Responsible human resources policy
Creating value by focusing on the future
For us as a service provider, our employees are our most important resource – their skills, their commitment, their hard work and their sense of responsibility determine Aareal Bank Group's economic performance and competitiveness. This means that employee satisfaction and how to achieve it – which in turn is a core indicator of social sustainability – is a top priority throughout the Group.
Our employee development policy aims at ensuring both professional qualifications and soft skills, and why we assist staff in achieving a successful work-life balance and also offer them an enhanced Company Health Management programme.
For us, sustainable management starts with the selection and motivation for our employees, which is why we have internalised the following principles in order to develop a responsible human resources policy.
Aareal Bank AG usually employs temporary workers only in specific situations and exceptional cases, e.g. if the required competencies are not available internally or temporary capacity bottlenecks have to be bridged at short notice. As a general rule, the Bank aims to employ staff on a permanent basis. This is reflected by the fact that the share of temporary workers in the total number of employees has been below 2 per cent for years.
Rewarding employees with good pay for good performance goes without saying for us. This is why, at Aareal Bank Group, salaries are set in compliance with overarching remuneration policies that are based on the regulatory requirements and that are available online. The salaries paid to Aareal Bank employees in Germany are governed by collective wage agreements or general works agreements.
The remuneration paid to Management Board members comprises a number of different components that are based on the Company’s performance and members’ individual targets. We ensure a long-term perspective for our business by using multi-year assessment periods for our Management Board members’ targets, among other things.
When setting targets, the Supervisory Board ensures that they are ambitious but realistic, within the scope of Aareal Bank's risk appetite, and in line with the corporate and risk culture. Aareal Bank also incorporates sustainability risks, so-called ESG (environmental, social and governance) risks, into the bank's risk management. Aareal Bank generally defines sustainability risks as cross-category risks or risk drivers that are directly or indirectly influenced by the environment, social issues, or monitoring processes. All material sustainability risks could be assigned as parts of existing financial and non-financial risks. Accordingly, control is implicitly carried out within the framework of the respective assigned risk types. Accordingly, sustainability risks are also reflected in the bank's remuneration system. (Information pursuant to Article 5 Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2019/2088))
In order to give even more weight to the consideration of ESG, the Management Board compensation system includes a minimum target of 15% on quantitative ESG targets from the 2021 financial year on.
Aareal Bank AG offers its employees the ability to participate in an employer-funded corporate retirement plan. Contributions to capital formation schemes can also be used for this. Employees Group-wide can also make additional pension contributions using a deferred compensation model.
In addition, we offer staff a number of other benefits designed to protect them, such as health insurance for foreign travel and group accident insurance that also covers incidents outside work.
We invest continuously in our employees' professional and interpersonal skills. Our goals-driven employee development activities reflect our awareness of how important it is to have highly qualified, motivated staff in an increasingly competitive environment. Due to the international environment in which our Group operates, we focus primarily on enhancing our employees' language and cultural abilities alongside their business and communications skills.
To allow us to plan and direct training measures efficiently, employees discuss their individual development once a year with their managers. This led to more than 1,000 new development measures being agreed at the beginning of every year.
We bundle all our educational offerings in our Aareal Academy. This offers both internal and external education and training measures, such as language and IT training, part-time courses and tertiary degree study programmes.
Developing qualified and talented young staff is a core aspect of our human resources work. In 2015, Aareal Bank started implementing a new young talent concept taking the form of a dual work-study programme created together with the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Mannheim. Aareon also offers the opportunity to enrol in a dual work-study programme, and hence to combine theory and practice in an ideal manner. Another option is to obtain a vocational training qualification from one of several programmes while also benefiting from a range of additional training offerings. Trainees thus have the opportunity to take responsibility for tasks early on and hence to get prepared in the best possible way for their working lives later on.
In addition to our study courses and vocational training programmes, we offer school and university students the chance to gain valuable practical experience in a number of different areas as interns or work students. Additionally, Aareal Bank offers internships for young people with disabilities as part of the inclusive training programmes offered by Deutsche Angestellten-Akademie (DAA).
The management and the Works Council, as the body for employee co-determination, take a cooperative approach to their work together. Employee representatives are regularly informed of current developments. All locations take part in annual works council meetings and employee events.
The General Works Councils for Aareal Bank, Aareon Deutschland GmbH and WestImmo each appoint an Economic Committee. The Supervisory Boards for Aareal Bank and Aareon Deutschland are covered by the rules governing co-determination; Aareon employees are also represented on the Aareal Bank Supervisory Board.
In addition to Aareal Bank representatives, the Group Works Council comprises representatives of other German subsidiaries who address issues relating to the Group as a whole.
Aareal Bank attaches great importance to ensuring equal rights for men and women. We comply strictly with the provisions of the General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz), both with regard to staff appointment decisions and with respect to remuneration and to training measures for professional development.
We do not distinguish by gender when it comes to employee pay; apart from individual performance, the only things taken into consideration are factors such as qualifications, professional experience and training. A study conducted by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth analysed Aareal Bank AG's pay structures and confirmed that there are no significant differences in pay between men and women.
Additionally, employee bodies regularly check that qualifications are the decisive criterion used when selecting applicants for positions. Moreover, Aareal Bank Group has equal treatment officers in Germany under the General Equal Treatment Act. Training on the Act is mandatory and is conducted for all employees.
We regard cultural diversity as enriching our corporate culture and as an opportunity for ensuring sustainable business success. Our day-to-day work together is based on the principles of mutual esteem and respectful dealings with one another. We respect all people regardless of their ethnic origin, religion, ideology, disabilities, sexual identity, gender or age. We have also anchored these principles in our Code of Conduct and underscored their importance by signing the Diversity Charta.
Aareal Bank Group employs people from more than 30 different countries. At Aareal Bank's foreign locations, we take care to ensure that positions are primarily filled by local staff if possible. Aareon staff are given intercultural training in order to facilitate international cooperation.
Diversity means more than simply tolerance and respect for otherness, for us it is at the time the basis for doing business sustainably. This is also reflected in our Diversity Principles.
Ensuring a healthy work-life balance is a key priority in today's society and is becoming more and more of a knock-out criterion for staff selecting employers. We address this by offering a wide range of options designed to enable individual members of staff to find the right solution for their needs. For example, we offer models for flexible and part-time working as well as long-term working time accounts, as well as the option of mobile working or working from home for part of the time.
At its head office in Wiesbaden, Aareal Bank works with "Fit For Family Care", a non-profit organisation that operates childcare facilities in the city. This partnership offers our employees childcare places for children aged between ten months and six years. We also help employees at locations outside Wiesbaden achieve an optimal work-life balance by assisting them in finding private childcare solutions.
Our comprehensive long-term care offering is another element helping to achieve a better work-life balance. This builds on the ability to take statutory long-term care leave and family caregiver leave, in particular by enabling employees to call on advisory and support services from a third-party provider when close relatives are ill or in need of long-term care. In addition, staff can take part in a number of different skills training courses designed to improve their work-care balance that are run under the auspices of the Bündnis für Familie (Family Alliance) in Wiesbaden, and can also leverage an internal care network offering both a wide range of information about long-term care and the opportunity to talk about various issues with other affected employees.
Aareon also works together with a family services company that supports employees by providing advisory programmes on childcare and long-term care, and on psychosocial issues. Additionally, Aareon’s Mainz location has joined forces with another company to offer crèche and kindergarten places at a day care centre; the kindergarten places are free of charge for Aareon staff.
Alongside these wide-ranging measures to promote a better work-life balance, parent-child offices have been set up at Aareal Bank in Wiesbaden and at various Aareon locations. The objective is to support employees facing short-term childcare bottlenecks.
Employee health is a top priority for us at all times. This is why we have an extensive Company Health Management (BGM) programme that helps all employees to remain mentally and physically fit. The BGM focuses primarily on the areas of information, prevention, exercise and ergonomics, nutrition, psychological health and relaxation. Our goal is to enable all staff to select the right offering or activity for them from the range provided.
The health portal run by BAD, our occupational health service, provides staff with basic information on a variety of health-related topics such as ergonomics, nutrition, sport and exercise, balancing conflicting requirements and preventive healthcare measures. In addition, the Bank again invited its staff to a variety of specialist talks in the period under review.
Prophylactic measures offered in 2016 included preventive individual health consultations on a variety of issues, health counselling by the works doctor, skin screenings, influenza vaccinations, colon cancer screening and a blood donor day.
The exercise and ergonomics courses we provide comprise not only running courses and groups but also alternative forms of exercise such as qigong, ergonomics consulting and ergonomics coaching spanning several weeks. The Bank provides staff with shower facilities to make it easier for them to engage in sports before and after work.
We ensure they have access to healthy food by operating our own canteen, which focuses consistently on providing balanced, varied meals. In addition, we provide employees with free mineral water and with the opportunity to purchase healthy snacks during the day.
One main way in which we attempt to promote employees' psychological health and relaxation is by providing a range of presentations and workshops. In 2016, our offerings in this area ranged from mindfulness training through stress management seminars to a presentation and subsequent four-week workshop on healthy sleep. At the same time, we also provided appropriate courses for managers. Another core component of our psychological health and relaxation offering is the ability for staff to contact a crisis hotline in case of professional or personal problems. This is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The motto for company health management activities at our subsidiary Aareon in 2016 was "Fit for the world of work 4.0"; this aimed to improve employees' psychological resilience, a topic that a staff survey had identified as being of particular interest. More specifically, it offered seminars, lectures and e-learning tools on psychological health, as well as movement and relaxation exercises.
Organising occupational safety throughout the Group is the Management Board's responsibility.
It does this using an integrated management system and in compliance with the statutory regulations. For us, this means specifically planning and systemically organising occupational health and safety, and consistently integrating it with management tasks.
Regularly reviewing the efficacy of, and continuously improving, our occupational safety management activities are also important. Aareal Bank Group successfully adopts this approach at its headquarters and German locations, and is regularly audited by external supervisory authorities.
The occupational health and safety authority VBG Mainz confirmed our high standard of occupational safety and issued the Group with a certificate for "Arbeitsschutz mit System“ (systematic occupational safety) in 2016.