Employee advancement and development

Finding and continually developing efficient and motivated employees are core elements of human resources work at Schaeffler. In 2018, the focus was especially on realizing the three initiatives of the program for the future “Agenda 4 plus One”, which ensures the implementation of the company strategy with a total of 20 initiatives. The three initiatives are grouped under the category “Leadership & Talent Management” and are called “Leadership & Corporate Values”, “Qualification for Tomorrow”, and “New Work”.

Feedback and training for a better leadership culture

Being a role model, respect, and courage are essential characteristics of good leadership that are always important in principle, but especially in times of major transformations. Schaeffler’s vision to help shape the mobility of tomorrow is part of such a transformation. Therefore, leadership training should be promoted further.

“Leadership & Corporate Values”

As part of the Leadership & Corporate Values initiative, Schaeffler introduced six leadership guidelines in 2017 to support managers in their role. In the reporting year, this understanding of leadership was presented worldwide and integrated in the relevant human resources tools. In many workshops that were held globally from the Executive Board to the team leader level and in all functions, the managers were able to familiarize themselves with the guidelines. At the same time, the members of the Executive Board exchanged personal views with managers about the new understanding of leadership as part of the Leadership Roadshows. A total of nine of these roadshows took place, the last of which was in March 2019. In addition, the global training landscape for executives was fundamentally revised and aligned with the management guidelines. Since 2018, leadership behavior in terms of the new understanding has also been the subject of annual employee development discussions for executives.

Employees at Schaeffler1)









Unless otherwise indicated, the employee figures refer to the reporting date of December 31 of the respective year.


“Managers” are defined as employees in a supervisory function.


Initiated by employees; related to the average number of employees from 1/1/2018 to 12/31/2018.


The values for 2016 and 2017 have been corrected retrospectively. Instead of Schaeffler AG, they refer to Schaeffler in Germany.

Number of employees, total







Average age in years







Average tenure in years







Proportion of female employees in %, total







Proportion of female managers in %, total2)







Labor turnover rate in %3)







Permanent employees in %







Part-time ratio, Germany in %4)







Upward feedback and training

Another topic that affects leadership culture is upward feedback. It was introduced in 2018. In a moderated discussion, managers receive feedback from their direct employees about their leadership behavior. This way the managers can learn more about their effect on others and solve problems better. Following the upward feedback, development goals are set for the managers.


employees surveyed on “Leadership at Schaeffler”

The manager training program was also revised in 2018. The new offerings include the “Leadership Reflections”: The training offers supervisors the opportunity to reflect on situations from everyday working life. During a two-day course, the practical implementation of the management guidelines is taught under professional guidance. The program is gradually being introduced in all regions, especially in Europe and China in the reporting period. In order to take a look at the effectiveness of the measures described, Schaeffler surveyed around 13,000 randomly selected employees worldwide on the topic of “Leadership at Schaeffler” in 2018. This representative survey will be repeated regularly in the coming years.

Youth development

Quality training and further development of young professionals has always been a high priority at Schaeffler. In 2018, Schaeffler employed 3,275 apprentices worldwide (prior year: 3,185) at 55 locations in 16 countries. In Germany, there were over 1,400 apprentices in 20 occupations.

Good qualification of young professionals begins with their trainers: Since 2017, all trainers in Germany have been familiarized with new learning methods, the use of modern media in day-to-day training, and the special expectations of generations Y and Z as part of a modular qualification program. At the beginning of 2019, the qualification program was also launched in Eastern Europe.

Apprentices, students, and trainees1)









Unless otherwise indicated, the employee figures refer to the reporting date of December 31 of the respective year.


The “Two in One” study combines a Bachelor's degree with vocational training.








Trainees in Germany







Dual students in Germany







“Two in One” students in Germany2)







Master’s degree students in Germany







The training content is being developed to meet changing needs, such as for trends like Industry 4.0 or Digitalization. With innovative projects like building 3D printers, Schaeffler is preparing its apprentices for new requirements.

In addition, Schaeffler offers young people in Germany various higher education learning opportunities. These include a dual course of study, a “Two in One” course study with technical colleges, and a master’s degree program.

Qualified young people from they company’s own ranks are important for long-term success. Training at Schaeffler therefore serves to meet its own needs. As a rule, the company offers all apprentices further employment after the end of the apprenticeship period.

Attracting talent

In the year under review, human resource management began the marketing for its vocational training in order to continue to attract enough suitable applicants in the future. In addition, the locations address young people directly, for example at training fairs and informational events where they can get to know different job profiles and training offers. In order to attract qualified young professionals, Schaeffler also focused on partnership and sustainable cooperation with universities, student representatives, student associations, and organizations such as Formula Student Germany in 2018. As part of the university marketing, over 25 events were held in Germany alone in the reporting year.

Discovering and developing talent

Schaeffler ensures that key positions are refilled by way of globally standardized talent management. Employees with high potential are identified at an early stage and receive both professional and personal training. The Schaeffler Academy, the company’s own education and training department, is continually expanding its range of corresponding qualifications.

The talent management process is based on the employee development interview (EDI) between the employee and manager. The interview is used to discuss behavior, performance, and potential. This information is used to screen for talent (“Global Talent Review”). The process is organized by the manager and moderated by the responsible HR employee. The results are used for development measures that must be implemented until the next EDI phase.

“Qualification for Tomorrow”

As part of the Qualification for Tomorrow strategic education initiative, the Schaeffler Academy has created new target group-specific training opportunities for all employees in close cooperation with the strategic business fields. This is achieved via modern and global qualification programs, for example on agile project management and digitalization, as well as offerings for the Sales & Key Account Management target group. The Schaeffler Academy also has the task of identifying training needs and designing subject-specific training and educational programs together with the respective business divisions. These offerings are increasingly made available digitally, for example in the form of explanatory videos or online training with a gamification approach. Employees can then learn at any time and at any location.

Among other things, Schaeffler is using new software to this end that has already been implemented in China, Germany, France, Canada, Slovakia, and the US. It should also be available in Romania and the Asia/Pacific region by the end of the first quarter of 2019 and worldwide by 2020.

During the reporting period, Schaeffler achieved a coverage rate of 70.5%1) worldwide for this learning management system. In total, 95 web-based training sessions were available to employees worldwide (prior year: 97). In addition, there were 3,648 classroom training sessions in Germany in 2018 (prior year: 3,514) with 31,874 participants (prior year: 30,646).

Employee qualification and training
(Number in Germany)1)







Change in %




Unless otherwise indicated, the employee figures refer to the reporting date of December 31 of the respective year.

Classroom training session









Participants in classroom training, Germany









Web-based training offers









Participants in e-learning courses, Germany









Setting development goals in discussions

The Schaeffler mentoring program is an additional way for employees to continue to develop. In coordination with the respective managers and the human resources department, employees can specifically contact experienced specialists and executives to seek advice. This allows the employees to not only expand their knowledge, but also their personal network within the Schaeffler Group. Managers also receive information on the individual training needs of their employees.

The same applies to 360° feedback. In this procedure, employees ask their colleagues, supervisors, or coworkers to provide feedback on a set of standardized questions. The questions all relate to the six leadership guidelines. Employees from other departments who work together with these employees can also be involved. Participation is voluntary for feedback providers and recipients and, with the exception of managers, anonymous for the feedback providers. After four weeks, the process is completed through a result report with individual development suggestions.

The 360° feedback tool will be introduced globally in 2019 and is set to become an integral part of global executive training programs. At the beginning of the training, participants will receive a holistic assessment of their behavior in relation to the leadership guidelines through the tool. Afterwards, they discuss the results with experienced coaches, which gives them the opportunity to change their behavior.

“New Work”

The working world of the future requires new workplace solutions that meet the needs of employees and support them in a flexible, dynamic working method. In order to meet these requirements, Schaeffler is testing new approaches to designing the workspace with its “New Work” concept, an initiative within the “Agenda 4 plus One” program. These approaches are meant to promote discussion between employees and interdisciplinary cooperation.

New Work at Schaeffler means open workspaces and modular room concepts. These include multifunctional spaces that can be adapted to the users’ needs and think tank spaces where employees can retreat for concentrated work. Another element is “gravity points”. The gravity points allow employees to discuss matters in a relaxed atmosphere. At the Frauenaurach (Erlangen) site, this concept not only improved work processes, but also offered space savings of 40%.

The “New Work” concept is currently being tested in three pilot projects, two at the Erlangen site and one in Nuremberg. Another pilot project in Schweinfurt was completed in 2018. In order to establish the concept internationally, the Executive Board adopted a global New Work strategy in 2018. The strategy details the goals of “New Work” for work organization, corporate culture, IT, and digitalization as well as architecture and space, and describes how these can be implemented, for example in furniture design, room concepts and change management. In the second quarter of 2019, a “New Work” toolbox with globally standardized processes and task descriptions was created.

Social partnership for qualification and promoting innovation

In 2018, Schaeffler AG’s Executive Board, the Works Council and IG Metall signed a future agreement. The goal of this future agreement is to jointly manage and promote the further development and transformation of the Schaeffler Group in the interests of the company and its employees, especially with regard to the three major future topics of E-Mobility, Industry 4.0, and Digitalization. In addition to the qualification and further training of employees, the aim is to strengthen German Schaeffler locations economically and with a view to sustainable value creation. Under the terms of the future agreement, the Schaeffler Group will provide an innovation fund of  50 m over a period of five years.

The “Schaeffler Award”

Schaeffler not only wants to actively promote employee performance, but also to value it. That’s why the Executive Board, together with the family shareholders, decided to launch the “Schaeffler Award” in early 2018. The prize, which will be awarded for the first time in 2019 as part of the Executive Meeting, aims to award outstanding achievements year after year. The “Schaeffler Award” is based on the Schaeffler Group’s four company values. It is therefore awarded in four main categories: (1) , (2) “Innovation”, (3) “Excellence” and (4) “Passion”. These four main categories are joined by the Special Award, which is redefined each year by the Schaeffler family. For 2019, Schaeffler wants to give out this award for special contributions in connection with the implementation of “Agenda 4 plus One”.

Employee innovation potential

Schaeffler employees actively participate in the company’s activities beyond their daily tasks. They introduce creative and innovative ideas and thereby take on responsibility and continuously improve processes and products. For this reason, Schaeffler operates the “ideenreich” (imaginative) online system, which is used at 53 locations in 14 countries. In 2018, the employees submitted a total of 40,161 ideas and achieved savings of around  27.2 m.

With the “MOVE” (more without waste) qualification program, Schaeffler promotes inspiration, new impulses, and new approaches. Under the motto “Lean inspiration”, innovative solutions were made available across the group via the Schaeffler CONNECT intranet. Employees can use an interactive map to look at implementation examples at their various locations.

1) Relating to employees.

Sustainability means utilizing natural resources in a way that observes the particular economic, environmental and social conditions without neglecting the interests of future generations.