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Team Dialog on Group Essentials: This Concerns Everybody!

Until the end of March, managers and employees will be discussing the company’s common value base.

How do all those working in the Volkswagen Group want to work and interact with each other? This is a topic that all managers within the Group will continue to discuss with their employees between now and the end of March. This team dialog is all about Volkswagen’s seven new Group Essentials (see box).

"The Group Essentials form our common value base. It is now up to us to take them into our working environment and give them life. And the team dialog will help with that."

Ralph Linde, Head of the Volkswagen Group Academy

And this is how it works: Gunnar 
Kilian, Chief Human Resources Officer, has already informed managers about their task by email. They have been able to conduct the dialog with their employees since the end of October. By placing dot stickers on a chart, the employees illustrate the extent to which they believe principles such as “We’re not afraid to try new things” and “We are honest and take action when something is wrong” are put into practice in their everyday working lives.

Initially, the team dialog aims at familiarizing everybody with the Group Essentials. The idea is for the team to then develop a common understanding and check whether each individual’s own behavior in the team conforms to the Group Essentials. Of course, it is also about eliciting ideas about change. The teams keep a written record of these ideas.

The team dialog should be concluded before the manager discusses the results from the annual employee reviews (mood barometer) with their employees. The reason for this? Seven questions relating to the mood barometer concern the Group Essentials. How the team is doing with respect to the Group Essentials is illustrated by the Essentials Indicator. If the team’s answers place it below a certain value, the manager is required to discuss the Essentials Indicator and the ideas for change recorded from the team dialog. During this discussion, the team members agree on at least one concrete improvement measure.

"The team dialog helps us to encourage a corporate culture at Volkswagen where people deal with each other openly and honestly. By critically examining our own actions, we are able to learn from our mistakes and make further improvements. And that is precisely what we should all be striving for."

Gunnar Kilian, Chief Human Resources Officer

The new Group Essentials

The Human Resources and Integrity & Legal Affairs units have jointly devised seven Group Essentials. These form the value base for the over 600,000 employees in the Group. The Group Essentials replace the Group Code of Conduct created in 2003.

The seven Group Essentials are:

  1. We take responsibility for the environment and our community
  2. We are honest and take action when something is wrong
  3. We’re not afraid to try new things
  4. We practice diversity
  5. We are proud of our achievements
  6. WE, not I
  7. We keep our word