Corporate culture as a success factor

We want employees who contin­ually take the initiative and assume respon­si­bility. In return we offer them an appre­ciative corporate culture in which we jointly learn from our mistakes and reward initiative.

At Tchibo we foster a culture of open and constructive commu­ni­cation and team spirit, promote personal dialogue and create oppor­tu­nities for partic­i­pation across all hierar­chical levels. We thereby enable our employees to fully support the success of our brand.

Value-oriented action anchored in the Tchibo DNA

“Passionate employees sustain the company” it is stated in our Tchibo DNA. Published in 2011, the Tchibo DNA describes the success factors for the Tchibo brand. Our corporate culture plays an important role. Open and honest treatment of each other is just as important to us as collab­o­ration charac­terised by clear rules of conduct, guided by high values.
The Tchibo DNA is comple­mented by our Code of Conduct, which defines the values and mandatory behaviour for the company as a whole and for each individual employee. It formu­lates our under­standing of fairness and ethical business conduct as well as our aspiration to comply with laws and data protection rules, and take respon­si­bility for people and the environment. This also includes a culture of diversity where discrim­i­nation has no place. Regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orien­tation, religious beliefs, physical consti­tution, or any other personal charac­ter­istics, at Tchibo all employees have the same oppor­tu­nities, because each and every one contributes to the success of the company with their individ­u­ality. All employees receive regular training about the Code of Conduct from the time they start their job. And of course our measures fulfil the require­ments of the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), also known as the Anti-Discrim­i­nation Act.

Dialogue on an equal footing

Tchibo’s corporate culture as a Hamburg-based family-owned business has tradi­tionally been charac­terised by open dialogue between equal partners. Although we now operate globally, we want to retain this strength, which is why we delib­er­ately promote exchange across all divisions, depart­ments and hierar­chical levels of the company. Wherever possible, we involve employees in the company's devel­opment. It is becoming more and more important that commu­ni­cation takes place not only top-down, i.e. from super­visors to their staff, but as a network between colleagues with equal rights. That is why we support the dialogue with modern commu­ni­cation tools on the Tchibo intranet. For example, the ‘Abgeschaut bei’ (Roughly: Here’s how they do it) section on the intranet shows what works well in the depart­ments and how other units can learn from it. At our Hamburg roasting plant and at the logistics centres in Gallin and Neumarkt, where employees have no or only limited access to the intranet, we promote exchange in workshops and at regular roundtable discus­sions. In addition, all employees in Neumarkt receive a weekly newsletter.

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Since 2013, execu­tives at the head office in Hamburg have regularly presented and discussed current projects with employees at the "Tchibo in dialogue” series of events. In Non Food, employees across all hierar­chical levels are informed about new devel­op­ments at ‘town hall meetings’. Tchibo managers regularly meet employees who are selected at random for a conver­sation. The two-hour meetings provide an oppor­tunity to discuss current topics at Tchibo.

Ideas from practice

Constructive criticism often leads to good ideas – and we welcome and appre­ciate the practical solutions our employees come up with. Employees can contribute their own sugges­tions for innovative products or improving internal processes via our ‘Kolibri’ ideas management system, [Kolibri means ‘hummingbird’ in English and stands for ‘Kollegen liefern brillante Ideen’ – colleagues supply brilliant ideas]. This not only benefits Tchibo; the ideas providers themselves are rewarded with bonuses. In 2014, Tchibo employees submitted around 600 proposals – some 300 were ideas for products – of which 30 were rewarded. The Tchibo Ideas Manager manages the evalu­ation process; the assessment is carried out in the depart­ments and by a super­visory committee.

We plan to give our ideas management further impetus in 2015 by intro­ducing a modern online platform. Innovative formats such as crowd­sourcing and community-based idea management enable employees and super­visors to commu­nicate in a more networked way and develop their innova­tions together in a virtual space.

Stacking high for fuel efficiency, and reports at a click: Top ideas in 2014

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just make it turn better – as an idea from 2014 shows. In Berlin an employee noticed that pallets for the Hungarian market could be filled higher than before; in-depth testing confirmed this. Now Tchibo saves nearly 30,000 euros by reducing the number of truck journeys.

Statutory co-deter­mi­nation

We give our employees the oppor­tunity to actively shape Tchibo’s devel­opment via the statutory codeter­mi­nation bodies. These include the works council with 35 members – six of them union repre­sen­ta­tives – as well as the Super­visory Board, whose compo­sition reflects an equal repre­sen­tation by employees and share­holders. The two bodies work together closely. At the company meetings, which take place regularly at the Hamburg headquarters, in 2014 more than 1,000 colleagues were informed about the work of the works council, the devel­opment of the business, the results of the employee survey, and the Group’s offers to help employees achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Employee feedback

Our employees provide important impetus for the company’s devel­opment. To learn even more about how they assess their work situation and what is important to them, in 2014 we cooperated with an external consulting firm to carry out the second Tchibo employee survey. At around 65 percent, the survey partic­i­pation rate was high compared with the industry average. We received positive feedback regarding the appre­ci­ation of employees at Tchibo, as well as the specific tasks at work and our customer focus. However, the engagement rating – i.e. the willingness to be passion­ately dedicated to the company and work for it long-term – was just under 50 percent, which is merely average. At the same time, many respon­dents wanted a simpler and more efficient organ­i­sation.

Tchibo takes these concerns of its employees seriously. In 2015 we launched a project to improve core processes by making them simpler and more efficient – and more closely aligned to the needs of our customers. At the same time we have set ourselves the goal of further improving the exchange of ideas within the workforce and between the workforce and management. For this purpose, in early 2015 we set up the new Intranet section ‘My question’ among other things. Every Tchibo employee has the oppor­tunity to anony­mously contact experts from the relevant business unit with questions and criti­cisms, and receives a response within three working days.

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