Globally, our employees drive advances in science and technology. We encourage every one of them to pursue the career path that aligns with their individual ambitions, skills and talents. To sustain our success, we endeavor to attract talent who will bring courage, creativity and curiosity to our company.
Our approach to attracting and retaining talent
We believe that curiosity can make great things happen. We therefore seek to provide an environment that gives our employees scope for creativity and ignites their passion to innovate. Our employer brand communicates this mindset to the outside world. Through our motto “Bring Your Curiosity to Life”, we show applicants, whether potential apprentices or university graduates, what they can expect when they join our company. To this end, in Germany we cooperate with regional target universities, student initiatives and associations. In addition, we regularly organize events in order to give students an insight into our company. We also take part in job fairs in Germany and abroad. University graduates can apply for a position with our company directly or complete one of our trainee programs. In addition to recruiting talented students, we also provide financial assistance. For instance, we collaborate with the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes) and support the scholarships granted by Deutschlandstipendium, a scholarship program of the German federal government.
In addition to our recruiting efforts, the vocational and advanced training of our employees also plays an essential role for us. We support their personal and professional development in line with their strengths, ambitions and competencies, thereby laying the groundwork for an enriching and challenging career with our company. We endeavor to find qualified employees at an early stage in their career and systematically advance them.
Apart from dual education programs, we consider vocational training a key way to meet the current and future need for qualified professionals. As competition for young talent grows, job and occupation security are crucial, which is why we continuously invest in new technologies and integrate these into our vocational training programs. If, after completing their apprenticeship, our employees wish to continue studying while working, we will cover up to 75% of the costs and grant them special leave.
How we organize recruiting, vocational training and advanced training
Human Resources (HR) supports and advises all business sectors and Group functions within our organization. Our Talent, Development & Recruiting center of expertise develops strategies to advance our employees, organization and company culture. More information on the structure of HR can be found under “Good leadership”.
Our HR4You digital platform, which can be accessed by all employees, helps us to globally harmonize our HR processes. For instance, the platform allows them to initiate and steer the Performance and Potential Management Process themselves, to apply for vacation or to access their pay slips.
Our commitment: Employee development guideline
Our People Development & Learning Policy provides a Group-wide framework within which employees can manage their professional growth. It defines requirements for our development opportunities, roles and responsibilities. The corresponding processes are described in our People Development & Learning Standards.
Providing feedback and supporting development
We regularly provide our employees with performance feedback. The Performance and Potential Management Process ensures that, in addition to this regular feedback, a meeting is held once a year to evaluate their overall performance. This process is applicable to all employees Group-wide in Role 2 or higher, and additionally to all non-exempt staff employed by either Merck KGaA or any other subsidiary based in Germany.
Our managers and their subordinates agree on individual annual objectives, define the framework and specify the desired development direction for the year. The annual bonus depends on individual performance and objective achievement. Additionally, the bonus calculation also reflects the company’s overall performance, which we determine using various company key indicators.
Once the development direction is defined, our managers and their staff create a detailed development plan that reflects each employee’s core tasks and the company’s current strategic priorities. When drafting the development plan, all employees have access to the Development Advisor. Building on the Merck competencies and Merck leadership behaviors, this digital tool provides a selection of development opportunities that employees can tailor to their own needs. Every employee can thus create their development plan quickly and easily via HR4You.
They can additionally collect feedback from selected colleagues and external partners on their personal development. This 360-degree feedback helps to identify personal strengths and advancement opportunities. Moreover, our people have access to a real-time feedback tool that can be accessed via their PC or smartphone, making it even easier to give and receive feedback. Intended to help promote a cross-hierarchical feedback culture, this tool has been used since its rollout by approximately 24,700 employees, who provided feedback around 43,300 times. We are continuously updating the tool to make it more user-friendly.
of our employees took part in the Performance and Potential Management Process in 2019. 75% of them setting up an approved development plan.
Employee learning and education
Our Group-wide advanced training and continuing education program ensures that our employees develop the skills and abilities needed to help us realize our company strategy. We constantly adapt our offers to meet the current learning needs of our employees and the strategic priorities of our company. As part of their individual development plan, our employees can use our learning management system to register for seminars and e-learning courses. In 2019, we additionally launched the method of “Working Out Loud” Group-wide – a self-guided learning method that aims to foster collaboration within the company.
In 2019, more than 11,200 employees took part in our classroom training courses worldwide. These courses are flexible, meaning that while the core curriculum is uniform Group-wide, there is still room for site-specific modifications. In addition, around 2,500 employees registered for Group-wide e-learning courses, and approximately 430 completed language training online.
We reward the performance of our employees so as to maintain a competitive edge in attracting qualified professionals, which necessitates commensurate compensation. Within our Group, compensation is based on the requirements of each position as well as each employee’s respective performance. In addition to competitive pay, we offer attractive fringe and social benefits. Our benefits4me package consists of three pillars, namely company-funded benefits including our company pension plan, health and well-being offerings, and services, for instance bicycle or IT hardware leasing offers. To meet the multifaceted needs of our workforce, we offer a variety of benefit packages worldwide.
To ensure a competitive remuneration structure, we regularly review our compensation policy based on data analyses and benchmarks. In doing so, we take internal factors and market requirements equally into account. Before adapting our remuneration structure, we consult with key stakeholders such as employee representatives. The pay structures within our company are based on defined criteria such as job requirements and performance. We do not make any distinctions based on gender.
Sparking young people's interest in our company
We employ trainees in units such as Inhouse Consulting, Finance, Production, Marketing, Sales, Procurement, Human Resources, as well as Research and Development. Additional functions can be added as required.
Our GOGlobal program enables university graduates to join our company as a trainee. Within 24 months, these entry-level employees get to know various departments and functions while also gaining international work experience. Centered on China, Germany and the United States, the program offers insight into various units and includes international assignments, individual continuing education, mentoring, and coaching. In 2019, we employed a total of 106 trainees.
To cultivate young academic talent, we also offer internships in all departments to university students. Interns who perform exceptionally well are enrolled in our talent-retention program. Besides these programs, we also offer university students jobs as working students and the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral thesis while working at our company. In addition, we regularly invite university students to various events, where we present the different occupational areas within our Group and ways to join the company. In 2019, we further expanded our efforts to cultivate young talent by increasing both the number of participants in our talent retention program as well as the number of Deutschlandstipendium scholarship recipients we sponsor.
Vocational training and dual education programs
In 2019, 589 people were enrolled in vocational training programs at our sites in Germany, with 182 starting an apprenticeship at our company. In total, we offer apprenticeships across 25 occupations, primarily in production, laboratory work and office administration. Furthermore, we enable young adults to pursue a dual education program in the fields of business administration, business IT, process engineering (chemical engineering), and mechanical engineering. Apprentices in the Laboratory group begin their training as chemistry or biology lab technicians and, subject to suitability, may receive the opportunity to start a dual education program after six months. Since 2014, we have been offering permanent employment contracts to all apprentices and graduates of dual education programs in occupations for which we have long-term demand. In 2019, the hiring rate for graduates of these programs – taking voluntary terminations into account – was 90%.
Special vocational training opportunities
In Darmstadt, our “Start in die Ausbildung” program helps young people who have a high school diploma but searched for an apprenticeship for at least one year without success. We offer them the opportunity to complete an 11-month program with our company, gaining insight into the world of work and improving their qualifications for an apprenticeship. In 2019, 20 participants aged 16-25 started this program. Since its launch in 2006, 246 young people have taken part; 120 of them have successfully completed an apprenticeship, while 45 are still in a vocational training program.
We also have a similar offer for refugees. In 2019, the “Integrating refugees through training” program again prepared ten young people for vocational training, thereby opening the door to the German labor market. The program comprises language, technical, cultural, and career-related training. In 2019, we hired two of the participants from the 2018 program as apprentices and placed six others in apprenticeships with other companies. Two participants are now pursuing further studies at schools or universities.
Leveraging the opportunities of digitalization
The digital transformation is increasingly shaping our vocational and continuing education programs. IT skills are becoming increasingly important while digital media are paving new paths for learning. This is why we are increasingly integrating 3D printing, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence into our curricula. Moreover, we are testing out novel learning and innovation methods such as Scrum and Design Thinking. To learn how to operate plants and machinery, our apprentices also utilize virtual reality environments. Initially, they practice operating the systems using a virtual reality display before applying and furthering their new skills in the actual operating environment.