Globally, our employees drive advances in science and technology. We encourage all 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 plenty of scope for creativity and sparks their desire to innovate. Our employer brand communicates this mindset to the outside world. Through our slogan “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, an educational initiative 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. With our People strategy, we make it clear how important curious talent and empowered leaders as well as result-oriented teams and networks are to us. We support the personal and professional development of all employees 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 security and marketable professional qualifications 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 young employees in Germany wish to continue studying while working, we will cover 75% of the costs and grant them special leave.
How we organize recruiting, vocational training and advanced training
Group Human Resources (HR) supports and advises all business sectors and Group functions within our organization as regards human resources issues. Moreover, we develop 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 access their personal data. They can use the platform to initiate and steer the Performance and Potential Management Process themselves, participate in online training or apply internally for vacant positions.
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 people managers and their employees agree on individual annual objectives. 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. 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 quickly and easily create their development plan, which displays the respective areas of focus, via HR4You. It is coordinated in accordance with the strategic priorities of the company.
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. With this tool we intend to help promote a cross-hierarchical feedback culture.
of our employees took part in the Performance and Potential Management Process in 2020, 77% set 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. As part of their individual development plan, our employees can use our learning management system to register for seminars and e-learning courses. In 2020, 93% of our employees took part in approximately 4 million training courses.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we reorganized our classroom training courses into virtual formats. These courses are flexible, meaning that while the core curriculum is uniform Group-wide, there is still room for site-specific modifications. Moreover, we launched a new virtual and free learning format: Since the start of 2020, our employees have been able to participate in special courses on the career platform LinkedIn.
We constantly adapt our offers to meet the individual learning needs of our employees and the strategic priorities of our company. We are in the process of revising our advanced training courses. We are planning to develop a new, interdisciplinary program by 2022. This should enable our staff to have the necessary competencies and relevant skills to remain employable in the future. At the same time, we would like our employees to develop according to their individual needs.
We reward the performance of our employees so as to maintain a competitive edge in attracting qualified professionals. 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 or other diversity criteria.
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 trainee program enables university graduates to join our company as trainees. Within 24 months, these entry-level employees get to know various departments and functions. Centered on China, Germany and the United States, the program offers international assignments, individual continuing education, mentoring, and coaching.
The “OLDP” training program (Operations Leadership Development Program) in our Life Science business sector is structured similarly to the GOglobal program and offers comparable benefits. However, the focus is on production and logistics.
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.
Vocational training and dual education programs
We offer apprenticeships across 28 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 2020, the hiring rate for graduates of these programs – taking voluntary terminations into account – was above 90%.
Special vocational training opportunities
In Darmstadt, our “Start in die Ausbildung” and “Integrating refugees through training” programs help prepare young people for the labor market. 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 vocational training. On the one hand, we support young people who have earned a high school diploma but have searched for an apprenticeship for at least one year without success. On the other hand, we help refugees who had to leave their countries of origin and would like to build a new life in Germany. In 2020, we combined the two programs under the name “Start in die Ausbildung” so that participants can learn and benefit from one another. In 2020, we combined the two programs under the name “Start in die Ausbildung” so that participants learn and benefit from one another. The benefits: mutual cultural sensitization and language support through personal exchange with native speakers and the example set by highly motivated people. In 2020, we hired participants between the ages of 16 and 30.
Digitalization in recruiting, vocational and advanced training
Digital media enabled many things for us during the lockdown phase of the Covid-19 pandemic: We paved new paths both in recruiting and in vocational and advanced training.
We are now implementing digital approaches to selected steps of the recruitment process, such as virtual job interviews and assessment centers. This is how we protect the health of our employees and applicants and, at the same time, continue the recruiting process efficiently. As a result, we prevented delays in current selection processes. We created guidelines for candidates and offered time with recruiters, to support them in preparing for video interviews.
To accompany and strengthen our employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, we provide free digital continuing education and training offers in addition to the LinkedIn courses: “Self-motivation in challenging times” and “Making responsibility count”.
In professional training, we adapted plans of action in light of the pandemic and increasingly used virtual learning formats. This strengthens us when it comes to integrating topics, such as robotics, Big Data or artificial intelligence (AI) into our curricula. To learn how to operate plants, our apprentices also use 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.