Who we are and how we want to be
These values illustrate that the Audi Group relies on teamwork, embraces new challenges and embodies diversity. In addition, Audi has set itself the goal of being a company that bears responsibility – for the environment and society. Mistakes should not be concealed, but rather addressed. This is a matter that concerns us all, particularly in the wake of the diesel crisis. It is also the only way to improve and constantly progress. Our corporate culture needs to be enhanced and put into practice.
Why change is important
To raise awareness for other and new governance principles and promote understanding for the need for a cultural change in the working world, as part of the “KulturZeit” project, Audi organized a panel discussion in October 2018. It centered on “The Silent Revolution,” a movie documenting the process of rethinking in the business world. The change is demonstrated using the Upstalsboom hotel chain as an example. As a second part of the series of talks entitled “BE INSPIRED,” visitors to the Audi Forum Neckarsulm not only had the chance to see the movie, afterward they were also able to talk to guest speakers such as Kristian Gründling, the director of the documentary. The goal was to encourage new ideas and provide impetus for people’s day-to-day lives.
How culture works in everyday situations
The Code of Code of Cooperation and Volkswagen Group Essentials serve as guiding principles to ensure that corporate culture is consistently put into practice during everyday work at Audi. These principles describe how the brands in the Volkswagen Group intend to work together, and they serve as the foundation that connects all 600,000 employees. At the same time, this also constitutes a pledge to customers and business partners. The focus is on the attributes “genuine,” “straightforward,” “open-minded,” “as equals,” “united” and “trust.”
Audi has considered its own leadership behavior in depth since 2013, and drew up the Audi leadership principles with the involvement of managers, employees and the Works Council. These were gradually implemented in the HR tools. Participants have studied the ten principles in depth in a series of workshops. After anchoring the new leadership principles in all divisions and at the international sites in 2016, Audi has established an organizational unit for Leadership and Collaborative Culture since 2017. Employees should rely on these principles for guidance.
Specific measures for successful collaboration
Nobody is perfect. Ensuring that this adage becomes part of the culture requires pioneers who frankly and honestly discuss matters that did not go well. This is precisely why Audi organized a series of events: “try.fail.learn” is intended to encourage employees to embrace new challenges, take risks, fail once in a while and stand up again, only to reflect and learn from it. Participants share their own stories of failure, how they handled the situation and what opportunities arose as a result thereof.
Such an exchange between employees requires flat hierarchies. Distances need to be dismantled first before people can learn from one another. The “Role Model Program 2.0” shaped the year 2019. It comprises an entire package of measures to enable Audi managers with leadership functions to improve the corporate culture together with their employees. For instance, in “A Week in the Life of....,” they became better acquainted with the tasks of a manager: What exactly does a member of the Board of Management actually do? And what does their typical workweek look like? The special “Blind Date” format gives random lunch partners the opportunity to exchange their views. The “Culture Catalog,” a crowdstorming initiative by employees for employees, also encourages the exchange of views. The catalog gathers and shares ideas on new forms of collaboration.
Clear values, clear course
The principle of employee participation is the basis of Audi’s corporate culture. At all Audi sites and at the subsidiaries worldwide, the employees are organized into independent trade unions and employee representative bodies. On the Supervisory Board of AUDI AG, the employees’ elected representatives perform duties such as monitoring executive management, approving important corporate processes and appointing the members of the Board of Management. The Audi Works Council plays an active role in shaping the future at Audi. For example, all works agreements are reached jointly with the employee representatives at AUDI AG. The latter also oversee compliance with the laws, directives, accident prevention regulations, wage agreements and works agreements reached in favor of the employees. At the quarterly works meetings, the employees are informed of the activities of the Works Council and the current situation of the Company.
There are also elected youth and apprentice representative bodies as well as disabled employee representatives at AUDI AG who specifically take up the concerns of the employee groups that they represent.
The main topics in the period under review were – in addition to the projects described in the chapter “Employees & Society” regarding the handling of the digital transformation as well as co-determination and corporate culture at Audi – the reduction of stress factors and risks at work that impact physical and especially mental health, increasing the overall quality of time spent at the company (modifications to office design, ergonomic measures in production) and, in particular, the negotiations on the general agreement “Audi.Zukunft.” In addition to adjusting production capacities for Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, agreements were concluded on socially responsible job cuts along the demographic factor, for development and production of innovative and environmentally friendly premium vehicles, on extending co-determination rights pertaining to the vertical range of manufacturing, service and development in the company and for the common creation of master plans for sustainable and strategic development of domestic factories by the management and employee representatives.
How is the general mood in the workforce? The regular employee survey is another way in which Audi promotes employee participation. This survey gives employees a means of voicing their opinion anonymously on various matters and highlighting potential improvements.
40,886 (2018: 42,173) employees took part in the AUDI AG “Stimmungsbarometer” in 2019. The results are presented in the individual organizational units and discussed with the employees.