Sustainability Report 2019


Management Approach

What we achieved in 2019

  • High employee satisfaction rate of 72% confirmed in employee survey
  • (Senior) management development programs and management training scheme implemented
  • Measures to integrate refugees into the training system continued
  • Works agreement on mobile working introduced at the holding company
  • Increase in the proportion of women at the first level below the Management Board

Vonovia is growing, successfully continuing with the expansion witnessed in recent years. This is a strategy that we remain committed to – both in Germany and throughout Europe. In order to grow, we need qualified and motivated employees throughout the company to accompany us as we progress along this path in the long term. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, the demand for employees is high, especially in the trade and creative areas of the Vonovia technical service (VTS) and the residential environment. This is why we are positioning ourselves as an attractive employer that responds to, and addresses, the changing requirements of the up-and-coming generations. This sort of focus can be a decisive factor as we compete for qualified skilled workers. We are investing in digitalization in order to adapt our HR management structures and processes to reflect these current developments. Digital transformation comes hand-in-hand with a whole range of new tasks and challenges for our HR management. This is a challenge that we have to master, because a modern communications approach and HR work that focuses on the long term are essential factors in the success of our growth strategy. By way of example, our works agreement on mobile working – introduced in 2019 in some areas of the Group – is already bearing fruit, and during the coronavirus pandemic, it was possible to apply the system to other areas at very short notice.

The process of integrating the BUWOG Group and Victoria Park into Vonovia SE has now been completed. This merger is creating new tasks for our HR management – for example, the need to develop a common corporate culture and foster it in the long run. In this Sustainability Report, we have reported on the measures taken by BUWOG in Austria and Victoria Park in Sweden in two separate chapters, but will be integrating them more closely into our Group reporting in the future.

Employee Numbers by Area (Vonovia Germany)

Employee Numbers by Area

Employees by Contract Type*

Employees by Contract Type

* Fixed-term employment contracts excluding interns, trainees, students, temporary staff, marginal employees, employees with pre-retirement part-time work arrangements, those on leave of absence, part-time employees, those on parental leave, members of executive bodies and external staff

At Management Board level, the CEO is responsible for our HR work, which is centrally established as a shared service within the HR Management department. Austria reports to the HR Management department in Germany through dotted lines, while Sweden – as the company there was listed separately until only recently – has not been formally incorporated into the reporting line, but rather submits reports and other information as and when required. The management of occupational health and safety is described in the chapter Occupational Health and Safety.

The number of people we employ in the Group as a whole (excl. Hembla) rose by 136 in 2019, from 9,923 (December 31, 2018) to 10,059 employees (December 31, 2019) – an increase of approximately 1.4%. The staff turnover rate came to 17.8%. 102-8, 401-1


employees in the Group as a
whole (+ 1.4%)

We aim to assign every employee to the field of activity in which their strengths lie. It is also our objective to systematically develop our employees’ skills. The elements of performance, appreciation, responsibility and team spirit are at the forefront of our HR work and our corporate culture. Vonovia’s working environment is based on the core labor standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO convention) and the principles of the UN Global Compact (UNGC). Within the company, the general principles are laid down in the Code of Conduct, a key component of Vonovia’s business ethics. As our business activities are limited to the housing and, as a result, the labor markets in Germany, Austria and Sweden, the company is also subject to the stringent national legislation that applies in each case, such as the German General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG).

The Management Board of Vonovia SE has also published a Declaration of Respect for Human Rights. This declaration highlights the importance of diversity and equal opportunities as well as our zero tolerance approach to discrimination of any kind. At the same time, it strengthens our commitment to recognized human rights standards. These requirements also apply to companies that we acquire and incorporate into our Group structures.

We are continuously expanding the range of services that we offer our customers. We offer many of these services using our own resources. This “insourcing” approach helps us to meet our social responsibilities at all of our locations. In times of uncertain labor markets, we create stable and reliable employment with fair wages for various qualification levels. The majority of our employees (90%) work under permanent employment contracts. We do not outsource positions abroad and we only employ temporary workers in exceptional cases. We aim to fill vacant positions as quickly as possible. As a result, we endeavor to position ourselves as an attractive employer (in the sense of an employer brand) for applicants on the labor market and to boost this image internally with our existing employees.

This results in material topics for Vonovia in relation to employees. These have been added to the materiality matrix according to their relevance:

  • Training and education
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Work-life balance
  • Diversity and equal opportunities

Training and education: We search for applicants both within and outside of the company in order to fill vacant positions with the right employees. We particularly encourage existing employees to fill specialist and management positions and provide specific training for this.

Occupational health and safety: We aim to retain employees in the long term and protect them from health hazards at work. This means that implementing comprehensive occupational safety programs to prevent occupational accidents is a top priority.

Work-life balance: Employees increasingly want to strike a healthy balance between their professional lives and life outside of work. We have taken numerous supportive measures to help them do so.

Diversity and equal opportunities: Diversity is a key topic at Vonovia; we respect and encourage diversity in the company as it has a positive impact on our business operations in all areas. We thus ensure equal opportunities for our employees and a working environment that is free of discrimination, where appreciation, tolerance and respect are the underlying principles.

In the following chapters we will deal with these topics in more depth and explain their relevance to Vonovia. We will describe the management approach, challenges, opportunities and risks, targets, measures and indicators for each topic.

Co-determination is also a material topic. Corporate co-determination and employee surveys conducted throughout Vonovia help us to evaluate our internal corporate approach and achieve continuous improvements in employee satisfaction. We ensure that all applicable laws are adhered to at all of our locations; for example, laws relating to individual and collective employment law. Employees at Vonovia have the right to elect their own representatives. Employees appointed as employee representatives are not disadvantaged or favored in any way. Employees are also free to associate themselves with trade unions and to exercise their freedom of association in accordance with the law. No corresponding breaches were determined at any of our locations in 2019. 102-41

In all of Vonovia’s business areas, we ensure constructive dialogue between management and employees based on trust, for example, through the works council members. In the event of significant changes within the company, we inform our workers within the legally prescribed notice periods. 402-1, 407-1

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