At the end of the financial year, the Group had 111,763 employees worldwide (previous year: 104,286). The increase of 7,477 employees is attributable primarily to strategic portfolio expansions. In 2013, there were 1,304 people (previous year: 1,254) serving in trainee positions in Bertelsmann companies in Germany.
Implementing and developing the partnership-based corporate culture is one of the top priorities of human resources (HR). For this reason, in 2013 the HR strategy initiatives that were agreed in the previous year were driven forward. For example, the new executive remuneration structure was introduced on other levels. The system that had previously been dominated by financial objectives was extended to include other objective criteria, including a number of qualitative criteria. Thus, among other things, the quality of management performance is included as a criterion for determining variable remuneration.
The focus of HR work in 2013 was the global employee survey. Once again, the survey achieved a record level of participation at 86.9 percent. The results were broken down to the departmental level and compiled into approximately 10,000 result reports and were made available to executives. This ensures that the results are worked on not only at divisional and Group level but also at team and company level.
Bertelsmann aims to promote diversity at all levels of the company. The diversity conference, which took place for the first time in February 2013, provided a forum for discussions about the level of diversity within the Group. Together with international executives from the Group, the conference developed and discussed key work aspects and measures to strengthen diversity.
In order to promote internationality and diversity within the Group, the annual careers event “Talent Meets Bertelsmann” was given an international focus. Over 450 people applied, and 63 of these were invited to Berlin for three days to exchange ideas with 80 company representatives, to receive professional career coaching and to present the results of their workshop to members of the Executive Board and the GMC. Since 2012, two women have been on the Executive Board of Bertelsmann Management SE, and the GMC has 15 members from seven countries – including six women.
In August 2013, “peoplenet” was introduced to make it easier for employees to access further training measures worldwide. Employees can use this online platform to find comprehensive information about all relevant training and further education programs and can apply for these directly on the system. At the end of 2013, “peoplenet” was initially made available to around 30,000 employees in Germany, and it will be extended to other locations in 2014. In parallel, Bertelsmann University and Bertelsmann Academy are continuously working on the development of their courses in line with the new Group strategy. For example, Bertelsmann University is largely responsible for designing and implementing the Digital Excellence Initiative in cooperation with Corporate Development.
Taking responsibility – for employees, for the quality of media and services and for the impact the corporate activities have on society and the environment – is a key component of Bertelsmann’s corporate culture. For decades, the Bertelsmann Essentials have specified corporate responsibility as one of their main goals and as a basic value for all of the company’s employees, executives and shareholders.
Since 1974, Bertelsmann has regularly published an account of its commitment and activities in addition to the financial performance targets. To satisfy the growing demands of its stakeholders in relation to social and ecological topics, the Group publishes relevant information and facts and figures about corporate responsibility and compliance on its website. Since 2008, Bertelsmann has been a member of the UN Global Compact and, as part of the annual progress reporting, provides information about the measures that have already been realized and those that are planned. In accordance with the partnership-based principle of delegating responsibility, specific corporate responsibility projects are implemented in a decentralized way in the individual divisions. Key action areas are employee responsibility, promoting reading and media literacy, aid and donation campaigns through the media, responsibility for content, and environmental and climate protection.
Bertelsmann’s “be green” environmental initiative promotes corporate responsibility in the areas of environment and climate protection. With the support of the independent ecological research institute IFEU, Bertelsmann produces a regular carbon footprint report in accordance with the globally recognized stipulations of the GHG protocol. This report was drawn up again in 2013 and audited by the auditing firm PwC. The carbon footprint report is an important component of the further development of the corporate responsibility strategy with the aim of ensuring that Bertelsmann as a company will use resources in a more eco-friendly and efficient way in order to remain competitive over the long term. On June 5, 2013, UN “World Environment Day,” the global “be green Day” was held for the fourth time across the Group. Employees at around 40 locations in 13 countries took part.
Businesses traditionally invest in the research and development of new products in order to ensure their long-term competitiveness. The media sector has a similar imperative to create innovative media content and media-related products and services in a rapidly changing environment. This means that rather than traditional research and development activities, for Bertelsmann, its unique power of innovation is important. Long-term success of the Group depends heavily on using flexible business models, investing in growth markets and integrating new technologies. Innovative expertise is also a key driver of Bertelsmann’s organic growth.
Bertelsmann relies on innovation and growth in core operations and new business fields. The key factors of Bertelsmann’s innovation management include continuously following cross-industry trends and observing new markets. At a Group level, Bertelsmann works with the divisions to continuously identify and implement innovative business strategies. Alongside the market-oriented activities, support is given to Groupwide initiatives that actively promote knowledge transfer and collaboration. At regular innovation forums, executives meet with internal and external experts to examine relevant technological, economic and social trends and develop recommendations for action for their own businesses. This form of collaboration, network building and organized collective knowledge transfer is essential to Bertelsmann in order to turn business ideas and innovations into business reality. This close link between centralized and decentralized elements of innovation management allows Bertelsmann to play an active role in shaping the rapidly transforming media business and ensuring long-term success.
RTL Group’s innovation management is focused on three core topics: developing and acquiring new, high-quality TV formats; using all digital distribution means; and expanding various forms of marketing and monetization. Further developing nonlinear and mobile TV services is particularly important. Besides the popular ad-financed catch-up TV services such as RTL Now in Germany and 6Play in France, the RTL Group channels are also working to establish pay models in the on-demand business. For example, RTL Nederland acquired the majority share of the leading pay-video-on-demand service in the Netherlands in June 2013. Furthermore, in spring 2014, in conjunction with SBS and the Dutch public broadcasting service, RTL Nederland will launch the platform NL Ziet, where users can stream content from the three families of channels via a single contact point. RTL Group is also working on securing a leading position on the video portal YouTube. Here, the production subsidiary Fremantle Media and the recently acquired majority stake in the multichannel network BroadbandTV play a key role. Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland is expanding its digital distribution through new agreements governing the broadcasting of linear TV channels via the online platforms Zattoo and Magine. The continued development of online video advertising sales on all screen and TV platforms is one of the key digital growth segments for RTL Group. RTL Group offers advertisers a large number of new interactive forms of advertising parallel to linear TV use, for example, via M6 Connect or the dynamic integration of advertising spots in closed TV services such as RTL Now and Vox Now on “Select Video” from Kabel Deutschland. Synergy Committees act as an organizational platform for exchanging information and knowledge in the decentralized RTL Group. These are made up of executives and experts from the RTL Group’s operating units and Corporate Center and hold meetings several times a year.
The newly merged Penguin Random House brings together and leverages the previously individual Penguin and Random House innovative initiatives for the entire publishing process on a global scale. Penguin Random House is constantly exploring new ways to discover and nurture authors’ voices, enhance the power of their writing, and spread their messages everywhere with traditional and developing content platforms. As a leading content provider, the publisher offers more than 77,000 e-books worldwide, and an increasing, wide array of award-winning apps and format start-up partnerships. Penguin Random House is rapidly expanding its social media reach to intensify relationships with readers and its publisher and author brands. Through its growing investments in virtual information and service platforms, Penguin Random House will continue to present its authors with tools and tutorials to enhance their connectivity and discoverability.
Gruner + Jahr is expanding its publishing business along all media-based platforms and value chains. This includes the qualitative development of the existing portfolio, the launch of new titles, the digital transformation of journalistic content into new digital channels and the development and expansion of complementary services offered in the Communities of Interest prioritized by Gruner + Jahr. In advertising marketing, the focus was on gaining additional market shares, expanding cross-media marketing, the international roll-out of performance marketing and expanding the mobile unit.
Arvato is aiming to become the best business partner for its customers by being innovative, agile, flexible and international. In order to increase its innovative power, Arvato adapted its internal structures in 2013 and, in the future, will be organized according to seven Solution Groups (CRM, SCM, Financial Solutions, IT Solutions, Digital Marketing, Print Solutions and Replication). These competence areas will be responsible for the global development of Arvato in the respective business segments. Their primary aim is to develop and market innovative, integrated solutions. Arvato is also increasing its innovative power by investing in new technologies and by taking over companies in fast-growing service segments. In 2013, for example, it acquired the international Gothia Financial Group, which has an innovative service portfolio particularly in the growing e-commerce services market.
Be Printers is developing and investing in print-related solutions and products for its customers in order to generate new business and strengthen the business relationship through additional offers. In 2013, innovations in the digital solutions sector and in the non-book business were developed further. These primarily consist of the POS Marketing Terminal (customer terminal for retailers) and print-based communication campaigns in traditional direct marketing. In addition, Be Printers is continuously working on concepts for the further development of print products, looking above all at the interaction with digital media.