Volkswagen Board Member for Human Resources, Gunnar Kilian, said: “We know that many of our employees have very good ideas. They help make Volkswagen efficient and future-proof. As an attractive employer we believe it is important to make the suggestion process less complex for our employees. The very positive response since the launch at the beginning of February proves we have succeeded in doing that.”
Works Council Chairman, Bernd Osterloh, underscored: “Idea management has been an important tool at Volkswagen for 70 years. Increasing the maximum incentive is a good signal to our dedicated colleagues that their ideas continue to count as we head for the future. That is because the best experts in the company are our colleagues at their workplaces.”
The works agreement between the company and the Works Council redefines the role of line managers and increases the incentives. The maximum incentive has risen by almost 50 percent from around €51,000 to €75,000. At the same time, a new IT system simplifies the online submission of ideas for improvement. Line managers and experts can review and process ideas in a user-friendly system.
Thorsten Janotta, Head of Idea Management, commented: “It is now easier for employees to track the status of their ideas. We have made submitting and assessing ideas much easier, more transparent, more secure and faster.” Mario Kurznack-Bodner, Chairperson of the Group Works Council Idea Management Committee, said: “An idea management system that works well is not only an important sign of esteem. It also benefits the workforce and the company: colleagues can improve processes and are rewarded for their suggestions, and the company can save money from the improvements.”
Under the new idea management system, ideas are checked directly following submission to see whether they meet the works agreement criteria. Line managers assess the effect of ideas submitted by employees from their teams on their own department. This gives them a greater say in determining the size of the incentive. Employees can submit ideas using either their computer at work or externally from private end devices. Access is via the HR Self Service Tool.
Each year, roughly one third of Volkswagen AG employees in Germany submit ideas for improvement. In 2018 alone, the number of ideas received topped 42,000. In recent years, incentives for ideas totaled an average of some €23 million per year – depending on the ideas submitted.