How is the topic of equal treatment enshrined in ALPLA’s corporate culture?
With ALPLA being a family-owned enterprise, the principles of fairness and tolerance were part of its cultural make-up right from the start. However, its rapid growth means there are topics that need to be worked on continuously. The desired management culture was first explicitly enshrined in the Leadership Promise, which is founded on the pillars of trust, respect, potential and results, and the First Principles of ‘Being reliable’, ‘Solving problems’, ‘Making decisions’ and ‘Communicating effectively’. In addition, our Code of Conduct stipulates among other things that every employee must be able to cover at least their basic daily needs with their salary and also includes a clear dissociation from discrimination of any kind. Another of our goals is to introduce and firmly establish greater diversity at the decision-making levels. The fact that this is not all that easy is due in part to the technical sector.
It is not only our employees who enjoy equal opportunity thanks to the measures mentioned. We want to play our part within society too. As education is a matter which is close to our hearts at ALPLA, we champion fair education opportunities with the Alwin Lehner Scholarship. This aims in particular to support students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
„One of our objectives is to continue to fill vacancies based on quality, while nevertheless increasing the level of diversity in a wide array of positions“
What challenges and opportunities do you see for ALPLA with regard to employees and what development opportunities are there?
The key questions that we are addressing on a daily basis are how we can best support our employees in their personal and professional development, how we can keep them within the company in the long term and how we recruit suitable skilled workers to fill vacancies. The reason for an employee leaving a company is, as we know, often not the company itself, but the management – for a variety of reasons. Using open dialogue, we want to establish tailored development plans on the basis of regular staff appraisals in which an employee’s personal development goals are set out and reviewed. Our aim is to expand our strengths and reduce any weaknesses that may exist in order to promote the right people in the right positions. In principle, all doors are open to our employees at ALPLA. There are also interesting opportunities again and again due to our having numerous sites all over the world.
All of these aspects ideally ultimately lead to long-term employee satisfaction and therefore success for the company. Because if you see what you do every day as being meaningful, you can be successful and more content.
To what extent has the coronavirus pandemic changed the ALPLA world of work? Have there also been positive developments for the employees?
The last 18 months or so have been a challenge for all of us. But there are some positive aspects too, which we can embrace for the future. For example, greater daily work flexibility has proved its worth and will remain in place. Working from home is a good example here. For us, it’s now a question of further developing the flexibility aspects. A lot has changed in the areas of management and communication, and there will continue to be a lot of changes in the future. We need to train the managers so that they can adapt to the new situation as well as support the employees in working even more autonomously and independently. A major step in this regard was the introduction of Microsoft Teams at ALPLA in summer 2021. The centralised workspace as a cloud solution means we can collaborate independently of time and location. This simplifies cooperation among the teams working from home as well as international collaboration within the ALPLA Group.
In my opinion, this doesn’t mean that office workplaces will disappear – quite the opposite, in fact. They will continue to be important as collaboration in the office also has a social aspect, which we will continue to promote in order to tackle social isolation. Also, not everything can be done virtually – in the case of interviews or customer meetings, which are all about relations, a lot of non-verbal communication information is lacking if these are conducted digitally. Ultimately, what will be important is that we strike the right balance and support the ALPLA employees in doing so.
The customers’ expectations of ALPLA regarding social standards are increasing too. How can you live up to these expectations?
Yes, our customers are increasingly asking us what we are doing in the area of social responsibility. We therefore repeatedly perform social responsibility audits, sometimes at the request of customers and sometimes of our own volition. These tell us where we are at with regard to the required and defined standards, for example in the area of working time. Our platinum score in the EcoVadis sustainability rating demonstrates that we are generally very strong in this area. However, we do not wish to rest on our laurels. It is important to us that we continue to take a good look at our own supply chain.