and training facilities, as well as our barrier-free processes. In 2015, we rolled out an accessible online application process for our vocational training programs; this was further expanded in 2016.

Innovative Working Time Models

Flexible working time plays a significant role in innovative work organization models. Volkswagen is continuously working to further enhance the ability of its employees to combine work and family life. In September 2016, Volkswagen AG introduced a far-reaching company agreement governing mobile working, i.e. work away from the usual workplace. Since October 2016, workers at Audi AG have been entitled to flexible working arrangements in terms of location and time, provided this is feasible for the particular job in question. These agreements are satisfying the wishes of many employees for more flexibility in choosing where and when they work.

Volkswagen AG is extremely flexible in its undertaking to re-employ workers who take extended leave: for the past 20 years or so, employees have been able to take up to eight years’ leave of absence without having to give a reason. Regardless of whether this leave is used as a sabbatical, for parental leave or career development purposes, employees have a guaranteed right to re-employment on the same terms and conditions as before. Both Audi and Porsche also have arrangements for sabbaticals in place. At Audi, this is governed by the company agreement on sabbaticals drawn up in 2009, while at Porsche, it is governed by the 2014 company agreement on voluntary personal leave. This sabbatical model comprises a work phase and an unpaid leave phase. The minimum duration of the unpaid leave period is two months, and the maximum is twelve months.

We also offer a wide range of options for taking a leave of absence to care for close family members. Employees are entitled to take up to 10 working days of leave at short notice, to make arrangements for appropriate care for instance. They may also take up to six months part-time or full-time leave to care for a family member. Another option is to work part-time for up to 24 months in order to meet caring obligations. At Porsche, employees have been able to apply for time off to care for family members since 2014. If care is urgently required within the family, they can take up to three months’ leave.

We believe these measures greatly contribute to the present and future attractiveness of work at Volkswagen, consequently also ensuring the company remains competitive.