As a global manufacturer of high-quality life science products, Eppendorf needs skilled and motivated employees to successfully run and develop our business. We are firmly convinced that long-term success can only be achieved with employees who are satisfied and committed. That is why we believe it is important for the Eppendorf Group to be considered a particularly attractive employer. We aspire to become the best employer in the life science industry by 2025 based on indicators such as the speed at which advertised vacancies are filled (“time to hire”), employee retention rates and feedback from our staff surveys.
Above all, it is our employees’ individual talent and experience, as well as how they apply and develop their skills, that are of great importance at Eppendorf. For this reason, we have identified “Lifelong Learning in the Digital Age” and “Diversity and Equality of Opportunities at our Sites” as two key areas to focus on as part of our HR strategy. Essentially, we intend to promote innovation by means of diversity and lifelong learning. All Eppendorf employees should feel confident that their individual talent will be recognized, nurtured and developed – regardless of unrelated factors such as their age, background, gender, physical and mental abilities, religion and worldview, sexual orientation or social background.
The key elements comprise driving change together and questioning old habits. Such aims are of crucial importance for our future corporate success, since the spirit of innovation and applying existing knowledge to generate new ideas are the key principles that guide our HR activities.
Our employees already regard cooperation among colleagues as a defining feature of their day-to-day work. An internal staff survey showed that they view collaboration worldwide as one of Eppendorf’s credible strengths as an employer. Nevertheless, we see potential for development in this area. That is why we intend to continue expanding cooperation across departments and regions in the future. The COVID-19 pandemic and a greater shift toward working from home and collaborating online has also shown the potential for more efficient teamwork, which we intend to leverage in the future. In addition, we intend to prioritize our core topic “building on strength to create something new” even stronger. The effectiveness of our engagement for our employees is reflected in a low turnover rate. In 2022, the turnover rate was 12.5%, which is well below the German average of 16%.
Clear values, a strong corporate culture
We have defined six corporate values for our operations at Eppendorf. They apply to all employees and must be adhered to at all times when working for our company. The values form the basis for every decision are intended to enable our employees to embrace our corporate culture and put it into practice. These values are supported by a set of guiding principles that provide our employees with a point of reference for their day-to-day work.
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Our HSE Mission
The health and safety of our employees are a top priority at Eppendorf. That is why we have put people at the forefront of our HSE Mission. By providing secure and healthy places to work and taking preventive measures such as occupational health management, we aim to make an important contribution to promoting the health of our employees. It is every supervisor’s responsibility to raise awareness of the value of health within the individual departments and to firmly embed it in our everyday activities at work. Recognized concepts for eliminating hazards and minimizing risks are consistently applied and implemented. In addition, we are currently in the process of establishing an occupational safety management system in accordance with DIN ISO 45001.
Training & continuing education
“Lifelong learning” is one of the five core topics of our corporate strategy Eppendorf 2025. This topic is not only important from the business point of view – we also want to enable our employees to pursue their learning interests flexibly. Making sure that our employees are successful in their areas of responsibility and enjoy applying their various skills is the key to maintaining our high quality standards in the long term and to safeguarding our company’s competitiveness and capacity for development.
Because we have full confidence in the expertise and enthusiasm of our employees, we prefer to fill vacancies from within our own ranks. For this reason, we offer our employees attractive opportunities to continue their professional development within our company. Our aim is to avoid losing highly trained, motivated staff. New employees hired from outside the company are treated with a great level of appreciation. Their individual experience and views are a great asset to our teams.
Termination of employment by the employer shall take place individually, respectfully, fairly and with the support of the works council. Upon retirement, employees are accompanied by their respective manager. In addition, successive colleagues are trained in the areas of responsibility of retiring employees in good time. Eppendorf does not offer any models for early retirement.
Promoting HR development
Focus on performance is one of the six values mentioned above that we identify with as a company. As a result, our corporate culture is performance-based. At Eppendorf, we strive to provide an optimal environment in which employees can develop and foster their skills and talent. For this reason, we usually carry out an appraisal meeting with all employees at least once a year, which involves discussing performance assessment data for each employee, providing feedback and defining objectives for the future.
The challenges facing our company and the workplace are changing all the time. By means of comprehensive skills development programs, we aim to ensure that our employees’ existing skills and abilities are advanced accordingly. To this end, we work with employees to define the personal and professional skills development programs they need. We regard “learnability” – the motivation and ability of employees to develop and adapt their skills over the course of their professional careers – as an important criterion for success. Since the need for certain new qualifications is arising quickly, while others are declining in importance in today’s workplace, we encourage our employees to take initiative, identify their own training needs and formulate their own development goals.
Comprehensive training & education programs
Eppendorf’s decentralized organizational structure stipulates that continuing education opportunities are also managed on a largely decentralized basis, allowing the various locations to tailor their programs to meet specific needs. Eppendorf has a wide range of training and continuing education programs on offer. All employees have access to the online e-learning platform Eppendorf Academy, allowing them to acquire new knowledge and skills, on a regular basis and at their own pace. Our personnel development program features a range of courses, as defined in the Group Operating Agreement for employees in Germany, which they can attend through the Eppendorf Academy. The courses include personal development seminars and presentations on current business topics. In addition, our employees can access the LinkedIn Learning portfolio of 13,000 training courses. In 2022, the platform was regularly used for further training purposes. In 2022, Eppendorf employees dedicated an average of 5 hours to LinkedIn Learning and 3 hours to the Eppendorf Academy. Consequently, the average training time of our employees in 2022 is 8 hours.
Digitalization of work & training
The realities of work and education are changing at an increasingly rapid pace. At the forefront of this development is the ongoing digitalization of the workplace. To safeguard Eppendorf’s ability to efficiently and expediently leverage the benefits of digitalization, we are working to connect technology, organization and people at Eppendorf and to coordinate how they are employed within our digitalization strategy.
This is where our People Journey Community plays a key role. Around 20 people from a wide range of different departments at Eppendorf have teamed up to utilize digitalization as the driving force behind a future-oriented approach to work and training. In this context, the emphasis is on four main development areas.
Digital culture & mindset: Developing our mindset in a digital and inclusive direction that increases our employees’ commitment.
Learning environment & tools: Expanding and using the Eppendorf learning community in order to develop targeted learning systems and learning environments.
Knowledge transfer: Enhancing the global transfer of knowledge at Eppendorf by creating an ecosystem for diverse communities and internal and external networks.
New ways of working & collaboration: Developing tools for fully flexible collaboration and agile teamwork.
In the year under review, the Digital Learning Environment and Tools team from the People Journey Community launched a digital learning championship among Eppendorf employees. The aim is to make digital learning more fun with the help of gamification. Participants in the competition are to become digital experts at Eppendorf. This way, we prepare them for the upcoming challenges of digitalization and technological, labor and organizational development. It is possible to participate as an individual person or as a team. At the end of the first round of the competition, the “Digital Learning Champion” and “Digital Learning Team Champion” prizes were awarded in September 2022.
Further training among colleagues
In 2022, under the motto Working Out Loud (WOL), several small groups of four to five colleagues met weekly for the third time to exchange ideas virtually or in person for an hour. The idea is that employees work together over a twelve-week period to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. They are supported by a guideline with several group and individual tasks. In the year under review, the focus was on further development in the areas of digitalization, innovation at Eppendorf and self-organized work on the basis of the New Work concept.
Virtual language training
As an internationally operating company, we have customers spread all over the world and we work together across divisions and countries. Successful communication is essential. We want to promote multinational exchange, networking and diversity at Eppendorf. Since May 2022, our employees have been able to learn up to twelve languages and improve their communication skills via e-learning courses and virtual classrooms on the “goFluent” learning platform. In addition to English, German, French and Spanish, the offer includes Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin, Dutch, Russian, Arabic, Japanese and Korean.
Our talent management system is designed to help identify, develop and retain potential young talent within the company. To this end, we also cooperate with universities and other educational institutions. We refer to high school and university students, as well as entry-level professionals looking to gain professional experience at Eppendorf and start their career with us, as “Future People”. During their apprenticeship, internship, cooperative education program or traineeship at Eppendorf, they learn from us – and we learn from them. In 2022, 33 new “Future People” started throughout Germany. As of the reporting date (December 31, 2022), a total of 79 “Future People” were employed at Eppendorf in Germany.
In August of every year, new trainees and students in cooperative education programs begin their careers in industrial and commercial professions across all Eppendorf sites in Germany. At present, Eppendorf offers 18 apprenticeships and five cooperative education programs. We incorporate the latest developments in research and teaching within our company by employing student trainees and interns and providing them with the opportunity to write their final theses. In return, students acquire work experience and have the opportunity to structure their studies around real-life applications by working on projects. In addition, we intend to promote a close exchange with research institutes via university partnerships, thus enabling us to identify trends at an early stage and apply them profitably at Eppendorf.
At Eppendorf, we invite talented young individuals to complete a two-year specialist trainee program after graduating from university. Participants know what they will focus on right from the beginning and are assigned to one or two interface departments for the duration of their traineeship. The program also includes a period of several months at an international Eppendorf location. The structured program trains university graduates in accordance with our requirements and expectations and provides them with company-specific skills and knowledge that will prepare them for future employment at Eppendorf. In 2022, eight trainees were taking part in the program in Hamburg. In the year under review, the concept was rolled out, as planned, in further Eppendorf market regions. Since 2022, one traineeship each has been offered in Dubai and in Selangor, Malaysia.
International exchange program
Since 2012, Eppendorf has been offering an international vacation exchange program for children of its employees. The Eppendorf FamilyNetwork gives them the opportunity to get to know other countries and cultures. They can experience cross-cultural interaction that goes beyond what they are accustomed to at home, expand their language skills and deepen their understanding of the fascinating diversity of different cultures, worldviews and new everyday situations. The young people spend between two and four weeks in the summer vacation with an Eppendorf family at a foreign location. This establishes private relationships between families and offers children their first experience of living abroad in a safe atmosphere. After a break due to the pandemic, the exchange program started again in the summer vacations of 2022.
Diversity & equal opportunities
At Eppendorf, we embrace diversity and bring people together who have intercultural skills and have learned to be tolerant, supportive, appreciative, collaborative and responsible. Our #WeAreEppendorf campaign focuses on both inclusion and diversity, thereby generating a sense of belonging, even if each person experiences and expresses it in a different way. We believe that the diversity of our workforce fosters the exchange of ideas across the various departments, as well as productive collaboration that supports a steady increase in knowledge while at the same time preventing a silo mindset. We consider this approach to be the key to innovation; therefore, diversity and inclusion are integral parts of our corporate strategy Eppendorf 2025. It is for the same reason that equal opportunities, an open-minded approach and respect are firmly rooted in our standards and policies.
Standards & guidelines
Our Code of Conduct summarizes fundamental rules of conduct that are binding for all Eppendorf employees around the world. The code stipulates that all employees and anyone applying for a position at our company must be afforded equal opportunities. It rules out any discrimination on the basis of criteria such as skin color, national origin, religion, political opinions, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability. This commitment is also consistent with our corporate philosophy, which attaches great importance to diversity and equal opportunities.
Our management culture is designed to create an environment where people work with enthusiasm. Together with their managers, our employees define their goals and perception of their tasks. This enables them to work independently.
Compliant behavior is important and self-evident for our business success. In order to meet this requirement, it is important to be informed at an early stage of any risks, damage to reputation or misconduct in order to be able to react. Our employees have access to a number of reporting channels to report violations of our Code of Conduct to the relevant department or to their supervisors. In 2022, the Compliance Line was added as a reporting channel for the Europe market region. All stakeholders can report (potentially) unethical, illegal and irresponsible actions around the clock. Information on suspected questionable conduct may also be submitted by e-mail or letter, in a face-to-face meeting and by telephone. We investigate every reported indication. If the allegation proves to be justified, reasonable legal remedies will be taken. We are convinced that whistleblower systems strengthen an open culture where questions are always welcome. This way, together with our guidelines and training, we prevent non-compliant conduct.
In addition, inclusion agreements and a representative body for disabled employees are in place throughout Germany. The representative body for disabled employees works closely with the Global Real Estate Management unit. During the reporting period, the unit was involved in drafting a policy establishing global accessibility standards for the entire Eppendorf Group.
Initiatives during the year under review
In 2022, we held various workshops with the involvement of the Supervisory Board, the Management Board and senior executives that identified diversity and equal opportunities as key strategic priorities going forward. On this basis, we plan to launch a number of projects and programs within the scope of the Eppendorf 2025 strategy initiative.
Strengthening women in a targeted manner
The Act on the Equal Participation of Women and Men in Management Positions in the Private and Public Sectors (Gesetz für die gleichberechtigte Teilhabe von Frauen und Männern an Führungspositionen) has been in force in Germany since 2015. We support this initiative to increase the proportion of women in management positions. At Eppendorf, women accounted for 35% of all staff members in 2022. At 4%1), the gender pay gap at Eppendorf is far below the German average of 18%.
In addition, Eppendorf regularly marks International Women’s Day in a variety of ways. For example, as in previous years, Eppendorf India hosted a Women’s Day event for female customers in 2022. Guided by this year’s theme “Break the Bias”, over 600 participants gathered across India in eleven different locations. The idea behind this program is to bring women researchers from different backgrounds, age groups and institutions together in order to exchange ideas and opinions and to celebrate together the importance of women. This year, participants were again welcomed at the start of the program by a video message from Co-CEO & Chief Commercial Officer Eva van Pelt.
Embracing diversity, learning inclusion
To date, the activities aimed at inclusion for people with disabilities at Eppendorf have focused heavily on the Hamburg site. However, an inclusion team will now meet every quarter to exchange information on current initiatives and developments related to this topic at Eppendorf.
In 2022, the inclusion team addressed several issues. In 2021, the team had introduced an e-learning program, which received a lot of positive feedback. As a result, the team offered another global online training course on inclusion in the year under review, this time also for non-management staff. In 2022, planned conversion measures for accessibility at the Hamburg site were also transferred by the team to rented office buildings and some have already been initiated. At the Oldenburg location, the first barrier-free sanitary facility was put into operation. In addition, the team met with the Senior Vice President Global HR & OD to expand and consolidate the key aspects of inclusion at Eppendorf.
The year under review again saw a Lunch & Learn on the topic of diversity and variety, this time focusing on allyship. The aim is to establish how each individual can contribute to more diversity and inclusive behavior in the company. Allies are people who are fundamentally committed to diversity and inclusion. This way, they can contribute different perspectives to their teams and promote an open and respectful way of working together. The event informed participants about the significance of allyship for teams, companies and society and how to take action themselves.
Employees have had the option of taking part in a “learning journey” on diversity and inclusion since 2021. The format consists of a combination of self-reflection and learning in small groups of five people. Participants meet within a set time frame of every twelve weeks to participate in organized sprints. At the start of the learning journey, a personal objective is defined which will function as a common thread throughout the following weeks. While on their journey, participants explore the different forms of diversity and inclusion in their own environments. They can then build on their understanding by sharing their experiences in depth. The last step involves reflecting on what they have experienced and learned.
In May, the global Diversity Awareness Month initiated by the United Nations, various campaigns raised awareness for the topic. Eppendorf also uses the period as an opportunity to promote more diversity and inclusion in the work environment and beyond. In a 20-day learning challenge, Eppendorf provided short daily content on the aspects of diversity, inclusion and variety via LinkedIn Learning.
1) The gender pay gap data covers Germany, Canada, USA and China, resulting in a share of the global workforce of around 73%