An Interview with Jochen Schumm: Implementing Corporate Responsibility Successfully with Excellent Employees

Jochen Schumm was named Chief Human Resources Officer of MAN SE and MAN Truck & Bus AG in summer 2012. His sphere of competence includes heading up corporate responsibility (CR) in the MAN Group.

Mr. Schumm, why anchor the Corporate Responsibility function in the Human Resources organization?

There are three good reasons. First, employees represent the most effective way to ensure that CR is lived at MAN. If we want to make CR part of the Company’s DNA, we have to increase employees’ awareness and empower them to take on responsibility in their daily activities. Second, a key element of CR is our responsibility to provide our employees with safe and healthy workplaces, quality vocational training, and continuing professional development opportunities. And third, companies can only be innovative and successful in the long term if they have excellent, motivated, and dedicated employees. I call this the “cycle of success,” and it is driven by CR to a large extent.

Jochen Schumm, Chief Human Resources Officer of MAN SE and MAN Truck & Bus AG (photo)

"We teach our managers to understand all aspects of sustainability, to set themselves goals, and to motivate their teams."Jochen Schumm

You consider diversity an important aspect of HR management. How does this impact on CR at MAN?

At MAN we believe that diversity and equal opportunity are factors in our success. Because the Group is active around the globe, cultural diversity is an important aspect of better understanding markets and customer needs. We have defined specific targets for increasing the number of women in management positions, even if it is not easy in an industry that has traditionally been dominated by men. But I am certain that advancing the careers of women is not only socially responsible, but also improves the quality of leadership within a company and helps us take advantage of important and valuable resources. This is why we consider it important to help our female and male employees balance work and family life — as can be seen in our company daycare centers in Munich and Augsburg. We also work to integrate people with disabilities and offer them employment. In Germany they make up 5.2% of our workforce.

As Chief Human Resources Officer, where do you see the biggest challenge for the coming years?

My 40 years of experience as a human resources manager with the Volkswagen Group have shown me that attracting, retaining, and promoting the right employees is essential to the success of the organization. Today, this applies more than ever, because there is a growing shortage of young talents. That is why we aim to be a top employer. In Germany, Poland, and Brazil we have received many confirmations of our attractive working conditions. And of course the Group-wide employee survey, which we will be conducting in 2013 for the second time, will deliver important feedback that we can use in our work. The first survey and the 2,850 follow-up workshops have already led to many improvements, for instance in internal communication.

Can good HR management also play a part in protecting the climate?

A dedicated, motivated workforce is essential if we are going to meet our target of reducing CO2 emissions by 25% at MAN sites. A goal like that requires all employees around the world to consistently apply their best efforts. After all, we are aiming to become CR industry leader, cut CO2 emissions in our production processes as well as contribute to sustainable transportation and energy solutions through our products and services.

"Advancing the careers of women is not only socially responsible, but also improves the quality of leadership."Jochen Schumm

Jochen Schumm, Chief Human Resources Officer of MAN SE and MAN Truck & Bus AG (photo)

Those are ambitious goals. What do we still have to do in order to meet them?

If I have learned one thing in the last year, it is that we have strengths we can build on — the excellence of our products and the professional expertise of our employees. Our competition moves quickly, however, so we have to keep developing and growing. We all need to ask ourselves what we can do to become a little better. At MAN Truck & Bus, we are supporting this process with our “Manage responsibly” management training courses. We teach our managers to understand all aspects of sustainability, to set themselves goals, and to motivate their teams to work continuously to achieve them. This allows us to anchor sustainability and responsibility firmly in our corporate culture. In 2013 the “Manage responsibly” courses will be expanded to MAN Diesel & Turbo and integrated into the MAN Truck & Bus trainee program.