The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand


"We Need More Courage For Uncomfortable Truths"

 The Group Board Members Hiltrud D. Werner (Integrity and Legal Affairs) and Gunnar Kilian (Human Resources and Organization) 
about the objectives of the program “Together4Integrity”.

Gunnar Kilian is a Member of the Board of Management and is responsible for Human Resources and Organization.

Hiltrud D. Werner is a Member of the Board of Management and is responsible 
for Integrity and Legal Affairs.

Ms. Werner, Mr. Kilian, you are jointly responsible in the Group board for the program ”Together4Integrity”. Can you summarize 
in one sentence what T4I is about?

H. D. Werner: “Generally speaking: Together4Integrity is our common way to a better and more modern corporate culture. For us, this is just as important as the quality of our cars and our economic performance. With Together4Integrity we want to send a strong signal.”

G. Kilian: “It is about transparency, honesty and togetherness, about sincerity towards ourselves and others, because each individual bears shared responsibility for doing the right thing together.”

But is our culture that bad? We are very successful as a company …

G. Kilian: “Volkswagen does not have a bad culture; Volkswagen has many motivated employees with integrity. Nevertheless, there were things that should not have been done – at all levels and in 
all areas. That is want we want to change.”

H. D. Werner: “Even though the vast majority of colleagues are not to blame. We have experienced scandals again and again, in big and small matters. The diesel scandal was only the largest, which has already cost us around 30 billion euros. 
The money would have been better invested in the future, because it would have been enough for two dozen new models. That’s why we’re saying: this must never happen again. Together4Integrity 
will also help us to become a scandal-free company that we can rightly all be proud of.”

What does integrity have to do with culture?

H. D. Werner: “Both belong together. Integrity means doing the right things with personal conviction and consistently with other values. More specifically, for example, by acting in a binding and reliable manner. Or by openly addressing critical processes and risks and contributing to constructive solutions. We have to create an environment in which acting with integrity is a matter of course.”

G. Kilian: “Our seven corporate essentials are the values that shall determine our togetherness. They are fundamental and a clear guideline for all employees. When we stick to it in our everyday work, we work better, more transparently and thus more successfully together.”

"Together4Integrity is our common way to a better and more modern corporate culture"

Hiltrud D. Werner

But people make mistakes; we all make mistakes.

G. Kilian: “Of course! How we deal with mistakes is what matters. Do we sweep them under the carpet and continue as if nothing had happened? Or do we admit it and learn from it? Only if we address mistakes openly, can we fix them.”

H. D. Werner:  “We all make every effort to avoid mistakes. And we have a lot of rules and processes that are supposed to help us to do so. Nevertheless, mistakes will happen. But it is different when someone knows they are doing wrong – and still does it. Preventing this is one of the most important goals of Together4Integrity.”

Integrity culture and compliance are not new topics. So why this new program?

H. D. Werner: “With Together4Integrity we are bundling our forces. We are systematically, purposefully and consistently bringing together all initiatives on these topics Group-wide. This is how we will become faster, stronger and more effective, and make our progress measurable.”

G. Kilian: “We are speaking with a single voice and implementing the program throughout the entire Group. This will create uniform standards that apply to everyone across the Group.”

How will the program affect me as an employee?

G. Kilian: “Among other things, there will be courses and training. But integrity and compliant behavior will also play a regular role in staff appraisals, for example – as well as in promotions.”

H. D. Werner: “We want to create awareness and open space for constructive discussions. There will be a number of dialog formats in which we will involve our managers as well as our direct and indirect employees. It’s in the name: Together for Integrity.”

"Talk about what does not seem right to you"

Gunnar Kilian

And what contribution can I make myself?

G. Kilian: “We need more courage for uncomfortable truths. Talk about what does not seem right to you.”

H. D. Werner: “And vice versa: take it seriously when a colleague expresses concerns. Search together for a constructive solution based on our rules and values.”

When, do you believe, we will get where we want to be?

G. Kilian: “We cannot achieve lasting changes from one day to another. Together4Integrity is not a matter of months, but of years. But it is clear that we have set 
ourselves an ambitious target time. We want to make huge progress in 2019 and are relying on the support of the whole team.”

H. D. Werner: “No question, this will be a marathon, not a sprint. But we have a clear goal. We have the perseverance and we are already on the way. By working together, we will succeed.”

Do you have more questions?

Here’s more information:

You can find information and lots of news around the topic of T4I on the internal GroupConnect platform.

Volkswagen Portal:
The Volkswagen Portal provides everything you need to know about T4I under the heading “Company” and the subheading “Together4Integrity, Integrity, Culture, Compliance”.

Tip: You can see this button on some GroupConnect pages. Simply click on it to be automatically redirected to the T4I page.