Training and professional development
Strategy and concepts
Transformation of training and professional development
The transformation is changing numerous job profiles, tasks and requirements profiles. This is transforming the qualifications needed for many positions.The company therefore places “lifelong learning” and the further training of employees at the centre of its sustainable development of human resources. The range of the portfolio of training professions offered by the Mercedes-Benz Group in Germany, and the courses of study offered in dual work-study programmes, is also changing as a result.
The Mercedes-Benz Group invests extensively in training and professional development programmes for its employees and continuously adjusts its qualification and HR development programmes. The company has also launched a worldwide qualification offensive known as Turn2Learn. In Germany alone, Mercedes-Benz plans to invest a total of more than 1.3 billion euros in the training and professional development of employees by 2030. The aim is to preserve the competitiveness of the Mercedes-Benz Group in the long term.
Organisation and areas of responsibility
Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Mercedes-Benz AG and Mercedes-Benz Intellectual Property GmbH & Co. KG structure their training and qualification processes throughout Germany in line with various company-wide agreements.
These are, among others a company-wide agreement on qualification and the 2022 company-wide agreement on the integration of external learning platforms into the Mercedes-Benz Group’s qualification programmes.
The new general works agreement on external learning platforms underlines the importance of a high degree of self-determination for lifelong learning. Among other things, the agreement specifies the usage of the platform during and outside the working hours for the 80,000 employees who have access. The General Works Agreement on training, on the other hand, regulates the cooperation with the works council in determining training priorities and defines the process for demand-based planning of training measures.
Both of the aforementioned agreements are designed to strengthen the responsibility managers and employees share for qualification measures. In addition, the agreements serve to standardize the qualification process, structure it more efficiently and integrate external training elements into the learning portfolio.
With regard to the core workforce, the general works agreements also aim to secure or further develop personal qualifications, and to further qualify all employees in terms of technical and/or leadership skills. In addition, they formulate the expectation that the employees of the participating companies will take an active role in the training process and develop career perspectives independently. Furthermore, an annual qualification review with the immediate superior is provided for, in which both sides agree on the next training steps. Overarching qualification focus areas are agreed annually at the location level between the corporate management and the works council. Among other factors, these focus areas are oriented to the production programme of the respective location.
Sustainable development and management of human resources
The Mercedes-Benz Group employs a sustainable personnel planning and development approach because it needs highly qualified employees with the right skills, whether in the field of electric mobility or in one of the many digital disciplines that are becoming increasingly important.
What kinds of expertise and skills does Mercedes-Benz AG need in order to successfully implement the transformation? Does the company have the right personnel with the right skills at its disposal? These and other important questions are being addressed by the Tech-Academy Production and Supply Chain Management at Mercedes-Benz Cars, for example.
Using temporary work as an additional flexibility reserve
Cooperation with external service providers and temporary employment agencies is an important lever in the quantitative human resource planning: by employing temporary workers in Germany, the Mercedes-Benz Group is better able to respond to fluctuating production requirements and market conditions.
The Mercedes-Benz Group in Germany has made agreements in order to be able to respond flexibly to market fluctuations and thus to retain the core workforce and jobs. The provisions of the works agreements “Safeguarding the Future of Daimler” and “DMove” have been extended until the end of 2024 for the Mercedes-Benz Group AG and Mercedes-Benz AG locations in Germany. The Mercedes-Benz Group concept is: temporary employees complement the regular workforce, they do not replace it.
Trainees and students
In the reporting year, some 1,200 trainees and participants in dual study programmes began their vocational training at the Mercedes-Benz Group in Germany.
Professional training is carried out in a dual system – i.e. in plants/offices and at trade schools. This gives trainees a realistic picture of the work in the company, and in many cases allows them to already qualify and recommend themselves for subsequent employment with the company.
The Mercedes-Benz Group also offers dual university studies in internationally recognised Bachelor’s degree programmes at various company locations in Germany. The lectures are supplemented by practical assignments in Germany and abroad. After the cancellation of foreign assignments in 2020 and 2021, due to the coronavirus, the dual students were once again sent off to practical assignments around the world in 2022.
The Mercedes-Benz Group has established a Mercedes-Benz Training System for Germany that standardizes training content across all sites and divisions. Regular checks are made to see that the content is user-friendly and up to date and that duplication does not occur. Hybrid formats allow for both in-class learning and online course components. The goal here is to create high-quality and efficient training programmes that are attractive to trainees and participants in dual work-study programmes.
Mercedes-Benz Group training programmes are fundamentally needs-based continuously reviews its portfolio of training occupations in Germany. In doing so, the company not only reacts to current developments – it also anticipates future requirements and technological innovations. For example, the Group analysed the requirements of future IT professions and used this as a basis for expanding its portfolio to include digital training professions for IT in the industrial sector, and it also introduced a course of study that focuses on the interface between IT and electrical engineering (embedded systems). In 2022, it also tested the use in training programmes of content relating to artificial intelligence by offering an additional qualification module, among other things. For further development of the professional portfolio in both training and dual studies, additional content such as the integration of sustainability or the needs related to the Metaverse were examined.
Dealing with new technologies
The Mercedes-Benz Group in Germany provides its trainees and employees with exciting insights into new technologies: in its training workshops, there are spaces equipped with new technologies such as 3D printers, virtual painting and welding systems, as well as augmented and virtual reality goggles.
Mercedes-Benz AG is also increasingly using new learning methods such as gamification, peer-to-peer learning and interactive digital learning platforms for its training courses. These are developed and tested in the company’s own workshops.
One example of this is the “EQS Transparent” project. Apprentices from technical and commercial occupational groups work closely together across locations and install the complete interior into an EQS bodyshell. In the process, the trainees gain technical insights, as well as important skills such as problem-solving ability and teamwork.
New training and learning opportunities for employees
The Mercedes-Benz Group offers its employees an extensive range of professional and personal development opportunities. It conducts a large number of training programmes to make sure that its people have the right skills. It also continuously improves these programmes in order to ensure that its employees remain employable over the long term in a changing environment – and that they never lose their innovative capability. The Mercedes-Benz Group is now realigning its qualification approach within the framework of its Turn2Learn initiative, which puts lifelong learning and the further education of employees at the centre of its sustainable personnel development activities.
The Turn2Learn initiative addresses the qualification system throughout the entire Mercedes-Benz Group. Among other things, the initiative is being used to combine and optimize existing training and education programmes, which are being supplemented by large-scale opportunities for e-learning via external learning platforms.
Corporate management and the employee representative body also maintain an ongoing dialogue professional further education and training. When selecting the formats, the Mercedes-Benz Group seeks to enable employees to exercise as much self-determination as possible. Learning and education thus become a natural part of daily work. The learning paths are to accompany the employees throughout their professional lives. They are continuously updated and supplemented and thus create tailor-made training opportunities. At the same time, the Group increases the transparency of expertise and skills across teams and divisions.
The Tech Academies and the Global Training Centre
The Tech Academy Production and Supply Chain Management at Mercedes-Benz Cars analyses – with help of Strategic Resource Management, integrated in 2021 – current and future personnel requirements for production areas and interdepartmental functions – for example, in the areas of quality assurance and production planning, as well as for logistics at Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The Tech Academy uses the analyses to develop future-oriented qualification and retraining measures in line with the needs of specific target groups. This strategic approach enables recognising possible personnel bottlenecks and a lack of know-how at an early stage and taking appropriate countermeasures. There is a special focus on the topics of “digitalisation”, “software” and “electrics/electronics (E/E) skills”.
Cooperation between the Tech Academy and representatives from specialist production units at Mercedes Benz Cars led to the establishment of the Transformation Hub in mid-2021. This working group manages all qualification and retraining measures across all units and departments. It also uses personnel requirements analyses to develop skills profiles for key functions that need to be filled. Besides basic requirements such as the field of study or training, the skill target profiles also describe skills that will be relevant in the future. The required skills can then be acquired with the help of target-group-specific learning paths.
To safeguard the future and the innovative strength and thus the future of the Mercedes-Benz Group, the company assigns special importance to the continuous further qualification of employees in research and development. A Tech Academy that offers needs-based future-oriented training components has also been established for employees in the development units at the Mercedes-Benz Group in Germany, that can significantly shape the products of tomorrow. The focus here is on the current strategic topics “Lead in Car Software” and “Lead in Electric Drive”.
Within the sales organization of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, the Mercedes-Benz Global Training business unit serves as the central pillar for the development and qualification of employees of the German and international retail operations. In addition to the training and certification of sales and service personnel as well as dealership management, the unit provides comprehensive advanced training and various product training courses. Moreover, it focuses, among other things, on qualification content for electrical systems/electronics and high voltage. For employees at headquarters and in its own sales companies, Mercedes-Benz Group AG offers continuing education programmes that have been comprehensively expanded as part of the Turn2Learn initiative — for example in the areas of digitalization and data science.
Building digital skills
In light of the transformation, the Mercedes-Benz Group in Germany is placing a focus on qualifications that are crucial for the digitalization of the Group and the successful implementation of its sustainable business strategy.
"D.SHIFT” is part of the qualification offensive “Turn2Learn” with the emphasis on production. It places the focus on the further development of digital skills. As part of this initiative, for example, Mercedes-Benz AG offers suitably tailored digital retraining courses with individual support and corresponding, defined target positions, also at other locations, for the transformation of job profiles in production. After the success of an initial pilot project, in which employees at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Berlin – the “digital pioneers” – were provided with further training on their individual paths to becoming “junior software developers”, the project is also continued at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. This is where “digital superheroes” from production and production-related areas started their in-service training as “data specialists” in June 2022. The pilot projects will subsequently be rolled out to other locations.
With specifically developed learning paths, more than 250 employees are also being recruited for training as “data workers”. Four different learning paths are available for this purpose: “data product owner”, “data engineer”, “data analyst” and “data scientist”. Depending on their learning path, employees develop and design data-based products and processes, analyse large amounts of data and look for patterns or information that can subsequently support decision-making.
Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Mercedes-Benz AG and Mercedes-Benz Mobility AG also attach great importance to the academic training of their employees. For this reason, all companies in Germany offer employees with a permanent employment contract and at least one year of service the opportunity for part-time studies – regardless of their age and career development. The companies have set up the “Mercedes-Benz Academic Programs” for this purpose: the students are supported financially and with an accompanying programme. It includes, among other things, networking events, meeting points, alumni events, as well as counselling and support for students during their course of studies.
The transformation of the Mercedes-Benz Group is a major challenge. Its managers play a key role in this. Sustainable human resource development is needed to prepare them for the new requirements. Accordingly, the Group offers employees appropriate further development programmes – for example, for personal preparation for a management career.
Empowering employees for leadership tasks
A key tool for management development and selection at the Mercedes-Benz Group is the “potential validation procedure for future managers”. The candidates complete various tasks and practical exercises in an assessment centre. Managers from different departments and from HR who have been specially trained evaluate the performance of the candidates and finally assess whether they are capable of taking on management tasks. In this procedure, the “People Principles” are also applied and taken into account.
The qualification programmes for managers in the Group impart a wide range of skills on the topics of “Leadership”, “Agile Working” and “Digital Transformation”. Courses are available to all managers worldwide, starting at the team leader level. New managers receive especially extensive support during the first 365 days after their appointment. Programmes for talented and high-potential individuals are aimed at employees prior to taking up their first management positions.
In addition, the “Group leader development programme” is aimed at employees who want to take on a management role at Group leader level – for example in the production areas. The focus here is particularly on skills that are needed in the course of the increasing networking of plants and the digitalisation of production
International talent training programmes
Since 2018, the Mercedes-Benz Group has bundled a number of international talent programmes within the company under the label “INspire”. This includes for example “INspire – the Leaders’ Lab”. For the leadership programme, new employees are specifically recruited from outside the Group who, after successful completion of the programme, can take on a management position in the company. Within the 18-month leadership programme, participants take on important projects and complete an international assignment. In addition, a mentor from top management gives them support.
Effectiveness and results
The effectiveness of the management approach
In order to evaluate the effectiveness and success of a training measure, the Mercedes-Benz Group analyses the extent to which employees have been able to transfer the skills they have learned to a specific field of activity. One way to check this is through the annual qualification interview between the manager and the employee. The conversation between the Human Resources department and the specialist departments on strategic training needs are also used by the company for these analyses.
In addition, participants can provide feedback at the end of various qualification measures by completing a standardised survey. This enables evaluation of the effectiveness of the measures, and, if necessary, their adaptation in terms of content or methodological-didactic aspects.
Furthermore, the Group records the number of training days completed by the employees. With this key performance indicator, the Group can make quantitative statements on mandatory as well as voluntarily conducted training measures. To also enable qualitative statements to be made, the Mercedes-Benz Group uses the results of the employee survey. The Group expects this to produce reliable findings that can be used to evaluate and control the management approach.
The Mercedes-Benz Group in Germany seeks to ensure that its professional training and dual work-study programmes are of high quality. It also wants to make sure it can offer a modern needs-based range of professions in both areas. That’s why the company has redefined the portfolio of professions for its training programmes and for the Dual University for the period until 2025, and has also modified the professions, the courses of study and the recruitment figures for each professional group.
The occupational portfolio has been expanded to include digital apprenticeships in the industrial sector for IT specialists as well as a course of study at the interface of IT and electrical engineering, (embedded systems). The further development of training content in 2022 also involved the design and launch at the training locations of new internal qualification components for trainees that address topics such as cybersecurity, programming and data-based decision-making. These components also include extensive qualification programmes for the trainers themselves.
In order to expand the existing range of qualification programmes for Mercedes-Benz Group employees, the employee representative body and corporate management concluded a company-wide agreement in 2022 that governs the use of learning platforms. This has made it possible for a large number of employees worldwide to obtain licences to access such external platforms. In the reporting year, qualification measures continued to focus on digitalization and electric mobility.
In 2022, a total of around € 166 million was invested in training, dual studies programmes and qualification in Germany.
Since 2020, some 65,000 employees successfully completed a continuing education measure on subjects related to electromobility in the “Tech Academies” in Germany.
The Mercedes-Benz Group also pays attention to the progressive development of training measures. For example, the “potential validation procedure for future managers” was revised as part of the management development and implemented in most areas of the Mercedes-Benz Group during the reporting year. The adapted procedure places a greater focus on the topic of “leading in transformation” in the exercises and in the assessment, and includes new digital assessment formats.
In addition to the above-mentioned key figures on training days, the Mercedes-Benz Group endeavours to obtain findings about training topics with the help of the employee survey. As part of the employee survey conducted in 2021, the majority of the employees of the Mercedes-Benz Group replied with “Yes” to the question of whether their work environment helps them to acquire or enhance the skills they need for the digital transformation. The target corridor of 60 to 65% approval for 2025 was thus already reached in 2021. By 2030, the company wants to increase the figure to 70% through further training programmes and thus to expand the skills needed for transformation.
Cost for training (incl. cooperative universities) in € million
Cost for continuing education in € million
Qualification days employees/year2
thereof qualification days women/year2
Qualification hours employees/year2
Young professionals total