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Volkswagen Sets the Pace of Cultural Change

The company is bundling all its integrity, culture and compliance initiatives in a new program, Together4Integrity.


Together4Integrity will make progress measurable and reveal deficits, said Hiltrud D. Werner, Board Member for Integrity and Legal Affairs, at a press conference. Chief Human Resources Officer Gunnar Kilian announced that the program would involve every employee, saying "We have systematically planned the roll-out in all major units. We will make sure that all employees receive the message." Recently, CEO Herbert Diess has already stressed the key importance of cultural transformation.

Together4Integrity is based on the principles of the international Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI), which has 450 member companies from various industries. These basic principles were developed by an expert commission, including the current monitor, Larry D. Thompson.

These are the five principals:


Strategy

Ethics and compliance are an important element of the company’s business strategy.

Risk management

Ethics and compliance risks are identified, assigned to an official, controlled and contained.

Integrity culture

Management at all levels creates and preserves a culture of integrity throughout the organization.

Speak-Up-Culture

The organization promotes, protects and values the reporting of concerns and suspected misconduct.

Accountability

The organization takes measures and holds itself accountable for misconduct.

In addition to the ECI principles, the are 110 exemplary best practices for the program’s specific implementation. “This gives us a process to close the gap between the ideal and reality,” said Hiltrud Werner. For example, the ECI standards require a reporting hotline to be constantly available, which employees can use to pass on information about serious violations of the rules. Hiltrud Werner said that the number of incidents reported in the last 12 months has more than doubled. This shows that employees are aware of the system and that it is being utilized.

Together4Integrity will be rolled out to more than 60 companies in the Volkswagen Group within the year. This will mean that management staff in particular will be responsible for implementing the content in their teams. Gunnar Kilian says, "It’s not enough merely to put our principles into words. We also need to bring them to life. They must provide an internal compass for all of us." This year, a "KulTour" will begin in the German plants of the Volkswagen brand, during which Kilian will talk about cultural transformation with plant managers, works councils and employees.

The following key statements will be the focus of the discussion:

• We take responsibility for the environment and our community.


• We practice diversity.

• We’re not afraid to try new things.


• We are honest and take action when something is wrong.

• We are proud of our achievements.


• We, not I.

Hiltrud Werner made it clear that these changes will take time. The concept for Together4Integrity is therefore expected to last until at least 2025 and well into the future. This is important, not least because monitor Larry D. Thompson will submit his closing report in 2020. “We won’t be able to achieve everything that we want to by then. But we do want to document that we are on the right track and extend our work well beyond the duration of the monitoring,” said Hiltrud Werner.

Hiltrud Werner, Board Member for Integrity and Legal Affairs
 

"With Together4Integrity, we are making our progress in integrity and compliance measurable."

Gunnar Kilian, Chief Human Resources Officer

"We are making the key statements of cultural change easy to understand for the entire Group."

"KulTour" Starts in Wolfsburg

Why do we need to make big changes? Employees are invited to join the discussion for the start of the "KulTour2 from 9 am to 1 pm on June 25. The podium in Hall 5 will be occupied by Chief Human Resources Officer Gunnar Kilian, Chairman of the Works Council Bernd Osterloh and Plant Manager Stefan Loth, among others.

Registrations on Group Connect at

https://soco.volkswagen.com/sbc/ events/11275