The Helaba Group employed 6,086 people in 2016. This equates to a year-on-year reduction of 62. The Bank strengthened its teams in strategic core business divisions such as foreign trade finance and sales and in relation to its digitalisation initiatives. Some posts were shed, however, as part of efforts to optimise processes. The great majority of the people affected took up the offer of an early retirement package. The Bank successfully completed the HelabaPRO restructuring programme, which began in 2011, in the third quarter of 2016 with the elimination of a total of 450 posts in Germany and other countries.
Helaba stepped up sales support activities significantly both in Germany and internationally in line with the business strategy. A new sales office was acquired in the city of Münster in January 2016 to provide a physical presence closer to the Sparkassen and corporate customers in Westphalia, Lippe, Lower Saxony and Bremen. The staff based at the site look after SME corporate customer business. The team serving the upper SME segment has been systematically strengthened in a process that began in 2015 and is now operating successfully from the Stuttgart, Munich, Düsseldorf and Münster sites. A programme to expand international customer relationship management was completed at the same time. The sales support activities of the various international units have been pooled and the relevant teams increased in size. Helaba is now able to serve key accounts from the London, New York, Paris, Stockholm and Madrid sites and plans to commence operations from a base in São Paulo in the course of 2017 to support customers in Brazil. The Bank also created a new unit at the beginning of 2016 to provide professional design and oversight of its strategic digitalisation projects.
Helaba believes that helping employees keep private and professional life in harmony is essential to attract and retain the best people. It offers part-time and teleworking arrangements and flexible working hours, for example, and helps employees to identify childcare options close to their home. Helaba also operates an employee welfare department open to all employees that offers confidential professional support to help people resolve problems at work or at home. Set up to provide rapid assistance and effective intervention in the event of a crisis, it aims to stabilise the service user's mental wellbeing, activate personal and company resources and help employees continue to work as normal. The employee welfare department actively seeks to prevent problems developing in the first place too by providing advice on work-life balance and on how to recognise stress-related illnesses at an early stage and deal with them effectively. Approximately five percent of employees – very much in line with the sector average – sought the assistance of the employee welfare department in 2016. Management level staff also made use of the employee welfare department to clarify psychosocial and health issues within their area of management responsibility.
Another key element of Helaba's human resources policy is its occupational health management program, which aims to promote and enhance health awareness and help employees stay healthy. Priorities in this context include not only the occupational health and safety, occupational healthcare and company return to work programme requirements laid down by law, but also the activities organised as part of the HelabaVital initiative, which sees presentations and workshops on issues such as nutrition, exercise and mental equilibrium/relaxation (including a series of talks entitled "the heart under stress") offered at all sites.
Helaba has no choice but to adapt internal structures and processes in the face of rapid change in the wider setting. It deploys professionally-backed change processes to help ensure such developments within its organisation always work towards a stronger future Employee surveys represent an ideal way to find out what employees think about corporate culture and change processes. The picture they paint makes it possible to analyse the current position and derive measures to be taken to boost employee satisfaction and company performance in tandem. As well as supporting analysis and planning, such survey initiatives also actively involve employees in the work of moulding cultural and change processes. Helaba conducted an employee survey in early 2016, and 83 % of those surveyed took advantage of the opportunity to share their views with Helaba. The findings provide a basis for further demand-led work to enhance Helaba's corporate culture and management culture. They will also be scrutinised in 2017 to reveal areas in which additional strategic and operational improvements might most productively be made.
New company agreements concerning the employee meeting covering target agreement, target attainment and performance assessment and the determination of a variable year-end bonus were adopted by mutual consent with the employee representative bodies. The Bank regards the new employee meeting as central to its management approach because the forum it provides for the formal agreement of targets enables managers and employees to establish a high degree of transparency as to what is expected in terms of duties and performance. Using targets as a management tool provides a good foundation on which to express appreciation for a job well done and to render assistance when change is required. The employee meeting fosters mutual trust between employee and manager too. The negotiating results, which now have to be presented promptly to the Supervisory Board, also satisfy the current regulatory requirements set out in the German Regulation on the Supervisory Requirements for Institutions' Remuneration Systems (Instituts-Vergütungsverordnung – IVV).