Bilfinger has made it its top priority to ensure the health and well-being of all its employees. No employee’s health shall be adversely affected by his or her work. Occupational health and safety standards are set throughout the Group by the corporate function HSEQ (Health, Safety, Environment, Quality). The design and implementation of these measures are decentralized to the Group companies.
For Bilfinger as a service provider for industrial customers, the safety of its employees is of particular importance. Because Bilfinger often operates in particularly safety-sensitive areas in customers’ plants, aspects of occupational safety are of central importance for business activities. Safe work processes, the implementation of target group-oriented occupational safety campaigns and the reporting of key performance indicators on occupational safety are often an important prerequisite for the awarding of contracts by customers. Bilfinger therefore undertakes a considerable amount of effort to meet the high requirements in its day-to-day work.
In order to avoid incidents in the area of occupational safety to the greatest possible extent, our objective is: Zero is possible. To get as close as possible to this objective, we take a two-pronged approach: We implement the necessary technical and organizational measures and address occupational safety in extensive communication measures for employees.
The occupational safety standards developed centrally by the corporate function HSEQ are expressed in Group-wide uniform guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Responsibility for compliance with these guidelines and SOPs lies with the managers of the local operating units, who also take into account the relevant local laws, regulations, customer requirements and working conditions. Health and Safety Committees have been established in the Group’s units in accordance with legal and internal Group requirements.
To record, process and communicate HSEQ incidents to the same standards worldwide, we use standardized management software throughout the Group. All types of HSEQ incidents can be recorded quickly and flexibly directly on site using a mobile IT application. This workflow makes it easier for employees to process HSEQ incidents and creates the central conditions for developing corrective measures to avoid similar situations in the future.
In conjunction with the comprehensive technical and organizational measures, intensive communication in the area of occupational safety is of great importance. The aim is to maintain a high level of awareness of the particular importance of HSEQ incidents among our employees and to further improve it. For example, we draw attention to general occupational safety aspects and current accident statistics in the form of monthly Safety Moments circulars. Since the end of 2022, there has been a general requirement that all discussions and meetings involving four or more people begin with a Safety Flash in which aspects of occupational safety are addressed. In addition, monthly articles on occupational safety appear in the employee magazine Bilfinger Update.
An important measure for raising awareness regarding topics of occupational safety is our safety program Safety Works! including the safety campaigns that were developed in this context. In 2022, the In the line of fire / Danger – watch out! campaign aimed to familiarize employees with the six most important hazards of the Life Saving Rules / Work in the line of fire. This involves using QR codes so that employees can view short safety videos on stationary and mobile devices.
Examples of our Safety Awards
In order to recognize outstanding safety initiatives in the Group and publicize them within the company, the Executive Board presents annual Safety Awards. The Group-wide award is designed to motivate employees and managers to make a strong commitment to safe working conditions and maintaining the health of all employees.
The commitment of executives all the way up to the members of the Executive Board is a key building block for ongoing improvements in occupational safety. For example, it is the responsibility of managers throughout the Group to regularly carry out a number of safety walks, depending on their area of responsibility, to address risks and hazards, to make employees aware of occupational safety issues and to document their inspections. The findings from these safety walks may be recorded on the go, as the walks are progressing, and will then be directly input into the central HSEQ software.
Workplace safety is the subject of the HSEQ quarterly report that is submitted to the Executive Board. Particularly serious accidents are reported immediately to the Executive Board. It is informed on an ongoing basis regarding their analysis as well as necessary corrective measures.
As part of Bilfinger Matrix certification, 37 companies with 145 locations have been certified pursuant to the occupational health and safety standard DIN EN ISO 45001 and eight companies with 43 locations have been certified pursuant to the Safety Certificate Contractors Petrochemical (SCCP) standard.
Regular internal audits are carried out at the Group companies. Following the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the previous year, the number of audits carried out on site was increased again in the reporting year. A total of 14 Group companies in Germany, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa and Kuwait were audited. In addition to these internal audits, there are further external audits, including by certifiers, authorities or customers.
As key figures in the area of occupational safety, we report on Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF), Total Recordable Incident Frequency (TRIF) and the number of fatalities resulting from occupational accidents. The LTIF indicator measures the number of days lost due to work-related accidents per million hours worked. It amounted to 0.26 in financial year 2022 (previous year: 0.21). This TRIF indicator measures the number of days lost due to reportable accidents per million hours worked. In 2022, it was 1.31 (previous year: 1.06). Bilfinger’s LTIF and TRIF figures in 2022 were again better than the industry average determined among our competitors and selected clients (data from 2021).
Regrettably, there was one occupational accident resulting in death in 2022. A total of 15 employees died as a result of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021; fortunately, no further deaths occurred in 2022.
As an HSEQ Manager, my job is to promote occupational health and safety and environmental issues in all of our business units. I visit the sites, exchange information and ideas with the team and work to improve the safety culture. It is certainly a challenge to work at 50 ºC, but I enjoy the sense of cohesion within the team."
Regular repetition makes it possible to positively influence actions and make work processes safer. By raising awareness on an ongoing basis, we create a culture at Bilfinger in which employees want to work safely on their own initiative and thus comply with the highest occupational safety standards. "
The measures taken locally at Group companies on the basis of central requirements to maintain employee health include, for example, programs to improve ergonomics in the workplace or to deal with psychological demands and stresses. Preventive medical checkups are also made available.
In the event of incidents of particular significance for the health of employees, the corporate function HSEQ assumes a central coordination role in health protection, as has been the case with the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of employees with COVID-19, for example, is collected at headquarters for the entire Group. This also includes the severity of disease progression, quarantine status and the number of employees who have recovered and returned to work. Information on the current status of all COVID-19 cases in the Group is provided by a dashboard that was established in the first years of the pandemic on the basis of the management software that has been used at Bilfinger for many years. In line with the decentralized Group organization, responsibility for the selection and implementation of specific protective measures related to the respective local COVID-19 situation was with our units. This enables specific, timely and effective responses to developments on the ground. Depending on the type of job and the intensity of contact among the workforce, a measured approach is taken with the objective of minimizing the impact on the health of employees and their families.
Employee development and diversity
Our business model as an industrial services provider is shaped by the availability, skills and value orientation of our employees. Continuous training and qualification of our employees are key in this regard.
The continuous development of employees throughout the Group is a key factor for the success of the company. Group-wide human resources governance is based on minimum standards that are firmly anchored in our Group Policies and therefore apply to all employees. Talent management, compensation and internal reporting are the cornerstones of employee development.
Central human resources management processes are outlined in our HR Calendar. They relate, for example, to the annual performance assessment, development planning and salary review in the course of the financial year. We generally track our annual performance and development cycle in digital form. The annual employee appraisals are conducted on the basis of standardized discussion guidelines, with the help of which all those involved reflect on what has been achieved and define the resulting development measures in a structured manner. Salaried employees also set individual goals for the year ahead.
To develop and retain internal talent at Group level, we have established various programs for high-potential employees and management levels 2 to 4.*
As part of the annual Talent Review, the potential of employees is evaluated and calibrated. Structured interviews are used to identify potential successors for key positions, thus supporting long-term succession planning. The Talent Review process is carried out in cooperation among supervisors and local HR departments together with Corporate Human Resources and the Executive Board. The Talent Review’s identification of potential is followed by a nomination to the global management development programs, which serve to promote the development of management and specialist competencies as well as networking.
In addition, the Bilfinger Academy offers so-called regional leadershipcamps that enable our Bilfinger managers to develop an integrative leadership style and to be successful in their role as people leaders at Bilfinger. The two events, Leadership Base Camp and Leadership Advanced Camp, are three-day trainings intended for the different experience levels of new and more experienced leaders.
* Management levels at Bilfinger are structured on the basis of budget responsibility, size of executive scope or strategic importance in the position held. The level below the Executive Board is management level 1.
In addition to the management development programs, the Bilfinger Academy bundles the internal further training programs for all employees with a PC workstation. The established continuing education program Digital Learning Week was further developed in 2022. The new Learning Days format focuses more on internal networking and knowledge sharing. For example, more internal trainers were used and new formats such as Round Tables or Meet & Ask gatherings were introduced. In consultation with their supervisors, employees were able to register online for seminars and trainings on topics such as project management, self-management, leadership and work techniques.
To specifically promote project management skills, which are of great importance in Bilfinger’s business model, we have introduced a qualification series together with external trainers which offers training in accordance with the internationally recognized standards of the Project Management Institute (PMI). This program has been intensified and 10 new courses with a total of more than 100 participants were launched Group-wide in 2022.
At the regional and local levels, Bilfinger’s operating units offer additional development and training opportunities that are oriented toward their respective needs.
A portion of the savings generated by the efficiency program launched at Bilfinger in 2022 will in future be invested specifically in employee training and development in order to maintain and further strengthen the Group’s competitiveness. The objective is to increase investment in training and development to an annual share of at least 0.5 percent of Group revenue in the future.
The Bilfinger Apprentice Campaign project was launched in 2022 as a means of positioning Bilfinger even more strongly on the German-speaking market as an attractive employer in the area of vocational training. The goal is to develop an employer profile with a focus on training in order to make the Group’s offering in this area better known to the relevant target groups in 2023.
Diverse teams make decisions that are viewed from different perspectives. At Bilfinger, we focus on diversity because it is a key to the company's success. I am proud to be part of a company where more than 110 different nations are represented."
Foreign language skills and exposure to other countries are the essence of my International Business degree program. As a globally-active group, Bilfinger offers us students an absolute maximum of international and intercultural experience and gives us the opportunity to gain important professional expertise outside of Germany with a period of study abroad. "
The Young Talent Mentoring Program at Bilfinger was really helpful for me because my mentor was able to share his knowledge and experience. The program has demonstrated which skills and characteristics are necessary and important as a manager and has given me and opportunity to develop these skills."
At Bilfinger, we find the best possible career start for everyone. We offer a wide range of apprenticeships and specializations for participants of dual study programs. There are also additional regional offers. Here, career starters can find the perfect conditions to actively get involved and put their ideas into practice."
Diversity at Bilfinger
The diversity of our employees is of fundamental value to Bilfinger. We consider diversity in terms of differences in age, gender, religion, ideology and ethnic origin, as well as in physical and mental abilities, sexual orientation and identity of our employees. We have given ourselves the task of making these central dimensions of diversity an integral part of our daily work and the interaction among colleagues.
Cultural and linguistic diversity are part of everyday life at a globally active company like Bilfinger, with employees from a total of 112 nations. We are convinced that it is precisely this diversity that makes Bilfinger unique. Through their different approaches and perspectives, our employees create innovative solutions for our customers and thus make a key contribution to the success of our company.
Respect for and appreciation of diversity in our company is most clearly expressed in the fact that we prohibit discrimination of any kind. We have anchored this principle in our Code of Conduct, which applies to all employees without restriction. Violations of our Code of Conduct will not be tolerated under any circumstances; more detailed explanations are provided in Section Counteracting bribery and corruption.
Our global diversity initiatives seek to establish a common understanding of why diversity is of fundamental value to us as a Group. Senior management in the Group regularly highlights the relevance of these issues in internal publications. The topic of diversity is also of crucial importance in the cooperation with junior managers and young talent. In 2022, the company’s Labor Director launched a virtual series of talks on this topic.
As an employer, we would like to be attractive for employees in a wide range of life situations. For this reason, we seek to create a working environment that is as modern as possible, for example through hybrid forms of work and flexible working hours. This approach includes providing support for childcare or other family responsibilities through flexible working time models.
When looking for new employees, we specifically expand conventional recruiting channels to address potential employees and trainees among refugees, for example. When filling positions internally and as part of our succession planning, we believe it is important to have a diverse field of applicants.
In order to strengthen intercultural cooperation and reduce unconscious bias, employees are offered a wide range of further education and training opportunities. In addition, job rotation programs, such as our in-house trainee program, or temporary secondments to international assignments promote the transfer of knowledge between the various locations while also helping to establish an atmosphere of cultural openness.
The focus of the Bilfinger Mentoring Program is on fostering the exchange of experience between less experienced employees and experienced employees from different business segments and countries in order to support the transfer of knowledge as well as perspective changes in a sustainable manner within the Bilfinger Group.
Internal communication activities are given high priority: We use Group-specific training programs to provide information about diversity and its importance at Bilfinger. By doing so, we want to empower our employees to become ambassadors for a diverse corporate culture. Our digital corporate media regularly feature portraits of inspiring personalities and teams who contribute to a diverse corporate culture. We also use collaborative formats such as our internal MS Teams channel Diversity@Bilfinger to promote an exchange of ideas and information among employees.
In addition to these Group-wide diversity initiatives, Bilfinger also relies heavily on local initiatives that are tailored to regional needs and relevant diversity topics in the Group units in individual regions. In 2022, for example, a local interest group of employees from different business units was set up in our company in the United Kingdom. The group has taken it upon itself to design and implement local projects on diversity.
In the United States, for example, we specifically recruit employees at universities and colleges where a significant proportion of students are from ethnic minorities. In addition, interview questions aimed at the relevance of diversity among employees in everyday working life are an integral part of the recruitment process at Bilfinger units in the U.S. context.
On November 26, 2020, the cut-off date for the definition of the target figure, this proportion was 8 percent in management level 1 and just under 5 percent in management level 2. As of December 31, 2022, the proportion of women in management level 1 was 11 percent (previous year: 6 percent) and in management level 2 it was 6 percent (previous year: 8 percent).
The proportion of women in management positions has been established as a metric at Bilfinger. At the end of November 2020, the Executive Board resolved to achieve a target figure at Bilfinger of 10 percent women in management levels 1 and 2 below the Executive Board by December 31, 2023, in accordance with Section 76 ( 4) of the German Stock Corporation Act.
The Supervisory Board has set a target of 30 percent women and men on the Executive Board by December 31, 2023. In the case of an Executive Board with two or three members, this means having at least one woman and one man. As of December 31, 2022, the Executive Board consisted of two members, both of whom are men.