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Social responsibility – human resources management

Our human resources work focused on two main areas during 2016: Thanks to largely stable staffing levels, one focal area was the integration of employees who joined DVB, as well as those colleagues who moved locations within DVB. Another key aspect of our work was to support managers in promoting staff within their area of responsibility, and to enhance their qualification.

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To fill open positions, we first look for experienced specialists, be it for Transport Finance or for one of our service areas. Accordingly, we generally recruit personnel with the help of recruitment consultants. Fortunately, we have increasingly been able to fill positions through referrals from our own employees, or through unsolicited applications. No recruitment measures are necessary for our trainee programme, as there are plenty of qualified candidates who apply directly.

DVB's focus on diversity is also reflected in our recruitment activities: to the extent possible within the scope of staff selection, we strive to promote a heterogeneous personnel structure at all of our office locations, in terms of nationality, age and gender.

Personnel development

DVB's business environment constantly gives rise to new and complex issues that our organisation has to deal with. The goal of human resources development is to equip managers and staff with the skills to deal with these challenges.

Annual employee reviews are one of our key instruments we use to assess development. These reviews are mandatory, with an execution rate of 100 %. They provide a platform for open dialogue between manager and employee, regarding the employee's skills, expertise and potential for development. For this purpose, Group Human Resources provides managers with a discussion guideline that is deliberately kept lean. The guideline serves as orientation for structuring the discussion, leaving scope for further discussion issues. Development measures planned for the employee are noted in the guideline, and are implemented by manager and employee, with support provided by Human Resources.

The range of development measures is wide – including, for instance, learning from colleagues, learning from feedback, or participation in internal and external training courses. We have been offering in-house trainings on presentation skills, negotiation techniques, work efficiency, MS Office and project management, amongst others, in order to provide staff and managers with targeted tools and techniques, to help them in their day-to-day work. It is also important for us to offer development measures that are made-to-measure and fit the Bank’s and the individual employee’s needs.

Besides the employee review, the determination of the bonus has been deliberately set up as a separate process. This process applies to all non-tariff employees in Germany and all employees deployed at international locations who hold a title (Assistant Vice President, Vice President, Senior Vice President and Managing Director). Determining bonuses is based on achieving explicit quantitative or qualitative targets that have been mutually agreed between employees and their managers.

Given the complexity of international financing and advisory, we do not train apprentices, but we have been successfully conducting a trainee programme for many years. The roughly 18-month programme covers all the major aspects of our Transport Finance business, including relationship management and loan management.

Executive development

The results of a management survey amongst all Senior Vice Presidents and Managing Directors at that time showed that the ongoing professional development of management staff is a key aspect of our human resources work. For instance, those surveyed expressed their desire for proactive Human Resources development and for development perspectives, including outside traditional careers.

Our aim is not to centralise the work that managers are responsible for in overseeing, training and developing employees, but rather to better equip those managers for their management duties. That is why in 2013 we developed a training package for managers, to enable them to deploy our development tools in a targeted manner.

The course, which covered several days, focused on the following core topics, and on ways and means to implement them in practice:

  • giving and receiving feedback;
  • discovering talents and promoting them;
  • coaching employees;
  • working on one's own career development.

Based on positive feedback from participants, and with support from the Board of Managing Directors, we ran this training again in the past years to include more managers. When needed, we will schedule further trainings for managers who are just starting to grow into their new executive role or who have only recently joined the Bank.

We see these training initiatives as key milestones on the way to qualifying our management team, to develop a corporate culture of open feedback, and to establish a joint vision of management.


DVB's characteristically dynamic approach is embedded in our concept of leadership. Our executive staff need to respond and make decisions quickly and flexibly. DVB's flat hierarchies help decision-makers to respond quickly, precisely and in a targeted manner, even to complex issues or transactions.

Managers, as well as the members of the Board of Managing Directors, are also always accessible under our open-door policy in order to engender internal transparency and an open exchange. Being exposed to challenges that make sense, remaining receptive to new ideas and continuously challenging opinions – these are at the heart of our management concept.

In an enterprise with a manageable number of employees such as DVB, we believe it is more productive to promote a personal approach, offering a high degree of autonomy rather than a top-down management style. Given this background, employee management, training and development are not administered centrally: instead, they are primarily the responsibility of managers. Group Human Resources also provides support.

In concrete terms, this means that we are supporting our managers with hands-on tools to analyse the need for development, to structure employee review discussions, as well as with training proposals and customised advice.

Health and safety at the workplace

Promoting the health of our employees at the workplace is a top priority. A notable positive aspect is our continuously high health attendance rate, which in 2016 was at 97.2% in our German offices (previous year: 96.8%). This rate also includes members of staff on long-term sick leave, i.e. those who have been absent for health reasons for more than 42 days.

The Committee for Occupational Health and Safety is responsible for the creation, maintenance and development of safe and ergonomic workplaces, as well as the identification of potential risks and the prevention of accidents and work-related health problems. We contribute to a comfortable working environment with modern and high-quality office facilities that foster effective work.

Occupational health consulting is carried out by an external provider in Frankfurt/Main. This company supports the Bank in occupational safety, accident prevention and all other health and safety issues. At a local level, Health and Safety Officers are responsible for risk assessment and management as part of occupational safety, and for enacting measures to prevent work-related health problems.

We offer all employees globally a thorough health check-up, and provide assistance with vaccinations when necessary. To protect our employees in the event of illness, disability or accident, we make an extensive insurance programme available at each of our offices, further supplemented by global policies.

We also assign great importance to a healthy diet of our staff: DVB has handed over the operation of its employee restaurants in Frankfurt/Main and Amsterdam to external service providers. In all locations we provide employees with free coffee, tea, water and fresh fruits.

Collaborating with the works councils

In 2016, we were once again able to swiftly confront new challenges and develop pragmatic solutions. This was only possible thanks to the good cooperation that took place with the SE Works Council, as well as with local Works Councils in Germany and the Netherlands.